Thursday, September 06, 2007

Terrell Owens is right

Terrell Owens is the latest person to compare dog fighting to deer hunting (Fanhouse). Naturally, such comparisons upset people. Let me contribute:

Deer hunting and dog fighting are not that different.

Please, don't tell me about the difference between killing animals for food and killing animals for entertainment. T.O. is talking specifically about "sport" hunters that hang dead animal heads on their walls; clearly there is something going on in hunting besides acquiring food for sustenance. Besides, would you no longer find Michael Vick's actions immoral if it was discovered he ate the dead dogs after fights/killings?

And don't tell me about the difference between dogs and deer. There is an emotional difference between dogs and deer, not a rational or moral one. Can you give me a sound, logical argument for why dogs and deer should be treated as morally different entities, logical arguments that don't rely on tradition and sentiment? There are moral realities beyond emotional reactions.

I suppose we could examine the psychological appeals of dog fighting and deer hunting: the connection to death and killing, the escape from the civilized world, the rawness of nature and beast. There might be some of the same deep-rooted urges driving people to both activities. They might be some of the same urges that also drive people to war (see William Broyles Jr.'s "Why Men Love War," where he says "one of the most troubling reasons men love war is the love of destruction, the thrill of killing." But don't rely on this quote: go read the entire article).

Don't react because social convention (or personal defensiveness) tells you that dog fighting is fundamentally different from deer hunting, in such a way that one activity is immoral and the other is moral, in such a way that one activity should be illegal and the other legal. Tell me why these activities are fundamentally different.


  1. I think I agree with you on the point about dog fighting and sport hunting being analogous. I disagree, however, if the hunters eat the animal, or if they donate the meat. I know quite a few sport hunters (ones that hunt for the trophy) end up donating the meat to programs to help feed the hungry, if they don't want it themselves.

  2. Good post/thought. I agree with you and T.O. believe it or not. As a Deer hunter or former deer hunter anyways (I no longer have the time or $ to play with), it's basically the same action.

    Of course if you allow the deer to over-breed, they'll wipe themselves out. If you allow dogs to over-breed the same action doesn't really happen.

  3. Anonymous2:06 PM

    PV - That is one dumb a$$ viewpoint -

    You knit for fun??

    Hunting deer and training dogs to kill are the same thing??

    Moronic viewpoint at best..

  4. Anonymous3:04 PM

    They are not the same for one additional reason. Hunters do not torture or intentionally cause pain to the deer. Shooting a deer, which will die within seconds (and hopefully used for food) is very different than teaching dogs to viciously attack one another and cause each otehr pain and suffering.

  5. To tell the truth I lose no sleep over hunters or dogs.Upstate N.Y. they set animals loose in a large pen brave hunters then go in and hunt.
    In V.A. Vick put dogs in a pen and let them fight.Which is a inborn instinct in some breeds.
    Hunters pay to hunt,Vick paid to see dogfights.Is there a difference mostly POV but ill await the answers from the one pov we havent heard from.

  6. Anonymous4:37 PM

    Deer are wild animals in the wild. Dogs are PETS!
    There is a season on deer hunting for the purpose of balancing the population.

  7. Anonymous7:24 PM

    This is a different anonymous, first of all.

    If Mike Vick stood accused of hunting feral dogs with a rifle, and then eating them, or of raising dogs, and then shooting them in the head, and eating them, I'd look upon his lawbreaking the way I do when I see someone driving 40 in a 30 zone.

    On the other hand, if I knew of a deer hunter who captured deer live, or raised them in captivity, and then hung them live from trees in an effort to strangle them, after tormenting them in captivity for a long time, in order to get them to harm themselves for the deer captor's entertainment, I'd pretty much view him the same as Michael Vick.

    No, hunting an animal for food in a manner which achieves death as quickly as possible is not the same as tormenting an animal extensively so it will harm another animal for entertainment purposes, and hanging animals that don't entertain well by trees in an effort to strangle them.

  8. Anonymous7:29 PM

    I would agree that trophy hunting is a very, very, questionable employment of violence. A trophy hunter who uses his skill and training to achieve death quickly, however, is still preferable to Vick's chosen behavior.