Environmental Ethics

Volume 19, Issue 1, Spring 1997

Brian Luke
Pages 25-44

A Critical Analysis of Hunters’ Ethics

I analyze the “Sportsman’s Code,” arguing that several of its rules presuppose a respect for animals that renders hunting a prima facie wrong. I summarize the main arguments used to justify hunting and consider them in relation to the prima facie case against hunting entailed by the sportsman’s code. Sport hunters, I argue, are in a paradoxical position—the more conscientiously they follow the code, the more strongly their behavior exemplifies a respect for animals that undermines the possibilities of justifying hunting altogether. I consider several responses, including embracing the paradox, renouncing the code, and renouncing hunting.