Most days you wake up and see a disturbing Facebook post related to animals in some way. It might be as simple as an abandoned dog found in a cardboard box or as shocking as a video of a calf being bludgeoned to the head in some sort of factory farm. Most people will try to ignore it, some may even “react” with a sad face, or the most bold of us will comment our views against it. You state how disgusting the content is, you get a few supporters but also many haters and before you know it, you’re getting the “she needs to get laid” comments thrown back at you from the people who just don’t seem to understand your compassion.
One of my Facebook friends recently updated his cover photo to one of him posing with a collection of birds he’d just shot. Naturally, being an animal lover, I had my say and asked whether it was to eat the birds or just for sport. Of course all of his hunter friends chimed in on defence mode and felt the need to harass me with photos of beheaded deer and blooded up rabbits (they seemed to find it amusing). However, one onlooker actually had a civilised discussion with me and it really opened my eyes to the hunting world and expanded my knowledge.
There seems to be three main types of hunting – for food, for wildlife management and, the worst of all, for sport.
I learnt that it is not only the usual cows, pigs, chickens etc. reared from birth solely for the purpose of being processed as meat one day, but we actually rear pheasants, deer and partridges for this purpose too. As a vegetarian, on learning this I was quick to jump to conclusions and consider this cruel, and yet, whilst I do stand by my opinion that no animal should be bred and raised simply for human consumption, it is in fact a much less cruel way of sourcing meat than our typical farms. Whilst cattle raised on farms are hustled into buildings with no escape and shot at close range when their time for slaughter has come, the deer and pheasants have every chance of survival; they are released into the wild, and driven over waiting guns, but this only happens once a week for 4 months of the year – the majority survive the season and enjoy a natural life out in the open. Pheasants are not native to the UK; it is only because we raise them for this purpose that you and me see them in the wild. This is a better process than farming animals for slaughter, as they do have a chance at life. So for those meat eaters among you, maybe do order the pheasant next time you have the choice as you can be sure it had a far better quality of life than the chicken.
Then we move onto pest control and can slightly sympathise with the farmers whose crops are getting destroyed everyday by rabbits, crows and pigeons and you can begin to understand their willingness to shoot those that are destroying their livelihood. However, there is absolutely no need to celebrate the death of an animal, no matter how big or small, it is still a death at the end of the day. It is unfortunate enough that any animal has to be killed since the way they go about their lives clashes with ours. Yet there still seems to be many people among us that thrive from posting and boasting with photos of their kills, mocking the animal. These are the worst kind of people; and that leads me onto trophy hunters: those who feel masculine and powerful when they shoot an endangered rhino or lion that is more or less put in front of them defenceless. Pathetic and cowardly is more what I’d describe them as, or maybe it’s their sadistic personalities. No explanation will ever satisfy me as to why people feel the need to hunt not for food, not to control ‘pests’, but simply for entertainment and to hang the animal’s head on their wall whilst posing for a picture. Those are the people that give hunting a bad name, and those are the people we need to stop.