Is hunting for sport an ethical pursuit?

In Western society, the need to hunt for food has long since been luxury, and not a necessity. So, is it right to take animal life for sport?

EDIT: OK, so I posted this a bit late and probably didn't elaborate enough. What I was trying to ask with this question is that, in the present day, we've come to rely on obtaining our food from supermarkets, pre-pakaged in handy, ready-to-eat portions. Many people would prefer to hunt for their food, despite the fact that plenty of food is readily available, provided from domesticated animals.

What I want to know is whether given the abundance of food available (specifically in the West), should we be hunting wild animals? Is there a moral difference between killing a domesticated animal and a wild one? What of trophy hunting, where animals are merely killed for the fun of it?

Further to all this, Is the way in which an animal killed significant? Is it any less valid to hunt a dear with an assault rifle than with a bow and arrow? Is it any less cruel to kill a cow "humanely" in a slaughterhouse than kill a bird with a shotgun?

I'm sure we have a lot of hunters in this community, and a lot of people who abhorr the idea. I'd be interested in discussing the arguments for and against hunting, and for that matter, the arguments for and against the domestication of animals for food. At the end of the day, eating flesh comes naturally to the vast majority of humans on this planet, so is there a "best" way to manage this food source?

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Replies to This Discussion

How do you define "right" in this case?
"Right" would mean ethically permissible.

I'd like to point out, first off, that shooting a deer in the woods is far more humane than buying prepackaged beef. Most cows are raised in factory farms and lead brutish and short lives before being slaughtered. A wild deer on the other hand can at lease enjoy a fulfilling life before it is killed.

But the question isn't addressing whether it's okay to hunt for food. A vegetarian diet is cheaper and healthier for most Americans. Hunting may once have been human necessity, but now it a luxury.

I'd like to discuss this issue more, but for now I'll just say that as long you don't waste the meat, hunting for any purpose is at least as defensible as purchasing it prepackaged.
Do you just mean trophy hunting?
Hunting and killing an animal just for the fun of it is not something I would say is right. There are people who live far from more urban, civilized areas where food is more easily attainable, and these people do not always have a choice in the matter, they sometimes have to hunt to provide for their family. They must consider the costs of gas to travel long distances to and from to buy food, the costs of the food itself, take into consideration how much they need to buy to make it last, and so on and so forth. For them, the hunt is the best way they can feed their family, and I will not consider them any less of a person for it.

Although, none of this is to say I am against a person learning how to hunt and kill an animal. If I was, for whatever reason, stranded somewhere, I would much rather know how to track, kill and cook animals, as well knowing what plants are safe to eat for nutrients and hydration, than not know.
For many, hunting encompasses many more emotions and philosophic questions than merely "right or wrong". Some hunt in order to reconnect with nature and to experience the physical requirements of the chase. The question and especially the amplification of the question introduce several other issues, both philosphic and political to the debate. Hunting, as a test of skills and as a test of personal integrity is one aspect. As a method of insuring survival is another aspect. Hunting, to preserve crops, herds, and lives is a third aspect of the question. And, lastly, hunting as an acceptable method for men to channel their ancestral heritage as both an organized pack predator and a solo stalk and take predator is necessary for the psyche of the species. In the last, note that criminal gangs adopt the posture of pack predators. And it must be noted that ethical sport hunting requires the acquisition and use of multiple self-disciplined skills...which directly related to the sound mind in sound body ethos.
Hunting for sport=ethical
Hunting and killing for food=ethical
Hunting and killing for population control and safety of humankind=ethical
Killing for trophy=unethical
Taking a trophy from results of ethical hunting/killing=ethical
Hunting with assault rifle=dumb/dangerous
Any manner of slaughter that prolongs or causes excessive pain before death=unethical
Any manner of slaughter which is swift and effecient=ethical
Why is hunting for sport ethical when killing for trophies is not?
Hunting and killing aren't always the same thing. I'm referring to the the process of hunting, tracking, stalking, baiting, and trapping. Doing that for sport is fun and good for you. But if you were to hunt something then kill it just for its head or hide, it is a waste, a waste of life, a waste of resources, and it is defective as you unneccessarily disable the animal from fulfilling its larger purpose.
Ah, that makes sense then :)


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