Andy Haden here, MA International Journalism student at UCF. I’m helping out with the WHYS show today, and animal population control is a topic that interests me. I was wondering what the views on it from around the world are.
You may have heard that the Scottish deer population at risk because of the harsh winter. Hunters are being advised to continue to cull animals which are unlikely to survive until spring. The deer hunting industry is worth £240m to the Scottish economy, so population management is a popular method of ensuring deer populations survive.
Australia also try to control the number of kangaroos, with thousands shot each year. Kangaroos are blamed for consuming grazing land meant for livestock, as well as contributing to a large amount of road accidents (11,000 in 2001).
Badgers in the UK are also the subject of a potential cull. The spread of TB amongst cattle is often blamed on badgers, but whether a cull would be effective is the topic of much scientific debate at the moment.
One argument for control is that since humans have killed off the majority of natural predators, such as wolves, for wild animal populations, then it is our responsibility to control the subsequent steps in the food chain. However, some do argue that hunting should not occur, not matter what the situation.
So, should we control the populations of wild animals, for both conservation, safety & farming reasons, or should we let them get on with it unmonitored?