Anti-hunting is a term which is (often informally) used to identify or describe persons or groups, generally in a political context, who stand in opposition to hunting. It is also used to describe efforts to prevent hunting through legislation and other means which can include acts of civil disobedience such as hunt sabotage. Anti-hunting laws such as the English Hunting Act 2004 are generally distinguishable from conservation legislation such as the American Marine Mammal Protection Act by whether they seek to reduce or prevent hunting for perceived cruelty related reasons or to regulate hunting for conservation, although the boundaries of distinction are sometimes blurred in specific laws, for example when endangered animals are hunted.

While "anti-hunting" does not appear to be pejorative so much as descriptive, the term is widely used by pro-hunting, and traditional hunting conservation sources.

Geographic differences

It is difficult to compare strength of anti-hunting sentiment in different countries, for example because the word 'hunting' carries different meanings in the UK and United States. Nonetheless, it is more possible to compare the strength of the anti-hunting movement in different countries, with some having stronger organization, such as in the UK, and some being nearly without it, such as New Zealand. However, as can be seen in the results table, opinions can vary widely on different surveys even within the same country, and as in all market research, consideration must be given to the wording of the questions, which can influence results. [cite book|author=Moon, N.|date=1999|title=Opinion polls: History, theory and practice|publisher=Manchester University Press]

Opinion polls

Class issues

Class has sometimes been proposed as a possible differentiating factor between hunting in the UK and hunting in the United States. This seems, however, to form a minor aspect of the UK's anti-hunting movement: the Burns Inquiry analysed opposition to hunting in the UK and reported that:: "There are those who have a moral objection to hunting and who are fundamentally opposed to the idea of people gaining pleasure from what they regard as the causing of unnecessary suffering. There are also those who perceive hunting as representing a divisive social class system. Others, as we note below, resent the hunt trespassing on their land, especially when they have been told they are not welcome. They worry about the welfare of the pets and animals and the difficulty of moving around the roads where they live on hunt days. Finally there are those who are concerned about damage to the countryside and other animals, particularly badgers and otters." [ [ Burns Inquiry report, para 4.12] ]

Despite this element of class, traditional support for hunting, notably rabbit and hare coursing, has long been a part of working class culture in the United Kingdom. [ [ Tichelar, M. (2006) ‘Putting Animals into Politics’: The Labour Party and Hunting in the First Half of the Twentieth Century, Rural History, 17: 213-234] ] . As recently as 2005, one anti-hare coursing organisation referred to coursing supporters as being made up of "10% Nobs and 90% Yobs". [ [ FAACE comment on hare coursing] ]

Such an element of class is absent from the hunting debate in the United States where there are not many obvious class differences in hunting habits (except for there being little evidence for significant support of hunting by the "welfare class"). Instead the differences in anti-hunting sentiment relates to urban sprawl and increasing population density. [ [ The Elusive Hunter, Newsweek 4/12/2006, accessed January 10, 2007] ] Because of the abundance of public land in the United States, as high as 75% of the land in some states, one need not be wealthy to have access to huntable land in less densely populated areas.

The democratic perspective on hunting in the United States started as a result of the reaction against English laws restricting game to the crown. [ [ The Elusive Hunter, Newsweek 4/12/2006, page 3, accessed January 10, 2007] ] . This is one of the aspects of American culture which formed as a result of that nation's original high number of refugees from the UK and Ireland.(see Enclosure movement) A further difference between the context of debate on hunting in the UK and US is that US hunting is often licensed by Government, providing licence fee income to the state. In contrast to this, hunting in the UK has broadly required only the permission of the landowner or the owner of sporting rights over the land.

See also

* Animal rights
* Animal welfare
* Bambi effect
* Class struggle
* Conservation biology
* Conservation movement
* Hunt Saboteurs Association (HSA)
* Hunting
* Hunting law
* League Against Cruel Sports
* Sabotage


External links

* [ The Science and Sociology of Hunting: Shifting Practices and Perceptions in the United States and Great Britain] from [ The State of the Animals II: 2003] ISBN 0-9658942-7-4
* [ American Hunt Saboteurs Association]
* [ Bath and Bristol Hunt Sabs]
* [ League Against Cruel Sports, anti-hunting page]
* [ The Hunt Saboteurs Association]
* [ Why Sport Hunting Is Cruel and Unnecessary – PETA web site]

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