Based on this research we are now asking optics companies to increase their transparency around the issue of sport hunting and trophy hunting by publishing policy statements on their websites.
Sport optics, such as binoculars, spotting scopes and monoculars, are used by many wildlife watchers. They are also essential pieces of equipment for conservationists and hunters. It is therefore no surprise that many optics companies have links to hunting.
Links to hunting
Of the 30 companies reviewed in Ethical Consumer’s Shooting Wildlife II report, 83% had links to hunting, whether that be through marketing products at both user groups, and/or sponsoring hunting events or work. 15 companies (50%) marketed products specifically for trophy, ‘big-game’ and/or driven hunts in their promotional text, and 13 (45%) had further links to hunting through pro-staff, ownership by hunters, or the sponsorship of events.
Promoting of trophy hunting
Some optics companies also use language and imagery that promote trophy and ‘big-game’ hunting; a form of selective hunting that tends to favour the killing of animals with large or distinct features such as horns, manes, tusks and antlers. Selective hunting has been linked to observed changes in animal behaviour, demographics, population health and migration.
In addition, many people believe that killing animals in any instance is unacceptable. An optics company that endorses hunting through marketing materials or sponsorship clearly poses an ethical problem for animal rights supporters.
As public opinion increasingly moves towards being anti-hunting, particularly around sport hunting and trophy hunting, it becomes increasingly difficult for optics companies to justify their links to hunting and the endorsement of ‘trophy’ and ‘big-game’ hunting.
Join the campaign against shooting wildlife
We are asking companies to make their stance on hunting known, by publishing a policy on links to hunting.
Contact your optics company asking them to publish a policy that addresses:
- any marketing of products for hunting;
- the glamorisation of sports or ‘trophy’ hunts in marketing material;
- the use of hunting imagery that contains animals whose populations have been impacted by hunting (evidenced in scientific literature);
- sponsorship of sports hunting events.
Who supports hunting?
The Shooting Wildlife report lists a number of companies who don't support hunting.
Brands to buy, those who are not directly linked with the sport hunting industry:
- Kenko Tokina,
- Olympus and
Visionary is also recommended, as it only mentions hunting once in a technical guide on its website, and did not do so in order to market products to hunters.
Five other companies with weaker links to sport hunting may also be a good choice:
- Viking, and
- Barr & Stroud.
Brands to avoid
Consumers who hold animal rights issues close to heart may want to avoid brands owned by companies with strong links to hunting.
Nikon, Swarovski, Leupold, Zeiss, Leica, Steiner, Bushnell, Vortex, Meopta, Minox, Burris, Hawke, Bresser, Alpen, Tasco, Barska, Visionking, Bosma, Vanguard, Carson, Eschenbach, and Fujinon.
If environmental issues guide your purchasing choices, then you may wish to avoid companies that glamorise trophy hunting. In particular, companies whose images and footage include animals such as lions and bears, where the potential negative impacts of selective hunting have started to be evidenced.
Alpen, Steiner, Swarovski, Burris, Bresser, Zeiss, Leica, Vanguard, Vortex, Hawke, Leupold, Meopta and Vista (Bushnell and Tasco brands).
If you are going to change what you buy because of the Shooting Wildlife Report, remember to tell the company about it and let them know why.
More campaign actions
- Contact manufacturers, asking them to adopt an ethical position on marketing their products to hunters which addresses: the glamorisation of ‘big game’ and trophy hunting; the use of hunting imagery that contains animals that have been impacted by hunting (evidenced in scientific literature); sponsorship of sports hunting; animal rights.
- Contact the companies with no links to hunting, encouraging them to use this in marketing materials, and develop ‘wildlife-friendly’ optics ranges.
- If part of a conservation group, consider developing a policy on sponsorship. Are you willing to accept money from an optics company that endorses trophy hunting?
- Share photos of any events or optics campaigns you run on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #StopShootingWildlife