Fair chase aside, should exotics be here in the first place?

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I kept getting lost in the translation as I struggled to read an online segment from the popular CBS news program “60 Minutes.” By the time I got to page 4, I felt like I was watching a ping-pong tournament with multiple tables pushed together and an odd number of contestants. It’s much easier to watch the plot unfold on television. In fact, if you want a good overview of the program, check out the mini videos included at the program's website.

The topic?  “Can Hunting Endangered Animals Save the Species?” The program questions whether it is ethical to raise exotic animals in order to hunt them. It includes several subplots – such as ranchers in Texas who import exotics (as many as 125 different species) and who have more exotics on their hunting preserves than certain countries in the world, where the animals are native.

The program aired on Jan. 29. The players in the show range from a hunting preserve owner to a hunter to an animal rights’ activist. The show is a fascinating microcosm of what we are made of in this country. The extra video snippets include the president of Friends of Animals, Priscilla Feral (I don’t make these names up, folks), who says hunting is never ethical. She calls it “degrading, violent, unethical and unnecessary.” And that we should have evolved past it. It seems people like Ms. Feral love to see certain species repopulated, but never hunted.

The executive director of the Exotic Wildlife Association, Charly Seale, rebuts Feral's arguments as he explains how and why hunting preserve owners operate as true conservationists.  

We need to put aside whether hunting on a preserve is ethical for this discussion. Because, frankly, you cannot have some of these exotics living in the wilds of our nation naturally ... or without great government expense. Just won’t happen. So the real question is this – is it all right to import exotic animals and to hunt these animals in the US? 

What do you think?