September 8, 2009, 4:12 pm
Killing Wolves for Fun
By Randy Cohen
The Interior Department has ruled that wolves have sufficiently increased in numbers in the Western continental United States to allow some wolf hunting there. The Idaho hunt began on September 1; Montana’s starts on the 15th. A case might be made for the right to hunt for food and to manage wildlife populations, but surely some of the more than 14,000 people who bought wolf-hunting licenses are interested in neither wolf sandwiches nor animal husbandry: they simply enjoy hunting. Is it morally acceptable to kill a wolf for the fun of it?
Unsurprisingly, I believe it is wrong to inflict pain and death unnecessarily on a creature capable of suffering. (Peter Singer more broadly examines the moral standing of animals here.) While this belief might not compel us to be vegetarians, it does demand significant changes in the way we raise animals for food, and it forbids wolf hunting as a form of entertainment. To be clear, I concede all putatively practical justifications for hunting and repudiate only the idea that hunting is a legitimate recreation. It is the person who claims as much who bears the burden of proof — a wolf need not make a case for its not being shot in Montana. I’m not persuaded that hunters have made their case. Read More
The hunting of these wolves is a necessary thing. I’m sure from an office in New York it’s hard to imagine wolves being anything but warm and cuddly but in the real world they need to be managed. These wolves are an apex predator that can severely threaten a family rancher’s livelihood. The population level of these wolves has increased drastically and if they are not managed properly, disease and starvation will threaten them. If this reporter is worried about unnecessary suffering, he should be favoring this hunt.