“A Case of Ethics” – How Can Trophy Hunting Be ’Acceptable?’

This Is Speciesism

It is also evident that there are “dangers” of extending such a human framework to the study of wildlife, but such an exercise reveals hitherto unacknowledged aspects of speciesism. For the sake of argument, a precise thought experiment can be generated if we apply the logic of trophy hunting to human beings. In libertarian parlance, there is no incentive, other than voluntary, for poverty eradication. The debates on poverty constitute one of the most important areas of contemporary political economy and moral philosophy. These debates have been trying to figure out whether we have any obligations towards the poor, with poverty sometimes seen as natural (Pogge 2008). Following this, why not invite rich people to kill “some poor people” for “fun” or to satisfy their “kingly passions” by paying for it just like hunting wild animals? Why not allow such killings for generating huge funds which can thereafter be used for otherwise incentive-less poverty eradication programmes? Outrageous, isn’t it? How then is trophy hunting, which invokes similar kind of reasoning, ethical? Why doesn’t trophy hunting evoke similar outrage? It doesn’t because we have created values about animals that are one-sided or unilateral. Animals don’t participate in such value creation about them. This is what speciesism is all about.

Cecils Pride

We have seen the arguments on both side of the Trophy Hunting debate, a debate that has been rolling for many years, but has become more polarised with increased public attention since Cecil the Lion’s sad demise at the behest of Walter Palmer in July 2015.

The Trophy Hunters’ Claims

The trophy hunters, hunting supporters and advocates always refer back to the perceived virtue of the economic benefits their ‘dedication’ to killing animals for trophies contributes. The claim is that local communities in hunting areas financially benefit, plus the subsequent “conservation” of wildlife due to the funds raised etc. These ‘claims’ are based on financial, empirical evidence, but the ‘virtues’ are nowhere near as widespread as claimed, with as little as 3% of hunting income reaching down to local communities.

In addition, there is compelling evidence of declining numbers in key target species, such as the African lion, which poorly managed…

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