Ethics is a term used to describe what is either right or wrong. It is sometimes referred to as moral philosophy. It is a branch of philosophy that is concerned with concepts such as right, wrong, bad, noble, ignoble, and good. Ethics is divided into meta-ethics, normative ethics, moral ethics, and applied ethics. Ethics plays an important role in determining an individual’s behavior in the society. It informs what a person does or how an individual reacts to certain situations. The society considers certain behaviors to be either ethical or unethical. In this case, what a society considers ethical are what most of the members of the society considers right; whatever the society does not consider to be ethical is otherwise referred to as unethical (Comstock, p. 9).
Unethical Hunting and Poaching
Hunting of animals has been there since time immemorial. With growing technology, the rate of dying animals in the hands of hunters and poachers has been in the increase. Even though in the past, hunting of specific types of animals was purposely meant for food, in the current 21st century, hunting and poaching of animals have gone beyond search for food. There are other motivations that lead to unethical killing of animals. Governments all over the world have come up with legislations protecting the animals, especially the wild ones, against dangers or interference by human beings. This is due to unethical killing of animals for other reason than food. For instance, several animals like elephants, rhinos, snakes and other wild animals are not killed because they are edible, but because of their valuable tasks and skins. The hunters and poachers are never mindful that some of these wild animals are becoming extinct and soon may stop existing on the surface of the earth (The Humane Society, pp. 1-4).
The activities of canned hunting, regardless of what type of species of animals are being hunted, are completely unethical and amounts to abuse of animals within the society as a whole. Detaining an animal until it is ready to be killed for the purposes of trophies is a form of inhumane act against the animal. Canned hunting victims are always those (animals) from a zoo or private breeders. The unethical cruelty to animals happens even through the internet. For instance, an entrepreneur let his friend to become the first hunter to kill an animal through internet. The animal was located in a ranch found within Texas Hill County. The individual fired a bullet that hit the animal thereby wounding it severely; the entrepreneur later shot the animal to death in the ranch at close range. This is atrocity of the highest order towards the animals. To make the matter even worse, these killers of animals using internets do not need to have licenses and they must not posses sophisticated weapons; they simply kill the animals by a mouse click.
Both poaching and hunting cause pain and suffering to animals. It may be understandable to kill the animals solely for the purposes of food but to cause them pain on the grounds of fighting it out for trophies and as a recreational activity is to cause an unethical act against innocent creatures. The worst form of unethical behavior against the wild animals is through using dogs in the process. This is mostly commonly practiced as a rural way for hunting fast animals like deer and antelopes. The way dogs are released to tear the wild animals into pieces is disrespectful to the animals and is an inhumane way of killing the animals.
All these activities of hunting and poaching actually contravene the theoretical approaches that should guide the behaviors of human beings. For instance, it is important to note that most countries recognize the rights of animals which are well spelt in the constitution. This is well supported by the arguments of the rights ethical theories.
How Hunting Could be Turned into Ethical an Activity
In considering how hunting could be turned into ethical behavior and poaching should never be considered as ethical under any circumstances, it is important to take into account the ethical theories as guiding principles. Wildlife is very important to both the state and to several individuals in the society. The wildlife attracts tourism and also requires to be sustained through protection in order to preserve them for the benefit of the next generation. It is therefore important for the society to be guided through the utilitarianism ethical theory in realizing that, in this context, wildlife is of great benefit to majority of members of the society. With this theory in mind, human beings should reason on whether it is the hunting and killing of animals on one side and letting them live, especially the ones that are becoming extinct, on the other side that will benefit the majority of the members of the society.
The states should continue enacting more laws to protect the wild animals and only allow government licensed hunting to take place in situations where a particular species of animals has an unnecessary population. Everybody is expected and should take it as an obligation to obey the laws and only use required methods in killing the animals as may be permitted. This will reduce the rate of killing animals and also ensure that they are killed in decent ways. In this case such a hunting activity will be considered ethical by both the state and the other members of the society. This practice will be inline with deontology ethical theory.
To conform to virtue ethical theory, it is important for an individual to take it as a responsibility to protect the wild animals. This may be through participation in activities that discourage unnecessary hunting of wild animals, creating awareness on the importance of preserving the wild animals and ensuring this forms part of his or her morals, reputation and values. In fact, it is important for an individual to ensure that one of his or her principles is to protect and conserve the environment which includes protection of the environment. Such a person does not actually need the law to forbid or regulate hunting but should be guided by personal ethical beliefs in ensuring the wild animals are safe and respected (Rainbow, pp. 10-15).
Animal welfare is very important both to the human kind and for the sustenance of the wildlife for the future generation. Poaching of animals should be considered as ethical since it is an act of crime and should continue to be regarded so. Hunting should be controlled to ensure it is not used unethically against the wild animals. Ways through which hunting can be made ethical are through government legislations on the certain rights of animals, coming up with laws that clearly spell out circumstances under which hunting should take place and individuals taking personal or collective initiatives to ensure that wild animals are protected from all forms of unnecessary cruelties and inhumane treatments.
Comstock, Gary. Life science ethics. Iowa: Wiley-Blackwell, 2002.
Rainbow, Catherine. “Descriptions of Ethical Theories and Principles.” Ethical Theories. 2002.
The Humane Society. “The Humane Society of the United States.” Wildlife Abuse Campaign. 2008.