Animal Studies Bibliography

Gunn, Alastair S. 2001. Environmental Ethics and Trophy Hunting. Ethics and the Environment 6(1)

Reviewed by: Amy Fitzgerald

In this article, Gunn argues that trophy hunting in Africa is necessary for the survival of the people and wildlife. He restricts his analysis to cases where he argues the human interests involved could not be achieved without killing animals. In this article he focuses on mostly on the hunting of elephants.

Gunn outlines the following common arguments against hunting: (1) Hunting deprives animals of their lives; (2) hunting causes suffering; (3) specific animals such as apes, elephants, and dolphins are special because they are highly intelligent and have complex social systems, and therefore should not be hunted; (4) hunting is unworthy of civilized beings; (5) hunting is a threat to biodiversity; and (6) hunting is not necessary for the fulfillment of human interests.

Regarding hunting depriving animals of their lives, Gunn argues that animals not hunted in Africa would die anyway because the human population has limited their habitat. With respect to suffering, Gunn argues that Ironically, the widely despised big game' trophy hunter is the most likely to achieve a quick and painless kill (page 72). Hunting for big game' hunters is made easy, convenient and safe. He also asserts that we are inconsistent regarding our concern for animal suffering: we are concerned mostly with beautiful animals and tend not to concern ourselves with the suffering inherent in factory farming. He also argues that hunting is no less civilized than factory farming.

Gunn's response to the contention that hunting threatens biodiversity is that the strict protection of animals is less likely to be successful than conservation that includes hunting. He states, We should not allow opposition to hunting to deflect us from the much greater threat to biodiversity posed by habitat loss and degradation (page 77). He also advocates hunting to kill introduced species that threaten native ones. Further, he contends that claims that specific animals are intelligent and social, like humans, should be met with skepticism.

Gunn points out that self-defense is a justification for killing a human, and he argues that by extension it is a justification for killing animals. Further, he asserts The animal liberation literature invariably understates the extent to which humans depend for survival on exploiting animals (page 81). He argues that killing animals may be necessary to protect grain from animals and that killing animals is sometimes central to indigenous cultures. Additionally, he argues that trophy hunting can result in the survival of people: I argue that economic considerations (at the extreme, the survival of thousands of people) justify commercial trophy hunting (page 82).

Gunn argues that preservation measures will not help the impoverished people in these regions. Rather, protecting large areas often exacerbates social and economic problems. He explains that poor countries gain significant revenue from hunting, and he uses Zimbabwe as a case study. In 1995, the Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE) generated $2.5 million. Approximately 90% of this revenue was generated from big game hunting licenses. He also argues that Zimbabwe's policies have been a conservation success. This is partly explained by the fact that because the people have an economic stake in preserving game species, they have become committed to conservation. He concludes that Whatever we may think of trophy hunting - and I share the distaste of serious sport hunter for it at present it is a necessary part of wildlife conservation in Southern Africa (page 89).



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