Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Killing a Squirrel?

Rate this topic


tobyk100
 Share

Recommended Posts

  • Replies 58
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Shooting also involves skill. Maybe having and practicing that skill is a rational value to you.

Animal rights activists would argue that your squirrel has a right to its life in forest, so let's be clear: animals have no rights. Only humans can have rights. It's not that your right trumps its right. There are no rights in the animal kingdom.

Edited by Seeker
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are no rights in the animal kingdom.

I hate to nitpick, but that would mean that we don't have rights, since we are also in the animal kingdom.

I've always had a problem with people killing animals just for the hell of it...that includes hunting for sport. If you love the way deer meat tastes and want to kill a deer so you can have it made into jerky...whatever. Likewise if you have an infestation of possums in your yard. By all means, kill them. But I think there's something psychologically wrong with someone who enjoys going out and shooting a deer just so they can hang its head on their wall. I don't see any difference between that and someone who likes to torture cats, just to watch them writhe in agony. I like to think that mankind has evolved beyond needing to kill just for the sake of feeling powerful, but a quick trip to Georgia will show that this is not necessarily the case.

I still hold that animals have a single right: the right to not be senselessly tortured for the sole purpose of enjoying their pain/death.

Edited by Moose
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hate to nitpick, but that would mean that we don't have rights, since we are also in the animal kingdom.

I've always had a problem with people killing animals just for the hell of it...that includes hunting for sport. If you love the way deer meat tastes and want to kill a deer so you can have it made into jerky...whatever. Likewise if you have an infestation of possums in your yard. By all means, kill them. But I think there's something psychologically wrong with someone who enjoys going out and shooting a deer just so they can hang its head on their wall. I don't see any difference between that and someone who likes to torture cats, just to watch them writhe in agony. I like to think that mankind has evolved beyond needing to kill just for the sake of feeling powerful, but a quick trip to Georgia will show that this is not necessarily the case.

I still hold that animals have a single right: the right to not be senselessly tortured for the sole purpose of enjoying their pain/death.

A couple misconceptions I noticed. I am not much of a hunter, but most I have known that are, tend to put the head on the wall and also eat the meat. Also, they do not seem to enjoy watching the animal in pain. In fact a clean shot is preferable, as I understand, since it is indicative of a higher level of skill. And skill is I think the main draw. Finding the right spot, hitting a moving target, tracking the animal,etc. Not so much the killing. That being said, I don't doubt that there are people out there who are cat torturers. I would only suggest that in my experience, they are not the majority.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can't speak with any intelligence about what your motivations are when you hunt. But let's be honest here. Even if hunters do eat the meat, how many of them actually held that as their primary motivation for hunting? Regardless of whether or not they eat the meat, I think that the primary motivation of most hunters is to brag (to themselves or others) that they got themselves a nice rack of antlers.

If you shoot a deer right through the heart, it's going to die pretty much instantly and will feel no pain. And, since animals don't have the same emotions we do, none of his relatives are going to feel any sadness. So, I suppose you could use that as an argument that there is nothing immoral in killing an animal just for the sake of killing. But if I were to walk around town looking for stray cats and, whenver I find one, putting a cap in its head, I suspect you might think I'm demented...even if I then take the body to a chinese restaurant and have it made into my supper. It felt no pain, no one will miss it, and I ate the result...but I'm still messed up in the head, because I killed it just for the sake of saying that I did so. I see no difference between this behavior and people who hunt deer for the sake of hunting deer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why do you want to kill a squirrel? Since animals have no rights, it would be your right to do so, but I cannot fathom why you would want to do it. To me, this seems to fall into the realm of that which is legally permissible, but morally suspect.

I have not given this issue much thought and have had very limited contact with hunters, so my perspective is limited. Hunting, to me, seems rational, although I would not want to do it. I can understand the challenge of stalking a prey with camouflage, the skill of marksmanship and, possibly, eating the kill, although this doesn't seem necessary.

Nevertheless, just to idly kill squirrels seems, well, demented. What is the value you gain from doing it? If it's marksmanship, you can gain that at a firing range. If the squirrels are not a pest, why kill squirrels?

***

On a separate note, I believe it is immoral to senselessly torture animals. Certainly, the torturer cannot gain a rational value by doing so. I think there could also be a case for making it illegal, certainly if it is done in front of other people, since it would constitute a form of psychological assault on another person. Whether it should be illegal if done privately on your own property, I don't know. If it were legal, it would fall under the category of immoral behavior that is legally permitted because it doesn't harm other people.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can't speak with any intelligence about what your motivations are when you hunt. But let's be honest here. Even if hunters do eat the meat, how many of them actually held that as their primary motivation for hunting? Regardless of whether or not they eat the meat, I think that the primary motivation of most hunters is to brag (to themselves or others) that they got themselves a nice rack of antlers.

The "bragging" is certainly a part of it...related to the skill factor I brought up. Though I would call it an increased sense of self-efficacy. Anyone who eats meat is responsible for the same fact of reality that some animal dies, regardless of how removed from it they are. Hunters unbothered by this fact are not necessarily as demented as you present them. Another factor is economic. I have known a number of people who use it as a very inexpensive form of food. $10 for a permit=70lbs of meat. Not a bad deal, especially if you enjoy or do not mind the process.

Again, I don't doubt that people like you describe exist. But in my experience your representation does not describe most of them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The "bragging" is certainly a part of it...related to the skill factor I brought up. Though I would call it an increased sense of self-efficacy. Anyone who eats meat is responsible for the same fact of reality that some animal dies, regardless of how removed from it they are. Hunters unbothered by this fact are not necessarily as demented as you present them. Another factor is economic. I have known a number of people who use it as a very inexpensive form of food. $10 for a permit=70lbs of meat. Not a bad deal, especially if you enjoy or do not mind the process.

Again, I don't doubt that people like you describe exist. But in my experience your representation does not describe most of them.

Well, I confess that I have never been hunting, nor have I ever been closely associated with people who consider themselves "hunters." Maybe it's just the stereotype I have from watching Ted Nugent's TV show.

In referring to the "animal kingdom" I of course meant to exclude people. Jeez ...

Yeah, I was admittedly nitpicking.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But I think there's something psychologically wrong with someone who enjoys going out and shooting a deer just so they can hang its head on their wall. I don't see any difference between that and someone who likes to torture cats, just to watch them writhe in agony.

My father happens to be a very accomplished hunter and neither him nor his hunter friends are solely trophy hunters with giant ego's. To track down an animal in the canadian wilderness takes great skill and then further it takes great wisdom to "out think" an animal once you track it (for one thing wild animals have a great sense of smell and can sense a human from very long distances). All of the hunters I know pride themselves in killing an animal with a single, lethal, clean shot and they prepare and eat almost everything they shoot (some meat is not safe). At the end of the hunting trip, most share the meat with those hunters who have not been successful so that nobody comes home empty handed. They value the meat so much that sometimes they have disputes over who gets what. And yes they do like trophies.

Most of those men enjoy being in the wilderness, testing their survivalist skills, seeing parts of the remote countryside that most of the public will never visit. Trophies and meat are just icing on a cake.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I still hold that animals have a single right: the right to not be senselessly tortured for the sole purpose of enjoying their pain/death.

participants must not use the website to spread ideas contrary to ...Objectivism.

Moose, that is your opinion, which is contrary to the Objectivist position that animals have no rights whatsoever and that animal rights obliterate human rights.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Only if they are unowned. Actually, in the case of squirrels, I don't see how there could be any sport involved, unless you're bow-hunting from a half mile away. Lions are a different matter -- the closer, the better.

Well, David, you have to start somewhere. When a little kid is learning to hunt, I'd say it would be better not to start straight away with lions...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Okay, but then it's not for sport, it's in order to learn.

Ah, but to learn for what? Being good at the sport? Being a good shot for other vermin like rats? Being a good shot, in general? Keeping food on the table in hard times? Having an available supply for when you enter the national squirrel chili cook-off? Heck, why not all of the above? I don't have a problem with any.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Moose, that is your opinion, which is contrary to the Objectivist position that animals have no rights whatsoever and that animal rights obliterate human rights.

I am not getting into this with you again. I mentioned it as an aside, in the context of a post that discussed the mental state of someone who kills for the sake of killing. I have not tried to convince anyone that my viewpoint is correct...I simply identified it as my viewpoint. If you feel that I have broken forum rules, ask a moderator to delete the offending part of my post or have me banned altogether, but I am not going to apologize for it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My father happens to be a very accomplished hunter and neither him nor his hunter friends are solely trophy hunters with giant ego's. To track down an animal in the canadian wilderness takes great skill and then further it takes great wisdom to "out think" an animal once you track it (for one thing wild animals have a great sense of smell and can sense a human from very long distances). All of the hunters I know pride themselves in killing an animal with a single, lethal, clean shot and they prepare and eat almost everything they shoot (some meat is not safe). At the end of the hunting trip, most share the meat with those hunters who have not been successful so that nobody comes home empty handed. They value the meat so much that sometimes they have disputes over who gets what. And yes they do like trophies.

Most of those men enjoy being in the wilderness, testing their survivalist skills, seeing parts of the remote countryside that most of the public will never visit. Trophies and meat are just icing on a cake.

This strikes me as a good description of the values gained from hunting. Although I have not hunted myself, I have experienced some of the same types of enjoyment in fishing and camping trips.

Rights really are a negative concept, and only apply to humans. Individual rights mean that the use of force to harm another person or his property is forbidden. That's it.

There is all kinds of behavior that can be immoral, but does not violate someone's rights. One can debate whether hunting is moral. To me, it is clear that it is. It is enjoyable for those who like it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have not tried to convince anyone that my viewpoint is correct...I simply identified it as my viewpoint.

I think the appropriate etiquette would be to state it thusly: "Personally, I disagree with Objectivism on this; my position is X." As to stating anti-Objectivist opinions without advancing arguments for them... I'm not sure where that stands with the rules.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you give a human a gun and send him in the wild to kill an animal, I would say the human has, at least, a better than average chance of killing that animal ... assuming he can find it. Now if the animal he chooses to kill is a natural born killer, say a bear, then, yes, it would take a good deal more to kill it than say a deer. More skill (shooting ability), mental ability (knowledge of the animals abilities and habits) & of course a bit more courage. Now, outsmarting a deer does not seem to "bear" out as much relevance as outsmarting the bear. After all, neither animal has a gun with which to shoot back. But of course the bear does have something the deer does not ... the ability (and determination) to kill you if you do not kill it first. Now when hunting a deer, the object is always to get as close as possible to assure a clean, successful shot and kill. When hunting a bear, the hunter is usually not as confident of his weapons killing ability on the first shot. So he forgoes a "close encounter", for a more secure, distant shot ... oh, but ... not too distant. Far enough to get off that "just in case" second or maybe even third shot... in case of a miss or wounding. All good hunters are always thinking of safety first. So, we have on the one hand a dead deer and on the other a dead bear. Both just as assuredly dead and now fit for consumption, display or bragging rights. Somehow I just don't get the "sport" of the whole affair. Now maybe, if the human were armed with nothing more than a knife (pick your flavor) and had to track down and kill the animal with it and his bare hands ... yah, that would definitely be more "sporting".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I still hold that animals have a single right: the right to not be senselessly tortured for the sole purpose of enjoying their pain/death.

How do you establish the basis for this right? Why is this right so specifically limited? Why is a person's use of "eating" more understandable than a person's use of "improving firearms skill" (for instance)?

But of course the bear does have something the deer does not ... the ability (and determination) to kill you if you do not kill it first.

Welcome to the forum.

Can you explain how a bear has "determination"? Determination implies lots of things, like decision making, goal setting, etc. etc. I'll give you the "ability" part, but I question the "determination" part.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...