Trea Hsieh-Lewis: Let’s End Vermont’s Wanton Waste of Nature

This commentary is from Trea Hsieh-Lewis of Burlington, a junior at the University of Vermont majoring in animal science.

One of the reasons I love Vermont so much is the wildlife that this state lives in. Vast landscapes provide habitat for an abundance of animal species that interact with each other in the natural life cycle.

However, natural systems, such as the population dynamics of predators and prey, are disrupted by unethical and wasteful hunting and trapping practices. In addition, some hunters and trappers can kill unlimited animals during the season, such as foxes, bobcats, and river otters. And because many view coyotes as just a nuisance species without recognizing their integral role in Vermont’s ecosystems, coyotes face this threat year-round.

Currently, there are no laws in Vermont that prevent anyone from participating in the reckless, senseless slaughter of as many animals as they want and leaving their carcasses outside to rot like garbage. This unethical and wasteful killing of wildlife – killing for the sake of killing – is called willful waste.

This form of hunting is an overt corruption of all ethical hunting practices that value the exploitation of the life taken. If it’s not food, warmth, or protection, why kill a wild animal? Those who engage in wanton waste are merely trying to kill and overwhelm another creature, which I see as a clear example of blatant cruelty.

Hunting, especially hunting for food, is without a doubt an important aspect of Vermont’s culture and heritage. To this day, modern hunters rely on the meat they hunted for a living. However, there is still a significant number of Vermont “athletes” who not only engage in wanton waste, but also pass this hunting or trapping method on to their children. It is dangerous to teach children to see wildlife only as disposables and not as sentient individuals capable of suffering.

There is current legislation, H.411, that just requires trappers and fighters to use what they kill.

Most Vermonters disagree with wanton waste. The University of Vermont Center for Rural Studies conducted a survey, which found that “70.5% of Vermonters … opposed the deliberate and wasteful destruction of wildlife in Vermont.” So let’s pass this bill.

Legitimate hunters could still hunt for food, fur, taxidermy, self-defense and land protection. H.411 will not only address the wanton waste that is happening now, but over time it will change the lens through which hunters and trappers look at the animals they kill. It will encourage and promote respect for the life taken.

Social media shows the disrespect some athletes treat wildlife, showing photos of piles of corpses and triumphant hunters showing off their temporary trophies. By enacting progressive laws that protect wildlife, we can cultivate a more compassionate culture that values ​​the life taken through the hunt.

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Keywords: H.411hunt-trea hsieh-lewiswillful waste


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