02 May 2005

Gary E. Varner on Hunting

When teaching the hunting issue, I find it useful to distinguish among three types of hunting in terms of the purposes hunting is taken to serve. By therapeutic hunting I mean hunting motivated by and designed to secure the aggregate welfare of the target species and/or the integrity of its ecosystem. . . . By subsistence hunting I mean hunting aimed at securing food for human beings. By sport hunting I mean hunting aimed at maintaining religious or cultural traditions, reenacting national or evolutionary history, honing certain skills, or just securing a trophy. Many would prefer to recognize a distinction within this third category between hunting for sport and hunting as a ritual. Although there may be some important differences, I class them together because both activities serve human needs (which is what distinguishes both sport and subsistence hunting from therapeutic hunting), but needs which are less fundamental (in the sense of universal) than nutrition (which is what distinguishes subsistence hunting from both ritual and sport hunting).

(Gary E. Varner, “Can Animal Rights Activists Be Environmentalists?” in People, Penguins, and Plastic Trees: Basic Issues in Environmental Ethics, 2d ed., ed. Christine Pierce and Donald VanDeVeer [Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1995], 254-73, at 257-8 [italics in original])

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