Tuesday, December 2, 2008

How serial killers start out

In addition to pointing out the misplaced modifier that opens this article (the opening day wasn’t hoping for a substantial harvest), I say: Good!

Despite hopes for a substantial harvest, the opening day of Pennsylvania's firearms deer season ended as it began yesterday -- with a quiet cold drizzle and not a lot of deer.

Drizzle, lack of snow make for an unsuccessful start to deer season, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Proponents justify hunting as a way to manage deer overpopulation. That concept is flawed. Hunters often go for the largest buck with the biggest rack, though many will shoot the first deer they see. This practice weakens the gene pool by removing the healthiest animals from the population and leaving more female deer to reproduce. Natural predators usually take the youngest, weakest, or sickest animals, keeping the deer population healthy and balanced. So, hunting can actually increase the size of the deer population!

I’ve read a lot about how when we humans interfere with our ecosystem, things get messed up. Barbara Kingsolver’s Prodigal Summer (the connection between the opening and closing of the book alone makes it a must-read) explores how hunting predators (in her novel, coyotes) upsets the natural balance and causes all sorts of things to go out of whack. Peter Benchley’s Shark Life (which I bought without realizing it was a kids’ book) makes the same argument against hunting sharks and other predators, but explains it so that kids can understand the concept easily.

Even if I ate meat, I would still have a huge problem with killing animals for pleasure, which is, not incidentally, how many serial killers start out their careers. There’s just something not right about it. This is one animal issue on which Dave agrees with me.