Despite the mixed feelings about hunting, the practice has been recognized as environmentally beneficial. Many animal and environmental advocates view hunting as a barbaric and morally wrong endeavor, regardless of the practical considerations. However, a substantial proportion of the public espouses hunting and its practices as a fundamental wildlife management approach with immense positive environmental outcomes, such as balancing the ecosystem and retaining the biomass (Byrd et al., 2017; Environmental Benefits of Hunting, n.d.). Although some people and groups are opposed to hunting, the activity provides numerous advantages to the environment.
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Hunting and trapping constitute a fundamental wildlife management operation, effectively ensuring a balanced ecosystem. According to the Environmental Benefits of Hunting (n.d.), it promotes the attainment of a habitat’s carrying capacity. Hunting practices encompass the systematic exploitation of wildlife resources to avoid over-harvesting, control overpopulation, and maintain the animal population at levels compatible with the particular ecosystem. For instance, trapping and hunting prevent the degradation of wildlands by high deer densities by reducing their number to harmless levels. The latter, as a wildlife management operation, is designed to ensure the sustenance of animal populations at environmentally healthy levels. Collected data on animal density and their ecology guide hunters and environmental management authorities on practices, such as target animals, their sexes and age, as well as the length of hunting within a particular jurisdiction. Therefore, hunting is an environmentally beneficial practice integral in the effective management of wildlife.
Hunting and trapping confer benefits to biological communities by forestalling the spread of diseases and retaining biomass due to the setting up of hunting seasons in early autumn, just before food scarcity. This shortage erodes the animals’ immune systems and increases their disease susceptibility (Environmental Benefits of Hunting, n.d.). The diseases can be transmitted to other animals during the winter season through predation or close contact while in hibernation. However, hunting the weak animals, which are at a higher risk of contracting diseases, effectively reduces the threat of illnesses spread in their particular region or community. From this perspective, the hunting community ensures the sustainability and continuation of animal generation. Thus, hunting and trapping prevent the extinction of animals brought about by the extensive spread of diseases.
Additionally, hunting eases the environmental pressure exerted by the meat industry. Notably, the consumption of commercial meat promotes environmental degradation occasioned by generating food for domesticated animals. Since beef animals are positioned second on the food chain, they demand enormous amounts of feeding. Easter et al. (2018) posit that beef production is inherently linked to environmental destruction since many crops are required to feed the animals. As a result, expansive patches of forests are cleared to sustain their feeding needs, leading to biodiversity loss and climate change. This implies that the adoption of hunting as an alternative source of meat alleviates such environmental pressure by providing a substitute for domestically reared meat. Thus, hunting is an environmentally friendly option for meat provision compared to domestically produced beef.
Conclusively, hunting is a critical wildlife management tool with immense benefits to the environment. The systematic regulation of animal populations sustained ideal levels of carrying capacity, and protection from extinction are environmentally beneficial aspects attributable to hunting. Additionally, the provision of alternative meat sources diffuses the environmental pressure and subsequent degradation occasioned by domestic meat sources, such as beef. Therefore, hunting activities promote environmental sustainability by balancing animal densities with their habitat, preventing ecosystems from overexploitation by unregulated animal populations, and safeguarding against climate change by offering alternative meat options.
Byrd, E., Lee, J., & Widmar, N. (2017). Perceptions of hunting and hunters by U.S. respondents. Animals, 7(12), 83. Web.
Easter, T. S., Killion, A. K., & Carter, N. H. (2018). Climate change, cattle, and the challenge of sustainability in a telecoupled system in Africa. Ecology and Society, 23(1), 10. Web.
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Environmental Benefits of Hunting. (n.d.). Ecohunt. Web.