Ethical behavior is best defined as behavior that is deemed appropriate by the majority of rational people or to act or behave in a manner that is deemed appropriate by a majority of other people involved in the same activity.

Each one of us who were raised by parents, guardians, or other responsible adults had certain values instilled as children that have followed us into adulthood. We may all have certain variables in behavior that may not follow the norm but when viewed by others are still in the realm of ethical behavior. Other individuals may have been taught good ethical values but have chosen, because of some outside factor, to behave in a manner that is not considered appropriate by the majority of rational people.

It has been stated that there are two things which cannot be legislated or dictated to people. Morality and ethics are those things that should not and cannot be mandated to individuals in a modern democratic society. To that end most of us know when we are not behaving or are not engaged in conduct that fits the norm of most rational people’s behavior. It is only natural human behavior to shun or stay away from those individuals who refuse to act in a manner that we deem inappropriate.  We also embrace those that think, act, or subscribe to the same philosophies and behavior as we do. Basically the majority rules and sets the “stage” in the definition of what is moral or what is ethical.

There is unethical behavior in every industry and in every business whether it is making automobiles or in the livestock business. Unethical behavior is not unique to one type of industry. There are unscrupulous people everywhere there is money to be made.

We all know instances and circumstances where some type of shocking, horrible behavior has occurred.  The behavior was not illegal but just was not what a scrupulous, conscientious person would do. Should we make laws to cover every situation that “WE” deem is inappropriate or unethical? Just as there is a fine line between discipline and abuse, there is a fine line to be drawn between ethical and unethical and legal and illegal.

An individual’s private or personal rights should never be jeopardized because we deem it inappropriate behavior. We should not even consider a statutory requirement that jeopardizes your private property or personal rights. This argument was settled over 200 years ago when a group of brilliant men drafted our constitution.

The last thing we need folks is more legislation and governmental interference. Believe me you do not want the government telling you when and how to take care of your animals. The United States government has more than enough control over our life.  We do not need “Uncle Sugar” trying to dictate and control any more of our personal lives.

A very good friend of mine and I and were having a discussion concerning the minimum amount of land needed to conduct a fair chase hunt. My friend is a very strong supporter of personal rights as well as property rights but what he said totally surprised me. His statement that we needed to have a statute that makes it illegal to hunt on land ten acres or less and in addition sets a minimum acreage for hunting shocked me. I advised him that no one should ever try to legislate what a person can or cannot do on their own property. If an organization wants to have, as their official position, a definition of fair chase hunting then do so but stay away from setting minimum acreages. The public will take care of the guy who calls ten acres a hunt. He simply will not survive. It goes back to what I said at the very beginning and that is people are attracted to those individuals who share their beliefs and act in a manner that the majority deems appropriate and boycott those who do not. It is as simple as that.

Just like morality, ethics and ethical behavior means different things to different people. We, as a society, should never try to dictate or legislate what is ethical or immoral. The old adage that “your rights stop at the end of my nose” is certainly very appropriate under these circumstances. Just because I personally do not condone certain behavior or you do not subscribe to a certain conduct does not mean it is necessarily ethically wrong. That is why the majority will always and should always win in the debate over ethics and morality.

The anti-hunting groups and animal rights groups are always trying to impose their beliefs on the rest of us. They will never convince those of us in the industry that we are wrong. These folks are smart enough to know that and have quit trying to attack our way of life directly. Instead they go through the back door and start by educating and brainwashing our children. If you do not believe it then take a look at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals or the Humane Society of America’s website some time. They have a complete educational course that teachers can use in their classroom to convince our children our industry is bad. Also they use their propaganda to convince those individuals who are not anti’s, but simply on the fence concerning the issues that we are wrong.

Other sportsmen are some of our industries greatest enemies. Although they mean well they want to impose there way of thinking and their definition of ethical behavior on our industry. They do not like what we do so they want to impose their beliefs on our way of life instead of standing with us. I might not agree with them but I will do everything in my power to make sure their way of life is preserved. If one sports group or one industry group is ever defeated you can rest assured the antis will go after the next and the next and so on. They will not be content with just one facet of this industry. The antis and animal rights organizations want it all. It’s a shame that there are those narrow minded sportsmen who believe their way is the only way and let’s get rid of anyone else who does not think as we do.

To answer the question, who dictates ethical behavior in our industry, is very easy. The majority of rational people should and will always determine good ethics in any industry. That is why we have to do it cleaner and better than anyone else in order to win the hearts of those who are not against what we do but just do not understand what we do.

Remember one thing in the debate over ethics and ethical behavior. There is no substitution for good common sense. Let’s keep our industry squeaky clean and above reproach.


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