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Andrew Tyler Broadway

SAEL 200
Addressing Ethical Controversy
In my last paper, I made numerous claims based on assumptions that pragmatic
utilitarianism and egalitarianism should be prioritized as an ethical value when examining the
issue of hunting. In this paper, I aim to reiterate and elaborate on my reasoning and address
opposing arguments within the confines of these ethical theories. I will later examine entirely
different views on ethics, such as animal liberation ethics and address these as well.
As with my previous paper, this one will explain the environmental situation in South
Carolina that allows for hunting to be ethically sound and pragmatic, but will attempt to have
more emphasis on clarity and presenting context. Much of the midlands in South Carolina, is
rural and forested. Where my parents grew up, in Sumter, there are forests and agricultural land
for dozens of miles with limited city development. Around the urban development area of
Columbia, there are vast forests in nearly every direction. This allows for the plausibility of
hunting as a population control method for deer populations. A largely urban environment would
work as an impediment to conventional wildlife control, as, in general, people are concerned or
annoyed by the sound of gunfire near their homes. There are also alternatives to hunting that will
be discussed later in the paper.
In the midlands of South Carolina, the only native large size game animal is the white tail
deer. As such, it tends to be the most popular game animal; this is due to our hunting culture,
long seasons, and the ubiquitous presence of deer in the midlands. Additionally, there is no

As such. the deer population is bolstered by widespread agriculture and forests and temperate weather and are. disease and hunting. deer in South Carolina are not only the typical population hunted in my region. likely due to familiarity with humans and encroachment upon the wilderness. but the best solution for the given situation. only substantially mitigated through starvation. sometimes half of the nights of the week. This started because they had the tenacity to attack wild stock. and given my first-hand experience in deer hunting. In my vaguely suburban hometown of Anderson. As such. As a result. and see a herd of them near the road frequently. I am conceptualizing to hunting not as a perfectly moral act. They are ubiquitous in this region. we have no natural predators for white tailed deer in this state. Simply put. they are ideal as a population that suits my argument of hunting as a best case scenario. in short. I drive carefully watching for deer. ensures that the population. are prone to attack fawns(young deer) who are not being attended but do not prey upon older deer in general. state and local governments were prone to offer bounties on wolves which were native to these regions. it surrounds us. In short. It is fairly well established at this point that most Americans cannot do the reverse of Henry David Thoreau and retreat from the wild. would substantially increase over time. In fact. in particular. without human intervention. So. which are an invasive canine species from the southwest. this makes for my population of interest. deer populations are an increasingly troublesome . This. of yet. 1 in 137 drivers in South Carolina will hit a deer at some point in the year. in the early 20th century. According to an article by the Weather Channel. This drove the population down to the point of extinction. according to a report by ABC news. particularly individuals in rural areas. and the decrease of deer habitats. crashes have increased.common predatory population. Coyotes. With the increase in urban sprawl. One might ask how we got into this situation to begin with. Some states have three times the rate of accidents. every night I come home.

With both of these solutions.issue. Despite there being no perfect ethically sound solutions. most people would approach it from a type of normative ethics. to utilitarianism. Anti-hunting activists who believe in intervention frequently espouse several alternatives including sterilizing the deer population. as a wild population over carrying capacity tends to collapse with substantial rates of death. since we introduce the wolves with the intention of killing deer. Some individuals. to pragmatic ethics(What is morally acceptable evolves over time based on outcomes) to consequentialism. but not culpability through inaction. (What has the most utility?). The solution of reintroducing wolves is imposition by proxy. you could argue for or against hunting from either side of these ethical principles. In many cases. this removes the human culpability through action. which entails using surgery or chemicals to destroy the deer’s reproductive system. typically by bow or firearm. These range from a deontological perspective (Killing is always wrong). . (What are the consequences of killing?). they are being deprived of autonomy for the greater good. but the deer population as well. there is human imposition on the deer. there are many different approaches to how people look at the issue that is largely determined by their individual approach to ethics. In the context of this situation. the method and outcome are the same. Hunting entails killing. Inaction runs the risk of damaging not only human livelihood. Now how is this related to ethics? All solutions to the deer population problem entail ethical questions that there are no easy solutions to. which in this case is the deprivation of a deer’s life by a person. mostly within the animal liberation movement support total nonimposition. egalitarianism(What is fair and promotes equality?) and even rational egoism (What’s in it for me?). The primary difference in this is that humans are indirectly instead of directly involved with the killing.

views about what constitutes ethical action. regardless of whether it achieves a higher purpose. I would argue that this is position is arbitrary. Friends of Animals pushed for a challenge to the law and in 2013 the regulations increased heavily. and is extinct in the wild in Africa. This position is indicative of an ethical foundation that is built on specific moral principles of duty. given that we have a situation where there is a probable need to intervene in wildlife. When the president of Friends of Animals was interviewed. but is thus. and because the hunted deer population provides easy access to fresh meat for a lot of the population while preventing the population from increasing. hunting can be said to be the most ethical current option for dealing with short term maintenance of the deer population. at least wildlife . tend to vary wildly as a spectrum. In response the US Wildlife and Fishing Service allowed exemptions for the controlled hunting of endangered species that are raised in a ranch. Unfortunately.000 scimitar oryx’s reportedly in captivity in Texas in early 2012. she stated that she would rather not have them exist at all in Texas than to have them be hunted there. and there were 11. As of around 2000. with regards to animals. and given the alternatives are similar but provide less utility. many ranches have not only stopped hunting them but have stopped breeding them. FOA is against all hunting. all of the animals of this species currently alive are in captivity. is a large mammal that is similar to a deer. and this policy was extremely successful.My approach to this topic is consequentialist and utilitarian with some emphasis on egalitarianism. and furthermore inconsistent with the present notions of conservationism. (though they are interrelated and complement each other). this argument only works if the reader is operating to people under similar ethical priorities. A key example of this is the controversy between the Connecticut based animal rights organization called Friends of Animals and their challenge of Texan ranchers. My reasoning is not quite a syllogism. As a result. The scimitar oryx.

As such. you can breed animals on a ranch and release them into the wilderness. animal liberationist ethics can stray far from my conception of the ethics of hunting. particularly in the south. Rural areas. When a substantial portion of the population lives in cities or highly developed areas. In any case. if the ecosystem is not balanced. if I am correct that hunting is predominantly supported in rural areas and more strongly opposed in urban areas. Depending on the city or urban region they may have access to more services and more money. biggest difference between hunting and this is the predator not being human. As I hinted at in previous papers I view the hunting debate as a largely rural vs. and political opinions develop around this norm. there’s nothing being conserved in any meaningful sense. then without intervention there will be population explosions and crashes. poor. in the latter case. the death of other animals). In the former case. people wear camouflage to the store. the animals released are bound to be prey. Many of these characteristics are used to stereotype rural people as being backward. are a culturally distinct region. There are also interesting issues in egalitarianism. at least for hunting or varmints. ironically. Hunting symbols are ubiquitous on cars. poor urban areas in huge cities suffer from . namely that. It’s worth noting that. the culture of middle class urban/suburban living is imposed upon rural areas. but if the ecosystem is balanced. then the opposition to hunting may work as a form of cultural imposition. urban issue. This needs to be taken into consideration with regards to both cultural considerations in as utility in utilitarianism. and many people have guns. this lifestyle becomes the norm. Meanwhile city dwellers and suburban people are seen in a much more advanced and sophisticated than rural people. and thus you contribute to their death (or if predators. or uneducated. A person can be a conservationist without directly killing.conservationism.

I actually see a high degree of validity to this claim in the context of factory farming. Low quality ground beef from Bi-Lo is currently $5. but people across SC as a whole. The common rebuttal to this. Except the . then meat would still be useful to utilize for hungry people. After an initial investment in equipment. hunting several deer a year. rural areas account for 17% of the population. demand for factory farmed meat in a vegetarian society would be nonexistent. The stereotype about rural people being more impoverished isn’t entirely without merit according to a report by the council of economic advisors of the Obama Administration. and increasing access to higher quality meats. however deer populations would still have to be controlled through either culling or sterilization. on average an issue with lower incomes and higher rates of poverty than the nation on average. and have. This solidifies hunting as a concept that has a large degree of practical utility and allows for ethical egalitarian outcomes as a result. Typically speaking. I think this is a worthwhile ethical concept that is rarely if ever addressed sufficiently. from a utilitarian perspective.00/lb. the rebuttal to my rebuttal would be that extra food would be unnecessary because we’d produce enough food for everybody to eat. the organization SC Hunters for the Hungry donated over 30.000 lbs of venison to various homeless shelters and churches across South Carolina. each weighing 66-200lbs can save families potentially hundreds of dollars a year in food costs. If culling were the option. meat from Whole Foods at game quality can be over $10. and this is a best case scenario.00/lb on special. It is therefore reasonable to claim that hunting benefits not only hunters. the most accessible store for food may be a gas station.similar struggles to rural areas. would be that the animal’s right to life supersedes that of the hunter’s need for cheap food. This is not this is not simply food to people who have land and the ability to hunt.

Until then. deer are free range. in that the burden of the killing is placed on a third party. as they simply have effectively paid to have that responsibility placed on a corporate employee. It is by no means an ethical alternative to hunting. This is actually a fairly similar ethical dilemma to the solution of reintroducing wolves to the environment. I suspect that this option is popular because we view the wolf as having no regard for ethics. particularly for poultry and pigs.problem isn’t production. the utility and egalitarian benefit of hunting is a valid and relevant point. In either case. killing is in its nature. hunting is the one of the best ethical options for meat. it’s logistics. but the main difference is that the hunter is less removed from the “source” of his or her meat. which is a superior alternative to the typical practices of the meat industry. but if killing needs to occur. If we are take the opposing side that killing is wrong. There is plenty of documented evidence that suggests wolves will start eating their prey alive which can be found with a cursory search on the internet. to move past the a trend developed in the past . their prey is warm and can kill and they don’t have any real reason to kill efficiently. Wolves hunt as a pack. We expect man to be above killing. If we are to assume that the world should allow omnivorous diets. a wolf. it does not make sense to reintroduce wolves into the wild. Someone who consumes meat he or she doesn’t kill cannot rationally be assumed to be on a moral high ground. they live natural lives where they’re free to run and breed. cost of distribution and consumer preferences. and it should occur ethically. the animals are processed into food. in this case. It’s unlikely that the supply of food will ever decrease to the point where someone who is truly destitute can afford to eat three full meals a day regularly. Even grass fed cattle is in captivity to some extent.

The main different is the extent in which you can believe you were removed from what you did. no. there’s not really such thing as true wilderness for South Carolina.. in our modern civilized society. If someone were to bring in a cat to fix a rat problem. we can absolve ourselves of responsibility. By intervening and putting the responsibility of killing on another. One of the other very predominant positions on hunting and wildlife populations. would it not be simply better to just remove the human element entirely? If the priority concern is the minimization of harm to the population. but also the hunting of wolves still occurs as well. and if we don’t believe it can suffer. Wolves who have not been habituated to humans are prone to eat smaller animals. and wolves who have been habituated to humans can be dangerous. with the wolves or with the slaughterhouse employees. it’s quite a shock for some to have to face the reality of being personally involved with killing. The solution of reintroduction disregards the nature of wolves and the ubiquity of humans. shouldn’t we minimize it. As such reintroduction presents a potential problem where hunting still occurs. predators that aren’t cats tend to be disliked by humans. With that in mind. if we assume the deer can suffer. One of the first things the SCDNR online hunter’s . The reason that the wolf population in the southeast is negligible was in part demand by humans to stop having wolves messing with pets and livestock. is the non-intervention approach common with animal liberationists . chicken and sheep. It does put it more in its ‘primal state’. but this presents another issue. in my experience. why bother? Reintroduction does however restore a degree of equilibrium to the ecosystem and deer population.100. it’s the same consequence and intent as hitting the rat with a hammer. and this situation seems very likely to reoccur. such as pets.000 years of our evolution.

it can be a very ethically valid alternative. inevitably. and any claims about this are hard to substantiate. and what ethical framework they’re using. In conclusion the approach to the ethical issues of hunting is determined by how one sets their moral priorities. or the people who are helped by hunting. and doesn’t aid people who are greatly helped as the result of the availability of hunting. you have a lot of questions you can’t answer so easily. If you view game hunting with an egalitarian or utilitarian ethical framework. without hunting. what is the value of the life of one deer versus the utility of one family? You can’t know for sure. temperate weather. the population would stay roughly the same. Maybe there will be a method that . As previously referenced. Hunting may eventually become unnecessary. it is a completely valid practice. I’ve based the crux of my argument around the community or deer populations these interventions affect and have ultimately focused on what provides the best outcomes for the most entities. If you’re on the wellbeing of the deer population as a whole. huge farms. This allows for large populations to emerge. the consequence of action or inaction is roughly the same for the deer population. but inaction comes at a lack of utility. but this relies on what you consider a moral imperative. If the population does not die out in sufficient numbers in the winter and has steady growth. In the fall. If you focus on the individual act of killing that hunting entails. in the course(which can be taken for free) teaches you is about seasonal population growth. the population will eventually reach a point where the population collapses due to Boulding’s dismal theorem. a large proportion tends to die out from starvation. vast forests. because nearly all of the agriculture is harvested at this point. We have abundant food for deer in the summers. maybe because the country produces and redistributes food to the population adequately so that all wants are relatively met.

2015. hunting remains the best intervention as far as providing utility and population control. 2015. 5 Dec. Exotic Antelopes Now Limited under New U. 5/ Dec 2015 . "Hunting of Rare.2014 Deer Harvest Report. "Red Alert. 2015. Web. “State of the Rural Economy” The White House. Web." SCDNR. Web. Maybe land management will fail and the deer population becomes endangered. Web. Mysterious Deaths Leave Red Wolves on the Brink of Extinction” The Weather Channel. Web. Maybe there will be an effort to separate the environment from people. Reference Page "SC Hunters for the Hungry : Feeding the Truly Hungry of South Carolina. 5 Dec. and will likely be around for decades and decades to come." SC Hunters for the Hungry." South Carolina Hunter's Ed Course." Scientific American Blog Network. Until then. 2015. 5 Dec. 5 Dec.S. "Wildlife . 5 Dec. http://stories.passively reduces the deer population without active intervention being a necessity. Rule. Web. 11 Feb. " Factors That Affect Surplus of Game Animals.