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Optics brands speak out about hunting

Opticron and Viking Optical lead the way

Binocular makers Opticron and Viking Optical have both now spoken out about industry links to hunting, following the publication of Ethical Consumer’s Shooting Wildlife II report.

In a victory for our campaign Viking Optical have tweeted stating that it had removed all mention of hunting from its website. This came in the wake of our research on links between optics brands and the hunting world.

Pressure is now mounting for other companies to follow suit with Opticron and Viking Optical’s and take a stand against the promotion of hunting. 

Company links to hunting

Of the thirty companies that were examined in the Shooting Wildlife II report, 83% of them had some link to hunting. Many companies were found to advertise to hunters. Some extended their support to sponsorship of hunting organisations and events, employment of ‘pro hunter’ professional staff. Other companies even went a step further and ran ‘training academies’ on the use of optics for hunting sports. 

Happily for us, it seems that there is a market advantage for those companies that are prepared to take an ethical stance. Like Viking Optical, Opticron says that it has responded to a conversation that is developing around optics companies and their hunting stance. The company announced that it had removed all mention of hunting from its website, after an earlier edition of the report was puiblished in 2016. 

"In the months following the publication of the first Shooting Wildlife report, a number of consumers told us and our retail partners that they had made decisions to change their optics supplier to Opticron as a direct result of the findings of the report,” the company has said. 

In 2016, Opticron was found to have weak links to hunting compared to some other companies looked at in the report. “This reinforced the company's decades long commitment to developing products for wildlife watchers and to supporting conservation organisations whose work enables those people to enjoy their hobby.”

Image: Chris Packham Lush Summit Conservation

Which company will be next? 

The question is now – if positive buying can have such an affect on two companies, which company will be next? The two announcements are a significant victory for the #stopshootingwildlife campaign, which asks companies to make their position on hunting known.

Speaking at the Lush Summit last week, Chris Packham hit out at companies that have so far failed to take an ethical stance.

You can’t have your cake and eat it. You’re either going to be an ethical company or you’re going down the other route.

Packham added that he was optimistic that consumers could fuel a change in company policy among other brands. The BBC Presenter and Conservationist sold his binoculars and camera equipment after finding that they were linked to hunting through the 2016 research. “The ball is in our court… It’s up to us to keep all companies on their toes.”

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.

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