Argument: Hunting is a barbaric form of torturing and killing for pleasure

Issue Report: Hunting for sport


Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) British author. – It is very strange, and very melancholy, that the paucity of human pleasures should persuade us ever to call hunting one of them.[1]

Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536) Dutch humanist and theologian. – They take unbelievable pleasure in the hideous blast of the hunting horn and baying of the hounds. Dogs dung smells sweet as cinnamon to them.[2]

James Thomson, Spring, 1728 – “But let not on thy Hook the tortu’d Worm, “Convulsive, twist in agonizing Folds, “Which by rapacious Hunger swallo’ deep “Gives, as you tear it from the bleeding Breast “Of the week, helpless, uncomplaining Wretch, “Harsh Pain and Horror to the tender Hand.[3]

James Thomson, Autumn, 1730 – “O let not, aim’d from some inhuman eye. “The gun the music of the coming year “Destroy; and harmless, unsuuspecting harm, “Lay the weak tribes, a miserable prey ! “In mingled murder, fluttering on the ground.[4]

“An Enquiry into the Original Meaning of Cock-Throwing,” Gentleman’s Magazine, 1737 – The Barbarity to the harmless Creature at the Stake, one would think, should be an Object of Horror both to the Actors and Spectators of this inhuman Tragedy. To Bastinado and torture a poor Creature out of Sport and Wanttonness is a species of Cruelty that wants a Name. It was a proper Reprimand of the Frogs in the Fable, to the little Masters who were pelting them with Stones: — “Young Gentlemen! pray forbear ! This may be Sport to You ; but ’tis Death to Us.”[5]

(William Cowper, The Task, “The Garden,” 1785) – “Detested sport, “That owes its pleasures to another’s pain, “That feeds upon the sobs and dying shrieks “Of harmless nature, dumb, but yet endu’d “With eloquence, that agonies inspire, “Of silent tears and heart-distending sighs! “Vain tears, alas! and sighs that never find “A corresponding tone in jovial souls.”[6]

Anne Radcliffe, The Mysteries of Udolpho, 1794 – “A basket of provisions was sent thither, with books, and Emily’s lute: for fishing-tackle he had no use, for he could never find amusement in torturing or destroying.”[7]

John Bidlake, To The Sea, 1796 – Here let the muse the fisher’s wiles deplore; “Cruel delight! from native beds to drag “The wounded fools, and spoil their silv’ry scales, “And spotted pride, writh’d on the tort’rous hook, “In patient suff’rance dumb.[8]