The other day, I heard gun shots off in the distance, just as dawn was rising. Hunting season has opened. Actually, it started back in October, with ducks and pheasants; bow and arrow hunting for deer is allowed in October, as well.
Deer proliferate in this area, and they cause a lot of problems: from damaged landscapes and farmlands to dangerous car crashes. They also carry Lyme disease, which is a serious and difficult illness to cure. Several nearby towns have had forums to discuss sanctioned “deer kills” to decrease the population, although this has not happened as yet. There are valid reasons to look at the damage deer are capable of doing in this area.
But is it justification for hunting deer, especially if only for the sport?
Charlie Camosy makes a case for the ethical treatment of all animals in his new book, For Love of Animals. He’s an associate professor at Fordham University, and he came to many of his conclusions about animals because of his prolife convictions. For Camosy, embracing a prolife stance extends to protecting the lives of animals, as well.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church notes that, “Animals are God’s creatures. He surrounds them with his providential care. By their mere existence they bless him and give him glory. Thus men owe them kindness” (#2416).
There are many reasons that people hunt. Camosy’s book challenges us to look at all aspects of our behavior concerning animals, from hunting to eating meat to animal research to owning pets. His arguments are grounded in Scripture and Church teaching, and they emanate from a consistent ethic of life.
The extent of what constitutes animal rights is a controversial subject, no doubt. But whatever your beliefs about animals, it’s something we all must consider as we look at what it means to be Christian people who are prolife.