The Difference Between Hunting and Animal Cruelty: A Guide for Coastals

How could one possibly be angry that President Donald Trump signed a bill into law that makes it illegal to engage in animal cruelty, adding to the law previously in place that made sharing videos of animal cruelty illegal?

(READ: Trump Signs Bill Making Animal Cruelty a Felony, Banning Horrible ‘Animal Crushing’ Torture)

But, of course, the glitterati and their coastal companions are going to find a way to throw what Trump has done into a negative light, and what better way to do that than through the tried and true method of displaying your ignorance?

Mia Farrow, always a fount of endless wisdom and valuable insight, decided to tweet out a picture of Trump’s sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, holding the carcass of a leopard they had killed.

“Tell your sons that animal cruelty is now a crime,” tweeted Farrow to Trump.

As of this writing, this cutting commentary has over 1,000 retweets and over 4,000 likes.

Only it’s not that cutting, because what’s being displayed here isn’t animal cruelty. This is called hunting.

Now, I get it. Coastals who have never hoisted a rifle to go find their next meal don’t understand the difference between hunting and hoisting your Louis Vuitton over your shoulder and buying your meat products pre-butchered and prepared at a store. The most hunting they ever do is for bargains, and that’s fine.

But let’s, for just a moment, put away the hysteria and look at the facts.

There is a massive gulf of a difference between animal cruelty and hunting. Animal cruelty serves only one purpose, and that’s to garner pleasure out of the act of causing extreme amounts of pain to another living creature. It’s horrible and is a pure example of evil. Those who engage in it should be made to feel what they inflicted on the helpless animals they tortured if you ask me, so it’s probably best not to ask me to come up with punishments.

It’s pretty clear cut, and not much else needs to be said to describe animal cruelty than that.

I love animals and watching them suffer at the hands of evil people breaks my heart to the point of rage. I’m known for having to take short walks outside after seeing videos. The thing is, I’m not alone. Most people feel the exact same way as I do.

This includes hunters, of which I am one.

Unlike torture, hunting serves a multitude of purposes. The most obvious one being the acquisition of food from an animal’s carcass, as well as other products such as fur, fats, and more.

Then, there’s hunting for the purposes of conservation. For instance, Texans have an unofficial responsibility to kill any wild hog they see on sight. Why? Because if we don’t, their population will explode, overwhelming the surrounding environment, causing massive destruction to the land and untold harm to other wildlife.

Feral hogs are not kind. They’re not the pink, oinking farm animals or pets you see in stories and YouTube videos. They’re big, territorial, dangerous, and many. They’re known to attack and kill other animals and people. If environmentalists and misguided animal rights groups had their way, Texas would be overrun by the hog population and a hogpocalypse would harm much more than just rural areas of Texas, they’d show up in your yard too.

However, hog control is an easy thing to explain, but what about trophy hunting?

Trophy hunting is an interesting beast to look at. From the outside, it looks like an ugly creature that kills indiscriminately and for fun. However, learning more about it paints it in a completely different light, and you learn that this seemingly ugly practice provides more of a boon for the environment than not.

Hunters looking to hunt big game love to go to Africa and take down something that they would otherwise never see in their own countries. Lions, cheetahs and more become targets, and while you may see pictures of men and women standing proudly over the kills and feel revulsion, what you aren’t seeing is the money being spent for the local governments and wildlife agencies that use that cash to protect the wildlife.

The tradeoff is good. Trophy hunts are government-controlled, legal and guided ways that allow local authorities to use the cash paid for the hunt to invest in cars, drones, weapons, and equipment to stop poachers, monitor wildlife for problems, and improve the general health of the area. They help wildlife preserves which bring animals close to extinction back into good numbers. They also help cull populations that become too large, including lions, which are known to wander into human territory and endanger people when they get too large.

It should also be noted that these hunts can double as mercy killings. When an animal becomes too old, weak, or sick to fend for itself, it dies a slow and sometimes painful death. A single shot to finish an animal nearing the end of its life is far more kind than many of the alternatives it may face.

Most hunters aren’t the gung-ho killers of animals that they’re made out to be. In fact, after spending time with both environmentalists and hunters, I can tell you that hunters seem to have greater respect for the land and the animals, as well as a greater knowledge of the relationship between mankind and nature. Environmentalists seem to have secondhand knowledge (mostly inaccurate) given to them by organizations that are really just out to make a buck off of your outrage and sympathy.

Hunters don’t wish to cause any pain to the animals they kill, choosing always for a clean, one-shot-one-kill method of taking down their prey. Sometimes this is done with a gun, sometimes it’s done with a bow, but the pain is never the intent. If a mistake is made and pain is involved, this is usually taken with a dose of guilt.

Hunters don’t kill to just to kill. Yes, there is a thrill to be had by tracking down your prey and killing them. Instincts are instincts, be they animal or human. However, there’s a stark difference here between hunting and animal cruelty, and it’s time we start recognizing this as a society.


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