Hunting Controversy

Friends and foes of hunting are locked in a bitter public debate


All across the country, hunters are under assault by animal-rights groups and environmentalists who condemn the killing of animals by sportsmen as inhumane. Initially caught off balance by the attacks, hunters have mounted a counter-offensive. Hunting, they claim, is not only a cherished American tradition and a spiritually enriching activity but also an effective wildlife-management tool. As they trade charges, both sides hope to sway the thinking of the vast non-hunting majority of the American public. The stakes are high: Opponents of hunting aim for nothing less than legislation abolishing sport hunting. But even if the nation's 18 million hunters win the battle of words, continuing population growth and shrinking wildlife habitat seem sure to change their sport in ways not to their liking.

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