Killing Animals for Recreation? A Quantitative Study of Hunters’ Motives and Their Perceived Moral Relevance
By C. Gamborg, F.S. Jensen & P. Sandøe (2017)
Society & Natural Resources. Taylor & Francis
Hunters in the Western world today do not need to hunt to obtain food and other animal products. So why do they hunt? This paper examines the motives of hunters, the motives ascribed to hunters by members of the general public, and the role motives play for the moral acceptability of hunting among members of the general public. It draws on a nationally representative survey of the general public (n = 1,001) and hunters (n = 1,130) in Denmark. People with a negative attitude to hunting are more likely to take motives into account when they consider the acceptability of hunting. Three clusters of motives defining distinctive hunting motivational orientations were identified: action/harvest, management/care, and natural and social encounters. The general public ascribed action/harvest motives to hunters more than hunters did. In a policy perspective, if hunters’ motives are misperceived, improved dialog may be needed to protect the legitimacy of recreational hunting.