Overhunting: is our Second Amendment more important than biodiversity?

Humans have hunted species to extinction numerous times in the past – from the Dodo bird, to the Tasmanian tiger, to the Falkland Island wolf.  Even when their meat isn’t a necessity to survive, we persist in overhunting species until there are literally none of them left.  This is not an issue of the past; even with agencies tasked with protecting endangered species, humanity still manages to aggressively over hunt many species, even in the United States.  One recent example of this is the organized wolf hunt in Wisconsin. Even though there are only approximately 800 wolves living in Wisconsin, the state is allowing people to hunt the endangered animal, giving out 1,160 permits to kill the 800 animals.

Despite the occasional issue, America has become a relatively secure nation for endangered animals.  Some species located in other parts of the world have been less fortuitous.  Many species have become extinct in third world countries, where there are no laws protecting endangered species.  About a third of all animals that are endangered today are threatened by over hunting.

Our problem with over hunting also extends to the oceans.  Oceans contain a tremendous amount of biodiversity, but human activity is having serious and lasting impacts upon it.  Nearly 80% of all of the world’s fisheries are either “over-exploited, depleted, or in a state of collapse.”  Overfishing has had serious impacts upon many species’ populations, nearly wiping out all whales, cod, herring, and sardine by the mid-1900s.  Overfishing has become progressively worse over the years.  Fishing vessels are forced to go farther and farther from the coast to make their catch.  One recent study found that if fishing rates continue at their current pace, all of the world’s fisheries will have collapsed by the year 2048.

The tip of the week this week addresses one of the concerns of this week’s blog.  To help solve to problem of overfishing, the American consumer must begin to take action.  I love fish, but I know that to help solve this problem, we must all make healthy and sustainable choices when we go out to eat.  If you are interested in finding out which seafood choices are sustainable and which are not, check out this site.

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5 Responses to Overhunting: is our Second Amendment more important than biodiversity?

  1. Lauren Kearney says:

    I used to know a lot more about endangered species and over-hunting, and this post brought back a lot of my memories and previous concerns. Although I’m not a vegetarian, I’m incredibly sensitive towards animals and can’t fathom anyone being able to enjoy killing another creature. I can’t empathize with hunters at all, I don’t understand the sentiment behind their actions, particularly the vilification of wolves despite its proven scientific inaccuracy.

  2. Audrey Goldman says:

    This is very interesting! I rarely think about our second amendment when it comes to the lives of animals, so this is a new perspective for me. This is so sad to think about, and I am astonished that nothing is really being done to curb this behavior.

  3. Kathleen Forichon says:

    I was really surprised to hear about the wolf hunt in Wisconsin! You would think that if there are only 800 wolves in the entire state, the state wouold do something to prevent their being hunted, not endorse it.

  4. Rebecca Fink says:

    I hadn’t thought of this as relating to the 2nd Amendment but it definitely does. I’m all for the right to bear arms but more as a defensive measure…I mean if a wolf is coming at me I’m probably going to appreciate having a gun to shoot it. Hunting for sport however is something that I am extremely against. Some people will say it’s the natural way of things for us to kill; but I’m pretty sure that if you take away the ease of transportation and number of guns we have we wouldn’t even be close to hunting animals to extinction.

  5. Anna Lombardo says:

    This is a really interesting twist on the Second Amendment. So many people support it, but I don’t think many of them realize purposes people have for it other than self-defense. I also agree that the U.S. and individual citizens should become more active in trying to sustain their endangered species populations. Great post!

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