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Wildlife lovers unwittingly supporting hunting

Mar 14

Written by:
14/03/2016 11:24  RssIcon

Optics companies sponsoring hunt events

A new report published today by Ethical Consumer outlines how the UK's wildlife lovers could unwittingly be supporting the controversial global hunting industry through their choice of binoculars and optics.

The report looks at over 30 of the world's leading binocular and optics companies and finds that more than 80% were involved in selling sport hunting accessories or marketing products at hunters.

Just less than 15% of the companies surveyed including Canon Inc and the Olympus Corporation were found not to be to selling hunting accessories or marketing products to hunters.


Bear killed with the aid of Alpen Optics sight scope. Photo credit: Alpen Optic



Embedded within hunting industry

The report reveals the extent to which global optics companies are embedded within the hunting industry with the fact that almost 50% of these companies use language in their marketing which references 'big game' or trophy hunting.

Steiner marketing material for example says: “Once you're after that trophy, nothing can hold you back...Even after countless monster-obsessed pursuits, Steiner optics are eager for more and ready to go.”


Support and sponsorship of hunting

The report also found that many optics companies including Nikon, Swarovski and Zeiss sponsor television programmes that promote trophy hunting. 

Almost 80% of companies that sold hunting accessories also sponsor hunting organisations with Swarovski sponsoring the Youth Hunter Education Challenge in the US, an event organised by the highly controversial US-based National Rifle Association.

Report Anna Clayton, of Ethical Consumer, said: 

“The several million birdwatchers and wildlife lovers in the UK may be shocked to learn that their binocular purchases are linked to the sport hunting industry, or are actively promoting it. 

Not only does this report seek to stimulate debate around this contradictory situation, but it also identifies which companies consumers should avoid if they wish to cut their links with sport and trophy hunting, including the hunting of bears in North America.

If purchasing choices are changed as a result of this report, it is important for consumers to let companies know why they are avoiding their products.”


Complex issues

The report acknowledges that the impacts of sport hunting are complex, especially when hunting results in the placing of an economic value on conserving wildlife which is increasingly the case in Africa, a practice whose supporters claim is leading to wildlife wins. 

However the report argues that when a habitat is managed with one particular hunting target species in mind, whether it be red deer in the Scottish Highlands or red grouse in northern Britain, it can reduce habitat diversity which can have a negative impact on overall biodiversity.

In conclusion, report author Anna Clayton said:

“If finances are the main argument used to justify the the sport hunting industry, it seems that other less lucrative forms of wildlife management may be preferable such as eco-tourism.”


Recommended for consumers

Ethical Consumer recommends the following optics brands which could not be directly linked to the sport hunting industry:

  • Canon
  • Fujinon
  • Kenko
  • Olympus
  • Viking (RSPB own brand).



Download the full report (pdf opens in new tab)












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