Hunting species that are plentiful and commonly consumed—like elk, deer, and rabbit—is one thing, but "trophy hunters" who pay fortunes to kill endangered animals like leopards, elephants, and grizzly bears are generally looked upon with disgust:
If it were about conservation, we'd recommend these "hunters" donate money for preservation efforts....The simple fact is there something wrong with a person who feels the need to travel to the other side of the globe to kill an endangered animal."
But if you eat meat, it's tougher to rage against the ethics of hunting. At least hunters are killing the animals themselves, rather than letting someone else do it. Plus, ethical hunters pay high fees for licenses, which contribute to wildlife and habitat conservation:
"Hunters and anglers were among the first crusaders for conservation and we remain today’s most important conservation leaders."
But other people argue anyone who eats meat has no room to judge hunters. If you buy meat at a grocery store, aren't you allowing someone else to do the killing for you? And given how most meat is produced in the United States, is factory farming really less cruel to animals than being hunted? Which system imposes more suffering on animals, and is more damaging to their habitat?
Hunting critics argue that it's not only unnecessary, it's cruel.
"Hunting is a violent and cowardly form of outdoor entertainment that kills hundreds of millions of animals every year, many of whom are wounded and die a slow and painful death."
Most Americans find hunting for sport more immoral than abortion.