11 December 2013
Hunting and Dark Green Religion with a Twist of Sport Hunting Dark Green Religion and hunting go hand in hand in the traditional sense. According to Dark Green Religion, as exemplified by Bron Taylor, the death of an animal should be appreciated and teach us the ethics of loving and caring for the bounty of our planet. Farm animals are killed all the time with the justification that they are for food. The conditions those animals deal with are explicitly anti-DGR. There are several types of hunting but the main two are hunting for subsistence and sport hunting. Hunting for food is acceptable because since the beginning of time, animals eat other animals, due to our carnal nature. Numerous environmentalists, in accordance with Bron Taylor, agree that hunting is a life function for almost all animals its either for survival or for food, therefore it is acceptable, but the death of an animal should come at a price of great sadness and appreciation. Dark Green Religion and its followers believe that animals have some sort of spiritual value, this leads them to respect all living things whether they are sentient beings or not. Humans are omnivores by nature, so eating dead animals is as natural as it can get, as long as it is not factory farmed. One thought that arises is what is naturally acceptable and what is not? In the wise words of Henry David Thoreau what is wild is good or “all good things are wild and free.”1 Anything that is untainted by humans is natural, just like killing for food is natural, but killing to show off skill is not because other animals in the wild do not kill for pleasure or thrill. It is either for food or for self-preservation in some rare cases. Through the various DGR literature pieces that are analyzed in this paper there is a spectrum in the environmental literature. 2At one end is the view that hunting is justified only for self protection and for food, where no other reasonable alternative is available. Most writers, in this case Bron Taylor, Gretel Van Wieren, and Priscilla Cohn, also agree that hunting is sometimes justified in order to protect endangered species and threatened ecosystems where destructive species have been introduced or natural predators have been exterminated. Others, especially in western society, accept hunting as part of cultural tradition or for the psychological well being of the hunter, sometimes extended to include recreational hunting when practiced according to “sporting” rules. Nowhere in the literature as far as DGR is concerned is hunting for fun, for the enjoyment of killing, or for the acquisition of trophies defended.3 Imagine being an animal… getting chased and shot at by humans for pure enjoyment. It cannot be fun especially if they miss the vital organs and you are in severe pain. Sometimes the hunt will take hours and the animal will drag its mutilated body around trying to die in peace because that is all it can do at that point. Animals can feel pain just like us. In a movie that Dr. Ellard showed to us in class, a man with special powers transferred the pain and sadness of a dying deer to a hunter, the hunter screamed and writhed in pain. That just makes you think what must have been going through the deer’s brain. At what point is it acceptable to kill animals? For instance, killing in self defense is justified only if no effective nonlethal means is available. Some say the thrill of the hunt makes it worth whatever the cost may be. Killing to obtain trophies would be justified and only if trophies are an important nonsubstitutable good, or if some other important substitute good cannot reasonably be achieved by any other means.4 Others say hunting does have a thrill but it shouldn’t be the only thoughts going through your head. According to Bron Taylor no small numbers of DGR folk hunt. Taylor does not approve of trophy or sport hunting. In his words; although there is nothing wrong in my view with appreciating and enjoying all...
Bibliography: Gunn, Alastair S. "Environmental Ethics and Trophy Hunting." Ethics & the Environment. no. 1 (2001): 68-95.
Kerasote, Ted. Bloodties: Nature, Culture, and the Hunt . New York: Random House, 1993.
Priscilla Cohn Ethics and Wildlife: Hunting Myths, Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen, 1999.
Swan, James A. In Defense Of Hunting. New York: Harper Collins, 1995.
Tallmadge, John, “Deerslayer with a Degree,” in Mark Allister (ed.) Eco-Man: New
Perspectives on Masculinity and Nature, University of Virginia Press, 2004, 17-27
Taylor, Bron. Dark Green Religion: Nature Spirituality and the Planetary Future. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2009.
Wade, Maurice L. "Animal Liberationaism, Ecocentrism, and the Morality of Sport Hunting." Journal of the Philosophy of Sport. (1990): 15-27.
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