No compassion for a fox fighting for “its” life

Originally published at The Benfell Blog. You can comment here or there.

Somewhere in Belarus a fox is suffering.

MOSCOW (Reuters) – A wounded fox shot its would be killer in Belarus by pulling the trigger on the hunter’s gun as the pair scuffled after the man tried to finish the animal off with the butt of the rifle, media said Thursday.

The unnamed hunter, who had approached the fox after wounding it from a distance, was in hospital with a leg wound, while the fox made its escape, media said, citing prosecutors from the Grodno region.

“The animal fiercely resisted and in the struggle accidentally pulled the trigger with its paw,” one prosecutor was quoted as saying.

Fox-hunting is popular in the picturesque farming region of northwestern Belarus which borders Poland.1

Clearly, my moral values differ from those of the hunter—or even the reporter, who associates fox hunting with a “picturesque farming region.” Reuters included the story with its “Oddly Enough” report, suggesting that the story is unusual, a matter of interest or amusement, rather than the tale of an animal fighting for its life.

At most, we might read in to this story a sort of moral equivalence, where the fox and human each leave their encounter wounded. The human sought out this meeting and will receive treatment for his wounds. The fox ran off. Having served “its” purpose for our amusement, the animal may now bleed to death or continue to suffer from “its” wounds.

But it is the status of being “human” that is supposed to connote a capacity for compassion.

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