Banned by the BBC

The post below was censored by the BBC and removed from their Wildlife message board shortly after I submitted it. See what you think. You can do that because I'm posting it here on my own website, where the BBC censor can't get at it.

The psychology of killing wildlife for pleasure

Why do some people take pleasure from injuring or killing wild creatures? Is it nature or is it nurture? If it is nature, then these people have something-some neurological glitch-in them that allows them to kill a living creature without remorse, and to take pleasure from the act. Many serial killers have an early history of killing animals for pleasure (Google "Linking Animal Cruelty to Human Violence: School Shootings" for more details). If it is nurture then maybe educating children to conserve and protect our wild species is the solution. It is profoundly disturbing when any parent teaches their child, by encouragement or example, to take pleasure in the suffering or killing of any creature.

We can dispense with the common 'justifications' for many such acts quite easily as being specious and superficial to our inquiry: The economic justification 'it provides jobs' (there are innumerable employment paths open to anyone without injuring or killing wildlife, wherever they live); the ecological justification 'it helps the natural balance' (in the rare case of ecological imbalance, an organised cull by trained marksmen doesn't involve 'pleasure'); the argument of tradition (traditions are hardly compulsory); and the provision of food (we are liberally endowed with supermarkets).

Ultimately, anyone who injures or kills a wild creature beyond the boundaries of self-defence or an ecological cull is doing it purely for the pleasure of it. I would classify the following as relevant here: hunting, shooting, and fishing, as well as kids shooting animals with BB guns and air rifles, badger baiting, setting snares, stealing birds eggs, trapping or killing wild birds, and the one-off horrors that make the news.

We need to understand the psychology of taking pleasure from such an act. There is obviously an element of selfishness-personal pleasure taking precedence over the suffering and life of the wild creature, but there must be something much deeper at work, and if it is a mix of nature and nurture, we should attempt to unravel it, that we may treat it. If you used to take pleasure in the injuring or killing of wildlife, and have reformed, tell us why. It may help others stop.

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