The various writings on humanism (and a few of the humanist manifestos) are usually rather vague when it comes to the treatment of animals. The only thing they universally agree on is that pointless animal cruelty is indefensible. However…pointless is a broad term. When it comes to using animal products there’s no consensus. A humanist can easily eat a breakfast of bacon and eggs before putting on leather shoes and a fur scarf.
As for hunting, whether it is pointless or not is a point of view. There are a variety of arguments for and against hunting. One of the more interesting ones is that of “the thrill of the hunt”. If it was truly about putting yourself in danger while tracking an animal and putting it down…then there is no reason the hunter cannot use tranquilizer darts. It’s often actually about the thrill of the kill. For this, again, there is no consensus by humanists. I personally find it pretty pointless to actually end the life unless you do something constructive with the animal but that is me…not a humanist arguemnt. That being said, there tends to be a condemnation of fenced in trophy hunting for two reasons:
1. The idea of hanging an animal head on the wall, from a creature you’ve killed, in the name of respecting the animal and respecting nature. While they may sincerely mean this, its hard for most to understand this.
2. Hunting completely within the confines of a fenced in area, where animals are bred and raised in a controlled environment, easier to find, less threatening and where a kill is “guaranteed” by the “park owners”. It seems that many of the motivations of hunting are absent: truly tracking down a wild animal, putting yourself in danger, the possibility of no success (hunting can be long, boring and disappointing), using the animals products (not stuffing it) and being one with nature. It seems most of this is absent or at least present to a very small degree.
From my own perspective it seems most African and North American fenced in trophy hunters are decked in camouflage fatigues in colors that mimic military uniforms, not colors adapted for the African Savanna or American Forrest. If it were then American ones in winter would be wearing white and black camouflage. There’s something about it that utterly reeks of wannabe-warrior, not too too different from paintball enthusiasts. And the look of joy on their faces as they stand over the heads of the easy to kill animal seem to show this moment as likely one of the great successes and highlights of their lives. Was it about hunting or was it about the photo, the trophy carcass and getting on a scoreboard?
Personally, I have no problem eating meat and using animal products though when possible I prefer food that doesn’t come from grotesque battery caged mill farms. Nor do I find hunting wrong if the kill is done with some constructive purpose in mind.
But I do find fenced in trophy hunting totally bizarre and pitiful. As have many humanist thinkers claim including Richard Dawkins when ridiculing a trophy hunters of an “ethical kill” (though Dawkins is strongly against hunting in general). Sam Harris criticizes it in an interview covering various topics such as human torture, Donald Trump and trophy hunting.
If there is someone who loves fenced in trophy hunting and could explain why? it would be great to hear. Or if someone is utterly against all hunting, it would be interesting to read an argument against it. If there are any strong vegetarians or vegans on the forum, it would also be an interesting topic. As would any other comments. Does anyone think the principles of humanism logically condemn fenced in trophy hunting? What about eating meat?
You might as well just buy the dead animal from an inventory as go on a “hunt” with a guaranteed outcome.
That said, nature is a bitch.
In their natural environment, most of the hunted animals would probably die a far more painful and violent death, in many cases being eaten by their killers before they had actually died. I would hope that any hunters in this situation go for a quick or even instant kill and that something useful is done with the carcass, though in nature nothing goes to waste anyway, with or without a hunter. Nature is rife with scavengers.