How Selective Culling Works

Arguments Against Selective Culling

The documentary is about to end, and that lion is looking pretty full. Again, yo­u don't have any hard feelings -- hey, a lion's gotta do what a lion's gotta do. But say your next-door neighbor goes out and shoots that sweet doe that's been feeding around your subdivision for years. He can't exactly make the argument that he had to kill her for meat. It might be hard to justify that kill, now that the food chain isn't playing much of a role.

­There isn't necessarily a strong opposition to selective culling as much as there's an opposition to hunting in general. The act used to be a necessity, as it provided the food that humans needed to survive. But these days, most people don't need to hunt.

At least hunters still have that conservation argument to back them up, right? Well, maybe not. Some experts and animal advocates see hunting as an unnecessary means of population control. They say that when left alone, deer and many other animal species can regulate their own population through natural selection [source: BBC News]. The lion preying on the weak antelope is an example of nature taking a natural course. There might be increased competition for natural resources, but that will simply lead to the survival of the fittest (which is basically nature's version of culling).

So, to cull or not too cull -- do you have an answer? At least now you have the facts. For more information, visit the links below.

R­elated HowStuffWorks Articles


  • BBC News "National deer cull 'disastrous.'" (Accessed 12/09/2008).
  • BBC News Online. "BSE Timeline." November 23, 1998. (Accessed 12/09/08).
  • Crusader Safaris. "Something different." (Accessed 12/09/2008).
  • International Fund for Animal Welfare. '"Deer Hunting with Dogs." (Accessed 12/08/2008).
  • Ipsen, Erik. "U.K. Proposal for Culling Cattle Is Met with Relief." International Herald Tribune. April 2, 1996. (Accessed 12/09/08)
  • Peek, James, M. "Fair Chase, Animal Husbandry and Game Management." Fair Chase Magazine. Fall 1999. (Accessed 12/09/2008).
  • Robbins, Jim. "Anger Over Culling of Yellowstone's Bison." (Accessed 12/09/2008).