That is a really personal question that some people will get really emotional about. I not against hunting, I think when done legally it is a great source of environmentally sourced meat and maybe even exercise. I’m inclined to think this is a question of morals, rather than ethics, but I’m not positive. And I’m sure it can be argued either way.
That being said. I, personally think the only reason anyone would hunt a brown bear is to feel like a big deal and get a rush from killing something so strong and powerful. And, I personally think that is a terrible reason to kill something. One can kill anything with a bullet at a distance, I don’t think shooting a bear makes you any stronger or more rugged that shooting a deer. All you do is aim and pull.
One look at the Bear Hunting Magazine website makes it quite clear that the main reason for bear hunting is NOT meat. It is trophy hunting, and I think that is unethical. But, there are a whole bunch of bear hunting aficionados that clearly disagree with me.
While ethics are a matter of opinion, it is generally accepted that sport or trophy hunting is unethical. In a 1985 survey, 51% of Americans approved of hunting, yet today, the number of hunters is declining (1). Hunting is typically considered morally acceptable when done for food, rather than for recreation. However, this situation is rare in America. Additionally, hunting endangered species, such as brown bears, is far less accepted than hunting other animals. According to the UN, brown bears are hunted for recreation, and poached for the “medicinal value” of their paws and gallbladders. The UN’s Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITIES) protects brown bears from being hunted as trophies and poached.
Hunting is always unethical, regardless of the animal in question, except for tribal people in very specific contexts where they live in a situation of equality with the non-humans around them.
If the hunting is resulting in a reduction in the brown bear population, or is taking place in a population that has already been greatly reduced or endangered, than hunting brown bear is unethical.
The repercussions of reducing the population of a large predator are very complex. For example, in New Jersey, where the native bear population (along with other predators) has been completely decimated, the deer population has exploded without any predators to keep the population in check. Because of the explosion in the deer population, lymes disease has become pandemic to the area. Lymes disease is carried by dear ticks, can be difficult to diagnose, and if left untreated has many long term effects, including arthritis.
This is a matter of personal opinion…sort of. Let’s face it, humans are omnivores and, as such, meat is a potential option for all of us. Some of us choose not to eat it. That being said…it is difficult, in my opinion, to justify killing anything for “Sport.” I know I wouldn’t want to be the one who just got shot for somebody’s amusement!
I think what you’re asking is whether it is “moral” to hunt brown bears. As I understand the two, ethics refers to the system or codified set of morals as a whole, which guides our actions as a society. Morals, on the other hand, refer to what we as individuals see as right or wrong. Each of us may have different opinions regarding the morality of hunting brown bears, but if we look at it from the standpoint of ethics, our society has deemed it acceptable with certain caveats (one needs a hunting permit, it needs to be in season, etc). Personally, I think it’s immoral to hunt anything one doesn’t plan on eating.
In my personal opinion, yes it is unethical to hunt a brown bear. But I also have some moral issues with hunting in general.
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