“Can we have our animal ethics and eat them too?”
That’s the provocative question posed by Michael Nelson and Kelly Millenbah in their article titled “The Ethics of Hunting,” published in The Wildlife Professional (Fall 2009). The authors are concerned about the discord between animal welfare advocates and hunters, suggesting that hunters should seek to “recognize the direct moral standing of animals and work to unite this recognition with the possibility of hunting and eating animals.”
I’d argue that most hunters are already there. The ethical hunters and anglers I know understand that animal welfare is important, and believe that individual animals are morally considerable. The ethic of one shot, one kill is an animal welfare ethic. So when the authors write that “it seems at least plausible that hunters can grant animals direct moral standing and still hunt and eat them,” I’d argue that it’s not just plausible. In fact, hunters do this all the time.