The recent article in Abbotsford News, (Viewpoint section) by Mark Rushton, discussed the recent media frenzy over the NHL player who decapitated and skinned a bear, and left its carcass to rot in the forest.
I would like to begin by saying that I am not at all judging the hockey player for his actions. We all conduct our lives whichever way we want. However, some individuals have a bigger influence over society because they are on the center stage and are often perceived as role models.
I am troubled with the concluding point that Mr. Rushton left us with when he compared the actions of the NHL player to “sustenance hunters” and First Nations. This insinuated that they are the real problem since they are permitted by law to hunt as much as they would like, and that as a result moose populations are decreasing. He finished by saying that if the government decides to ban trophy hunting, it should also restrict Aboriginals from hunting.
My first comment to that analogy is that hunting ,for Aboriginal people, has been a way of life for thousands of years, and it simply cannot be compared.
Some communities, which are located in remote areas, and thus are very isolated, still rely on hunting. They do no not do so for the pleasure to kill an animal senselessly, but for food. They hunt, fish and pick mushrooms. When it is done to feed a family, it takes its whole meaning and can be done with respect to the life that is being taken.
His argument that the actions of the NHL are all right because bear meat is inedible is not justifiable. Trophy killing objectifies animals and we are far too casual for taking lives when they are not human ones.
I would also argue that life evolved and that all of us are animals with a different degree of consciousness. Can we really pretend that only human being feel love, fear and the need to protect their offspring? I would contend that a bear faces some of the same issues, but in a different reality. Trophy hunting is nothing but the senseless act of removing a life that is an intrinsic part of its habitat.