Home sweet home...
I find myself in Italy visiting my dad in the country on this fine end-of-january weekend.
As always, when I come here in winter, I have some angry feelings towards the hunting the happens all around.
Sounds like a weird thing to say from the same girl that a while back blogged about the sustainability of the hunter-gatherer lifestyle...
And yes, I still believe hunting for food is not a bad thing, and actually can be a sustainable way to eat animal proteins. So I decided to analyse hunting by splitting this article into what I consider negative and what I consider positive about it:
- hunting like a game: most of the hunting, especially around here, is treated as a hobby, a game. The animals caught are not used for food but trophies.
- hunting birds: In Italy, in particular, many species which should be protected but are not yet, are still legal to hunt. Many others are hunted out of season, for example when they are preparino to migrate or migrating. Moroever other legal to hunt species are similar to threatened ones, which poses a risk to the latter.
Also, as real numbers are lacking, it is hard to understand and model the effects of hunting on population numbers.
- using un-ethical techniques : for example the use of "calls" whether 'synthetic' (recordings) or worse natural birds kept in cages to call natural birds closer...
- private terrains: Many hunting happens in private properties, even when the owner doesn't agree. In the case of my dad's house this is true, and, as it is hard to fence and expensive to get permissions to make it a "non hunting" area, the only thing one can do is accept. Hunters around here tend to be "violent" people, so during hunting season it is not really pleasant to go for a walk (on your own property, imagine that...), and even if they are not meant to come within 150m of a house, they don't respect this rule...
- dogs : hunting dogs are skinny. So skinny and treated badly, so they will go find the fallen bird out of starvation. Really not a nice sight...
So... When is hunting good?
- keeping population numbers in check: hunting can regulate population numbers when natural predation is low. While reintroducing natural predators would be a better management tool, well-regulated hunting can be employed.
- hunting for food: killing for a purpose and not for a hobby or game. Killing only what you need, respecting that it is an animal, and using all of the catch (bones included to give flavour to broths for example...)
Bottom line: to ensure hunting is done well it should be well regulated and monitored, and definitely shouldn't just be treated as a harmless sport or hobby!
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