Damn, that dichotomy scares me.
Here's what I published in today's paper. The direct link is here. Here's the text:
Tell Dick Cheney hunting's outdatedYour turn - 2 parts:
Published Tuesday, February 14, 2006
The London Free Press
Long before gigantic supermarkets became our closest connection to the food supply, hunters roamed the land in search of dinner.
U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney's accidental shooting of his hunting partner on Saturday throws the need for modern-day hunting into further question. I doubt the second most powerful man on the planet was out shooting because he was hungry.
Cheney would call it sport. I'll politely disagree.
The International Hunter Education Association logged 850 hunting accidents throughout North America in 2002, the most recent year for which figures are available. Of those, 89 were fatal.
Hunting advocates say the accident figures are acceptable given the millions of hunters who take to the woods each year. I disagree. Even one death is too many, especially since it's been generations since we've needed to shoot wild animals for food.
Urban expansion makes a bad situation worse as it erodes the buffer between hunters and the rest of us.
So what's the alternative? Ditch the gun and go grocery shopping. It's infinitely safer.
- Does the thought of Dick Cheney scare you as much as it scares me?
- Is there still room for hunting in our supermarket society? (I think I'm being yanked off the hunters' birthday card list after this one.)
More killed on highways
In his Ink Blog, Tell Dick Cheney hunting’s outdated (Feb. 14), Carmi Levy suggests that going to the supermarket is safer than hunting.
He further writes that there is no longer a need to hunt for food. He cites 850 hunting accidents with 89 fatalities in all of North America in 2002. What he doesn’t say is how many of those fatalities were non-firearm-related accidents such as ATV collisions, slip-and-falls and other mishaps.
By contrast, Transport Canada reports in 2002 that there were 2,936 deaths from motor vehicle collisions just in Canada. So, do you really think it’s safer to drive to the grocery store?
Levy also questions the need to hunt in this modern day. There are many things we don’t need today. We don’t need to drive to the grocery store in a luxury sports car with more than 300 horsepower. If Levy thinks hunting is only about the acquisition of meat, he truly has no idea about the topic. He could learn. But that would mean he would have to leave the city where everything is done for him and go out into the wilderness. And a man has to know his limitations.
Hunting controls wildlife
Regarding the Ink Blog, Tell Dick Cheney hunting’s outdated (Feb. 14) by Carmi Levy:
The unsafe actions, like those of U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney, influence even more non-hunters against the traditional sport.
Levy is an easily influenced person who did not evaluate the true nature of hunting prior to writing his column.
The need for modern hunting stems from a decrease in animal habitat resulting from urban expansion. When wildlife overpopulation occurs, ecological habitats exceed their sustainability. The Ministry of Natural Resources organizes annual hunts to regulate wildlife numbers.
If Levy is so concerned with his close proximity to hunters, he should consider who exactly hunters are. Many hunters, including me, are urban residents who venture to rural areas to participate in hunting.
Hunting is also defined by more than just “shooting a wild animal for food”; although a legal and ethical hunter will definitely utilize their harvested animal. The sport of hunting encompasses many values, including respect, camaraderie, responsibility, conservation and safety.
Levy fails to note that the IHEA statistics include fatalities that result not just from firearms discharging but from any accidental hunting injuries. Hunting is actually safer than many daily activities that citizens participate in.
In 2001, StatsCan recorded that a total of 3,032 Canadians died as a result of vehicle accidents. Statistics provide a guideline to ensure that safety is taken seriously by all citizens. Evidently, fatality statistics do not influence Canadian residents to give up their vehicles, and fatality statistics should not have a negative influence on the continuation of hunting.
(a woman, a hunter, and a UWO student)