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Which animals are OK to kill?

Killing animals is an extremely controversial practice. By controversial, I mean it’s an emotionally charged subject with disagreement about what the ethical “rules” are.

For example, many people who eat beef without concern are horrified about the killing of horses for food. So the “rule” there is “food” animals are OK to kill, but “sport” animals aren’t? Or is it that cows are ugly and horses are “majestic”?

California Fish and Game Commission president Dan Richards is in trouble for killing a mountain lion on a hunting trip. It’s legal in Idaho, where he killed, it, but illegal in California, where there’s a huge public outcry, with many calling for him to be fired. Most of the people who are upset about this wouldn’t have cared at all if he had killed, say, a wild boar. So the “rule” for these people is that “pretty” or “cute” animals shouldn’t be killed, but killing ugly ones is OK?

Many people who are OK with the killing of tuna are horrified by the killing of dolphins. Is there an unwritten “rule” that “intelligent” animals are to be spared, but “stupid” ones are OK to kill?

What should the “rules” be for the killing of animals?

Is the visual appeal of animals to humans the right criterion — we can kill fugly animals but not cute or majestic ones? Is intelligence the right criterion?

What are YOUR “rules” for which animals should never be killed?

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