On the destiny of deer camps and duck blinds: the rise of the animal rights movement and the future of wildlife conservation

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Wildlife Society Bulletin


As we enter the new millennium, wildlife professionals, hunters, and trappers are increasingly challenged by an influential animal rights movement opposed to many of the values and behaviors associated with traditional wildlife harvest and management. We argue that the emergence of the animal rights movement is related to profound sociocultural and demographic shifts occurring within modern society. It is a product of broad macro-structural conditions that, having converged in advanced industrial societies of the late twentieth century, provide fertile ground for the rapid rise and powerful influence of this philosophy. We begin by tracing the development of the philosophy of sportsmanship and the rise of the North American conservation movement. We then discuss animal rights values within the context of 4 social precursors necessary for the widespread adoption of animal rights ideology: 1) an urban epistemology (or world view) disconnected from the reality of wild nature; 2) a popularized interpretation of science which, for many people, provides evidence for a belief in animal rights; 3) anthropomorphism, or the projection of human traits and characteristics onto nonhuman animals; and 4) egalitarianism, in which the concept of rights is extended to the nonhuman animal world. Finally, we discuss the implications of the animal rights movement for the future of hunting and trapping.









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