The Sarah Palin Hunting Controversy

GOP Vice-Presidential nominee Sarah Palin givi...

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In a  recent episode of Sarah Palin‘s reality show, Sarah Palin’s Alaska, she hunts and kills a Caribou, which has created a lot of buzz. Now Palin is being both criticized and defended for engaging in hunting.

One of the most vitriolic criticisms has come from Aaron Sorkin‘s Huffington Post article, in which he (among other things) compares Palin’s hunting to Michael Vick‘s dog fighting. Sorkin contends that although he eats meat, wears leather, and uses other animal products, he can still criticize Palin because he feels bad about the death of animals (though not bad enough to stop eating/using them) and she doesn’t. You can read the article here.

Meanwhile,’s Anna North has written a defense of Palin’s hunt, arguing that eating factory-farmed meat is more problematic than hunting from environmental, health, and animal rights reasons. Since it is clear from the video that she plans to eat the animal she hunted, North argues that the criticisms of Palin’s hunting are unwarranted. You can read the article (which also includes a clip of the hunting scene) here.

So here’s an opportunity for some last extra credit comments. Who’s argument do you find more persuasive and why? What are your opinions on this issue?

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3 Responses to The Sarah Palin Hunting Controversy

  1. ktompkins89 says:

    I agree with both of the articles about the stupidity of the show, but criticizing Palin for hunting is ridiculous. I believe she signed on to a reality show to show that there’s more to life than politics and she wanted America to know she was a real person. Hunting is a very normal activity for Americans, but somehow it’s wrong for Sarah Palin? I agree with Anna North that factory farmed animals are far worse off.

  2. jazzyj09 says:

    Personally, it does not matter to me whether or not Sarah Palin hunts and kills a Caribou because people do that everyday for a living. But since Sarah Palin has a title over her name and is seen as a role model for Alaska, it is ethically wrong for her to slaughter a Caribou on national television. This is the price she must pay for being nationally known.

    After reading Sorkin’s and North’s article about Palin’s recent episode I find North’s argument to be more convincing. Unlike Sorkin’s article, North defines hunting, cites Singer, and justifies that Palin’s actions is a lifestyle. Palin’s hunting might be viewed as immoral because her excitement of joy is captured on the big screen. But the twist is that the Caribou is being sacrificed so that Palin and her family can survive and save money from going to the supermarket. Also, the citation about Singer makes North argument more effective because it is being supported by a humanitarian.

    Sorkin’s article is less convincing than North’s article because it lacks concrete support. Sorkin’s article is too personal and goes on a tirade about himself being compared to Palin. Although Sorkin mentions the Michael Vick’s case, it is still ineffective because the Michael Vick dog fighting is more gruesome than just shooting a Caribou. Michael Vick was accused of forcing two dogs to slaughter the other by engaging dogs in physically violent brawls. In his case, this is seen as pleasure because they are gambling on which dog will win. In Palin’s case, it is different because her pleasure is to not see the Caribou die but to know she achieved a skilled learned by her father to support her family. Is it wrong to kill an animal in order for your family to have a plate to eat? With this question, I am not condoning Palin’s action I am just asking a hypothetical question.

    At the end of the day, people are not going to stop hunting and killing animals. It is human nature to possess that thrill if it’s for pleasure and it’s a lifestyle for those who need to support their family. Sarah Palin just happen to be in the “hot seat” with PETA and others who are against the killing of animals. The real question is can they really STOP them?

  3. callalillyk says:

    I think both arguments could have been stronger if the authors had used an academic tone and remained calm. There is a difference in really believing your argument, and letting other people know it through evidence and in having a strong opinion, and not even considering the other side. At least North brought up the Singer quote and had an argument that was based off of more than personal experience. Although I remember reading about the clean shot idea in Pollan’s “The Ethics of Eating Animals,” and Pollan compared this idea to shooting a retarded child, because the intelligence level is the same, and the pain felt is also equal. This obviously brings up more emotion, and shows a problem with North’s belief. Perhaps Sorkin could have used this idea or another one to support his argument instead of using the unreliable and unclear 95% statistic.
    Personally, the controversy that Sarah Palin’s reality t.v. show creates doesn’t really interest me, but I can understand why other people would find the hunting episode an interesting debate.

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