Students learn of ethics accompanying hunting and fishing

Karla Romero

Jack Berryman, a former bioethics and humanities professor emeritus at the University of Washington Medical School, discussed the importance of conservation in hunting and fishing on Tuesday.

More than 20 students and visitors gathered at the H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports to listen to Berryman explain the history behind the ethics code of hunting and fishing.

“In the 1840s these were already issues,” Berryman said. “It really took off after the Civil War. The second half of the 19th century is when the code continues to be formalized, more widespread.”

Jan Todd, kinesiology and health education professor and co-director of the H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports, invited Berryman to give the lecture. Todd said students would benefit from Berryman’s lecture because not many people consider hunting and fishing to be sports anymore, thus forgetting the ethics attached to them.

“I think it’s important to spread that message,” Todd said. “Hunting and fishing are a big part of the recreational sports part of Texas. We don’t usually think of the ethics of hunting and fishing, because we’ve moved away from hunting and fishing quite a bit. But I do think it’s important for students to understand there is an evolution of ideas.”

Throughout the lecture, Berryman gave examples of his own experience with hunting and fishing from youth until the present. When asked who of the UT students present had been hunting or fishing, had killed an animal and then proceeded to eat it, seven raised their hand. Berryman explained that while he was a student, those who didn’t hunt or fish were the outliers, unlike today.

“My family doesn’t actually hunt,” said Hallie Phillips, health behavior and health education graduate student. “My grandparents did and their grandparents before that, but not my actual family. I got into it because of my boyfriend. I went deer hunting with him, I went fishing with him. I’ve never actually caught a deer, but I have caught fish, and I do eat deer meat — Venison.”

Todd said she has explained before to Berryman that he does not need to cover big game hunting in his lecture, as hunting elephants and other big game is viewed as unethical by many. However, she said, many also understand that fishing or deer hunting and eating the meat afterward is not inhuman, and is a sport many participate in.