The Problem with Canned Hunting
Canned hunting is effectively trophy hunting. A canned hunt is a type of hunt that involves the hunter being essentially promised a kill by a hunting agency or governing body. The activity basically takes place on the grounds that the host of the hunt, whether a hunting agency or private party, captures an animal and releases it in a generally enclosed area to be hunted by the hunter. The enclosed area tends to be a small fenced in area so that the kill comes rather easily to the hunter.
Naturally, there have been all sorts of ethical issues involving canned hunting. Through the years, the controversy and criticism of canned hunting has reached a fever pitch. Rightly so, as the issue with canned hunting is one more directed towards animal cruelty than any other type of hunt. The animal is captured and “canned”, giving it no original chance for survival. This type of simplistic approach to hunting is often polarizing to many within the hunting community, some of which appreciate the delicate balance of nature in its own right.
The United States actually has a set line of legislation regarding canned hunting because of the criticism. In the Sportsman Hunting Act of 2005, the United States proclaimed that anyone who transports an exotic animal for the purposes of canned hunting shall be fined or put in prison for no longer than one year. While the penalties are not all that tough, the sentiment is still resounding. The United States government does not particularly qualify what constitutes an “exotic animal”, however, and this has led to some confusion among canned hunters.
The critique involving canned hunting is rather obvious. Animal rights groups claim that is it cruelty to animals and, while they protest all types of hunting, their position is somewhat more compelling when it is amplified by other hunting groups. Certain hunting groups claim that canned hunting takes away from the element of the “fair chase” or the “fair catch”. In other words, hunting groups typically claim that part of the adventure of the hunt is, of course, the hunt. Without the hunt, hunting is left to barbaric slaughter. These hunting groups claim that canned hunting simply strips away any of the elements of survival in terms of hunting and brings it down to its most animalistic classification.
Naturally, another opponent of canned hunting is the North American Humane Society. They claim that canned hunting represents cruel activity towards animals and exists to promote brutality towards animals. The hunted animal, according to the Humane Society, has literally no chance to escape and is essentially a victim of terrorism by the hunter and the hunting party. The animal is captive and is nearly tortured by the psychological implications of being in captivity and then being hunted while in such captivity.
There are several incidents in current events which reflect canned hunting. The United States Vice President Dick Cheney is said to be a fan of canned hunting, once apparently bagging around seventy ringneck pheasants on a hunt in which the pheasants were captured and then released in a specific area upon Cheney’s request. Of course, the most famous Dick Cheney canned hunting incident likely involved the shooting of Harry Whittington. It is not known if Cheney has any objections to canned hunting on a moral level, however, as the Vice President tends to be known for a certain level of ambiguity.
Canned hunting represents a great deal of controversy and criticism in America. It is not looked at favorably at all and, instead, is rather shamed even within the hunting community. As the community of hunters tends to progress and allow for nature to operate on its own constraints within their boundaries, canned hunting tends to represent all that is wrong with human interference on its most brutal and basic level. Canned hunting is not hunting at all; it is simply a deadly game of capture and kill that gives the animal no chance to run.