A petition has been mounted against a teenage trophy hunter from Texas after she posted graphic images onto Facebook posing with animals she shot in Africa. Like many who participate in the cruel sport, she sees nothing wrong with killing for fun. But the hunting is not just hurting the animals themselves, it's hurting us all.
As some hunters will rightly point out, humans have been taking the lives of animals since the dawn of our existence, and it is, therefore, natural. But paired with that instinct, rooted just as deep, is another quality that's uniquely human: a tendency to feel respect for the things we kill.
In fact, this played such a key role in our earliest predecessors' relationship with animals that they were inspired to immortalize them, creating the very first examples of art.
Having respect for other animals is a remarkable trait for a predator, but it's no accident of evolution. Given the advantage of our heightened intellect and ability to kill with astonishing skill and efficiency, it's likely that feeling empathy is instilled within us as a natural preventative to ensure that we don't do so needlessly.