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Con: hunting puts animals in danger of extinction

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- There may be positive aspects of hunting, but in my opinion, there's one huge con outweighs the pros: gradual animal extinction.

In past eras, hunting might've been a necessity to survive, and it still can be. The problem most people who are against it have is killing animals for their heads to mount on walls, just to entertain themselves or something useless like selling the fur or hide for clothing or accessories.

A popular argument trying to condone this behavior is that hunters are saving the earth from being overpopulated by wild animals.

However, they don't realize that these animals are going to die of a natural cause eventually, especially deer and rabbits since they are common targets of bigger carnivores. Also, wolves depend on the smaller food sources to live, so if somebody gets rid of all the little once-common creatures, wolves will start to die out to unless they can quickly find another food source.

Many amazing animals have become extinct due to an overabundance of hunting and no time to reproduce before being killed. For example, the woolly mammoth practically vanished near the end of the Ice Age more than 4,000 years ago due to popular demand of its tough hide and fur. Today, some tigers are extinct (and others on the brink of extinction) because of trophy hunting and the fur trade.

Another example is the passenger pigeon. These birds were so prominent during the 20th century that they were hunted and barbarically slaughtered to feed the poor and slaves. As a result, the last one died in 1914.

Other amazing animals are not yet extinct, but close to it. For instance, scientists estimate that there are only 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears left in the world, and, while the climate change doesn't help, several hundred have also been killed for their hides and furs.

Mediterranean monk seals are one of the most endangered aquatic mammals, with a population of less than 600. The decrease began with resort areas being built around their homes and them being caught by fishermen, but now they're illegally shot because they are blamed for eating all of the fish.

Until recently, American crocodiles were endangered because their hide is popular for shoes, belts and bags. However, since 2003, their status has improved to threatened, which is better, but still means endangerment and eventual extinction are possibilities.

Two others to consider are the flying fox and the great white shark. The flying fox is overhunted for its meat, which is considered a delicacy, or just killed for sport. The great white shark is a popular victim of both trophy hunting and "finning," where a shark's fin is cut off to be put in a rare soup and it is thrown back in the water to sink to the bottom and starve or be eaten by something else first.

The worst thing about killing animals just to take a picture and brag, to mount their heads on a wall or sell their fur is that surely hunters who do this could find a use for the rest of the animal going to waste.

If the hide and fur aren't wanted, they don't need to be sold for lots of money; they can be donated to people who actually require something to keep warm during the harsh winter and can't afford anything else. Meat that would otherwise be thrown away or left outside somewhere to rot could be donated to a homeless shelter or soup kitchen.


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