Why Killing and Caring for Animals Are Both Recession-Proof

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How are animals faring during the recession era? Well, in some ways, they’re better off than ever. In others, however, animals are more likely to find themselves literally in the crosshairs.

While Americans have generally been spending less and trying to live cheaply since the onset of the recession, there’s been a willingness to spend more on things like condoms, fast food, and vegetable seeds. People have also been spending more on their pets.

How we spend demonstrates our values and priorities, and pet owners have clearly demonstrated theirs over the past couple of years. Whereas consumers may be willing to scale back on what they were spending on groceries or fashion, generally speaking, pet owners haven’t trimmed their expenditures involved in caring for their beloved dogs and cats.

I’m fascinated with anomalies in the marketplace—with products and activities that consumers want more of even as their disposable income allows them to have less of nearly everything else.

What’s interesting (to me, anyway) is the recession has apparently had little or no negative impact on not one, but two activities directly involving animals—one that adores and pampers them, the other that quickly turns them into food. USA Today just reported that sales of firearms and hunting licenses are up markedly in many states during the economic downturn.

At first, this may seem curious if you think of hunting primarily as a leisure activity. But hey, what with unemployment rates at about 10%, plenty of people have plenty of leisure time lately. What’s more, hunting is a leisure activity that can produce food for your family. As a spokesman for South Dakota’s Game, Fish, and Parks Department quoted in the story says:

“Hunting helps on the grocery bills.”