Hunting or killing: That is the real question

Hayley Gorman, Editor-in-Chief

Hunting animals has always been part of human life. Animals are food. For me personally, I don’t have to go out and shoot livestock, I can just buy meat. However, there are people all over the world who have to go out and hunt for food.

My question, though, is what is the relationship between animals and humans? Is there a distinction between killing and hunting? Is it okay to make money off animals for entertainment?

The Dallas Safari Club mission is: “Since 1972, Dallas Safari Club has been the gathering point for hunters, conservationists and wildlife enthusiasts.”

I want to take a moment here to note that while I’m not a scholar on animal conservation, I have done some mild research on it and these are my opinions based off of that.

Dallas Safari Club decided to auction off a black rhino to be hunted in hopes of bringing awareness to extinction of this animal.

Dallas Safari Club’s approach to bring attention to this endangered species to light is not acceptable. I think there is a better way to bring attention to this epidemic and killing a rhino is not going to do this.

In my opinion, there is clear distinction between killing and hunting. Hunting to eat is acceptable. However, killing a rhino to call attention to the issue of extinction is morally wrong.

Dallas Safari Club is saying it is okay to kill this animal because he is “old, male and nonbreeding.” Does that mean it is acceptable to kill anything that meets that criteria?

The fact of the matter is that within a couple of weeks, this news story will fade away and people won’t know about the endangered species. Dallas Safari Club needs to reevaluate their approach to this issue so other animals aren’t auctioned off to be killed.

The Dallas Safari Club isn’t the only one who’s making headlines, however. The Copenhagen Zoo killed a healthy giraffe back in February of 2014.

“Our giraffes are part of an international breeding program, which has a purpose of ensuring a sound and healthy population of giraffes,” Bengt Holst, scientific director at Copenhagen Zoo, told CNN. “It can only be done by matching the genetic composition of the various animals with the available space. … When giraffes breed as well as they do now, then you will inevitably run into so-called surplus problems now and then.”

After an uproar of people learning about Copenhagen Zoo was going to kill a giraffe, they ended up killing it and fed it to the lions in front of children.

Personally, I wouldn’t want to see lion eating a giraffe, nor would I ever want to expose children to that.

At the end of March, the  Copenhagen Zoo killed four lions.

I know that at some point you have to kill animals. That is the circle of life (cue in The Lion King soundtrack), but why breed animals in a zoo or move animals into the zoo if they have to die? If zoo doesn’t have the resources or it isn’t a good match for a specific animal, then why take it in the first place?

I’ve never been a huge fan of zoos. I mean, you walk around just to look at animals. However, I think as a child it’s great to see an animal you’ve only seen in picture books and nonfiction books. I think zoos are great if they are doing research, but is it worth it?

Would you want to live in environment that resembled your home, but really wasn’t it? I don’t know how animals feel about living in zoos, and we will probably never know. So my question to all of you is what is our relationship between animals and humans? Can we make all their decisions? Are hunting and killing synonyms or different terms?

I think the most important question is how do animals feel about this? The sad thing is, their opinion matters the most, but we do not and cannot know what they think.