Teaching kids to hunt....why?

Being an animal welfare advocate, I "like" many such pages on Facebook, Twitter etc, but lately I've been absolutely appalled by more than the usual photos I've seen that draw attention to trophy hunting and its shocking aftermath. These photos are of children...often as young as five or six...standing over their animal kills or pointing a rifle at a helpless raccoon or squirrel as a proud parent snaps their photo and captions "Johnny just nailed his first kill!" Oh, way to go mom and dad.

Consistent teaching of our children to respect all living being is paramount in a world that seems determined to annihilate all species, yet here are parents who fail miserably to nourish what all children are born with....love and compassion for life. Children aren't born with a desire to kill...a thirst for blood "sports"....it is instilled in them by their parents and a society that still sees animals as nothing more than pests, targets or trophies to be mounted on their living room walls. It's not only sickening to those of us who know how all living things are connected, it seriously damages the child who hunts on a soul level. I can't help wondering how many of these kids are crying on the inside while smiling on the outside.

Instinctively, the child knows that animals should be respected and loved for who they are, but outwardly the child wants to please mom and dad and do what's expected of him/her. (Yes...little girls hunt and grow up to be big girls who hunt...that just makes my skin crawl as it's so alien to the nurturing nature of women.) So, we have pictures of kids holding up dead creatures by the tail or a group of children lined up behind a larger dead animal...smiling for the camera. It makes me want to slug someone....hard.....but I can't do it literally...it's not in MY nature to do harm.

So my question is...why? Why do some parents feel that teaching their kids to kill is good for them? That it's something to be proud of and celebrated? Are they unable to see the damage they're doing not only to the animal population, but to their own children? Why are they completely unaware that they are breeding indifference to life in their own offspring, and that that indifference translates into more shootings....not only of animals but of people too. No...it's not the only reason kids kill, but we've got to understand that it's part of the problem, and kids who kill animals often grow up to expand their hunting skills to human beings. Negative begets negative. We reap what we sow.

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