Is the hunt for sport unethical?

Hunting is not "natural"

Does a deer lead a better life than a cattle kept on pasture? Is poaching reprehensible? Can you get rid of bear problems by shooting? Is there any tenable reason to kill an animal? The ethicist Klaus Peter Rippe is looking for answers.

Hunting (1/4)

last No, he has no active hunting experience: "But I have experience with hunters," says the ethicist Klaus Peter Rippe with a smile. In his childhood there was a 16-ender stag in the local hunting ground. The hunter there, gripped by the fever, hunted him down and proudly transported it through the village on the back of his car. The fine due for the unauthorized shooting and the cost of stuffing the deer's head meant that the hunter's wife in the grocer's shop had to have Rippe's parents write to her. The philosopher, one gets the impression, has sympathy for the Weidmann type, although he analytically questions his actions, which are permeated by rituals and customs - and exposes many arguments for hunting as contradicting self-justification. He does not see the hunters as “advocates for wild animals”: ​​“A lawyer does not drive his clients through the area in order to finally shoot them down.” Hunters are, if at all, advocates of an ecological balance. Hunting in Switzerland is part of a resource management that sometimes includes the demands of agriculture, forestry and tourism.

"Hunting ethics" is not a moral teaching

To see people as part of the food chain, where the stronger eats the weaker, and therefore to describe the hunt as "natural", Rippe does not allow this argument: "The hunt with weapons and in association is a cultural achievement." In contrast to the lion, man does not have to give in to every urge, we can sublimate it. The shooting of predators such as bears or wolves cannot be ethically justified for the President of the Federal Ethics Commission for Biotechnology in the Extra-Human Area and the Cantonal Animal Experimentation Commission in Zurich; unless an animal attacks a person. He very much regrets the term "problem bear", it shows that there is no learning attitude. Because more problematic are the temptations of civilization such as unsecured rubbish bins or cakes placed on window sills. How misleading the terminology used in the hunting scene can be is shown by Rippe with the help of the so-called "hunting ethics", which mean a vaguely defined ethos of hunting and have little in common with scientific moral theory. The hunting practices that are frowned upon are not necessarily based on ecological and animal welfare criteria - moreover, the «hunting ethic» presupposes the necessity of hunting and the legitimacy of killing animals. Rippe also displeases formulations such as “outsmarting Reineke”, which suggest that hunting is sporty: “What do you mean, give the animal a chance?” He doubts that choosing a weapon that is more difficult to handle or not using technical aids (headlights, night vision devices) will make hunting more moral. On the contrary: If an aid increases accuracy, its use is to be welcomed from an animal-ethical point of view.

No killing free from suffering

If the philosopher denies the ethical legitimation of hunting as a sport and trophy hunting - he puts it on the same level as bull hunting or dogfighting - it can, however, as a method of procuring meat, claim that the animal lived freely until death. From an animal ethical point of view, venison only performed better when compared with meat from industrial animal husbandry. If you use the small farm as a comparison, where the animals have plenty of space and the sturgeon butcher on the farm carries out the slaughter, the hunt comes off worse. The miss rate is too high to guarantee killing without suffering. Rippe also questions whether the life of wild animals in Switzerland is actually appropriate to their species. Motorways are for wild boars what electric fences are for cows: almost insurmountable borders. "I tend to believe that wild animals in Switzerland are farm animals in very large enclosures." - But how does he feel about eating meat himself? Looking at his stomach, he says: “I like it. But I can't justify ethically why I eat animals. "