The Ethical Condemnation of Hunting

by Dorota Probucka (Volume editor)
©2022 Edited Collection 338 Pages


This volume, edited by Dorota Probucka, criticizes the modern approach to hunting by incorporating legal, ethical, cultural, social, theological, and linguistic perspectives into the analysis. The collection of articles contains thorough argumentation against hunting and determines social change strategies for eliminating it from cultural behavior patterns. It utilizes the expertise of Polish experts from many fields to describe and criticize the practice of hunting, illustrate its inhumane nature and unimaginable cruelty, and condemn the devastation of the natural environment that comes as a direct consequence of the actions of hunters. This volume argues that, unless dictated by biological need, hunting as a practice ought to be outlawed and culturally shunned, much like slavery.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the editor
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • Introduction
  • PART I
  • Hobby hunting, or a game of unpunished murder (Dorota Probucka)
  • Is recreational hunting lawful? (Tomasz Cyrol)
  • My hobby: killing (Honorata Korpikiewicz)
  • The primitivism of hunting motivation (Andrzej Elżanowski)
  • A murder out of love: Cartesian dichotomies in the arguments of the supporters of recreational hunting (Dariusz Jedzok)
  • On the instrumental treatment of ethics by hunters (Dariusz Dąbek)
  • The Code of Hunting Ethics as a tool for masking violence (Marcin Urbaniak)
  • About the human need to kill on the example of the so-called recreational hunting (Jacek Lejman)
  • “The willingness to shoot” in the light of ethics (Antonina Sebesta)
  • Legal, psychological and ethical contexts of children’s participation in hunting (Beata Kulisiewicz)
  • Criticism of the hunting education program Hunters for children, children for animals (Marcin Urbaniak)
  • On the protection of all existence and hobby killing (Halina Rarot)
  • The ethical condemnation of hunting (Dorota Probucka)
  • Aggression and violence against animals. Psychological determinants (Ewa Czerwińska-Jakimiuk)
  • Birds, does, roe deer, wild boars… lead and people (Sławomir Zieliński, Zenon Kruczyński)
  • Criticism of Miles Olson’s concept of hunting (Dariusz Gzyra)
  • Vladimir Chertkov and the beginning of the anti-hunting movement in Russia (Justyna Tymieniecka-Suchanek)
  • A Wicked Pastime – A Few Thoughts About Hunting (Vladimir Chertkov)
  • A sweet little hunting (Polowaneczko) (Tomasz Matkowski)
  • Paint means blood (Farba znaczy krew) (Zenon Kruczyński)
  • Living with hunting next door (Barbara Hartman)
  • Being human (Katarzyna Lisowska)
  • About the authors

←12 | 13→


In 2005, the collective work Брось охоту – стань человеком (Quit Hunting – Become a Human) was published under the scientific editorship of Vladimir Boreiko, a Ukrainian scientist, zoologist and nature protection activist. In one volume, Boreiko has collected articles by scientists and essays by writers from different countries, condemning and exposing the cruelty and nonsense of this “wicked pastime of killing,” as the Russian writer Vladimir Chertkovput it. After all, hunting today is not dictated by the biological need to survive; it is a cultural archaism, “demonic passion” and therefore “should, like slavery, end up on the ash heap of history.”

In 2020, continuing the work of Vladimir Boreiko, I submitted a collective work under my editorship for publication in the Scientific Papers Authors and Publishers Society Universitas, entitled “The Ethical Condemnation of Hunting”. I am pleased to present this book in English.I invited outstanding Polish researchers to cooperate: ethicists, psychologists, educators, lawyers, and biologists representing various academic centers. The thesis of this book is firmly – and strongly – put forward, just as Boreiko did, and is related to the fundamental moral principle – the axiological and normative basis of our culture: “good is to be done and pursued and evil avoided.” Let us not be passive, let us not be indifferent to someone else’s harm, both human and animal. For, as the philosopher Edmund Burke wrote, “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Thus, it should be our moral duty to actively oppose the cruelty committed not only to humans but also to animals, and to condemn the perpetrators, because the lack of our reaction strengthens their wickedness.

Albert Schweitzer, one of the most renowned ethicists, social activist and physician, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1952 also referred to this fundamental moral principle. According to Schweitzer, hunting in modern times is a manifestation of evil in its pure form, and it should be talked about and criticized. Such a view on this matter can be found in works of Polish theologian and ethicist, Fr. prof. Tadeusz Ślipko, who claims that modern hobby hunting “offends human dignity as a person and therefore should be classified as one of morally reprehensible activities.”1 I treat these words as a moral imperative – hence the idea for the book and its ethical message.←13 | 14→

To sum up: contemporary hunting, not dictated by the biological need to survive, is a moral evil, and in addition a special evil, because it is carried out under the protection of the law. The question arises: is the law still in force, allowing for the killing of animals by a narrow group of people who enjoy taking others’ lives in a way unjustified by the basic social interest? After all, hunting is also a real threat to people,2 and at the same time contaminates the natural environment.3 Perhaps such a law becomes an unlawful (or unfair) regulation in the content sense?4 Does “the most vile law have to be considered binding, as long as it is formally correct”?5 Or maybe “by exceeding a certain threshold of wickedness or injustice, specific provisions of statutory law lose their status of legal norms”?6

In February 2019, the Constitutional Court of Colombia banned the so-called hobby hunting throughout the country, finding it contrary to the provisions on environmental protection contained in the Constitution. In the opinion of the Constitutional Court, the population of animals living in Colombia is a component of the national culture and should be under state protection. The Court found that the organization, the Colombian Federation of Shooting and Recreational Hunting (whose Polish counterpart is the Polish Hunting Association), violates the constitution by practicing recreational hunting and ←14 | 15→deriving material benefits from it. Hunters also failed to obtain the right to hunt on private land. A few years earlier, in 2012, Costa Rica made a similar decision, and commercial hunting was banned in Kenya and Botswana.

In my opinion, the decisions of these few countries show a qualitative leap in the development of human moral awareness. Someone might say that these are only a few countries – but the decisions of their authorities, apart from the practical dimension, are symbolic in nature, because they mark a great step for humankind to recover from the state of moral inhumanity. Let us follow the example of these countries and strive to eliminate hobby hunting from the top down, at the statutory level, and from below, by municipalities declaring their areas as hunting-free zones. We should propose introduction of more civilized and humane solutions than killing animals with firearms. Let it be restricting their reproduction by sterilization or contraception.

First of all, let us demand, as legally regulated in Germany, that hunters should not feed animals in the forest. It is the deliberate, mass feeding that enhances reproduction and increases the population of animals, while polluting the ecosystem.7 Tons of food for herbivores are scattered throughout the forests, and carrion is stored under the hunting stands to attract carnivores. Hypocrisy of such an actions and the manipulation of society in this case, consists in the fact that the argument referring to the increase in the number of forest animals (multiplied by additional feeding) is then used to justify the necessity of hunting practices. This is the key to recognizing the perfidy inherent in modern hunting – it is primarily the desire to kill and earn money from this practice. It is lust -and not a biological and vital necessity.8 At this point, it is worth recalling the words: “When we kill, we need a cleverly constructed ideology that will make our act cease to be perceived as pure evil.”9 A component of this ideology is also ←15 | 16→the deliberate creation and fueling of an atmosphere of fear and threat from animals presented as intruders and pests. Wherever there is a threat, there must be a savior, i.e. a hunter, who will free us from hostile and dangerous beings. Here is one of the simple mechanisms for manipulating people. Thus, the need for domination, violence and killing is hidden behind the narrative of the threat posed by the victims and shifting responsibility and blame onto them. The aggressor, on the other hand, presents himself as a savior and benefactor.10 Moreover, the reference by hunters to the “skillfully constructed ideology” has yet another context related to the perpetuation of a patriarchal order based on male power and authority. “In the current changes in the perception of the human-animal, culture-nature relationship, sustaining the justifications for the existence of hunting practice takes the form of an ideological fight for the preservation of imaginary traditions and becomes a quasi-religious cult of patriarchy and masculinity.”11

Let us repeat: we should demand the elimination of hobby hunting from the top down, at the statutory level, and from below, by municipalities declaring their areas as hunting-free zones. Let us do this for three reasons. First, for the protection of free-living animals, which, let us remember, are our common good and no hunting organization should be the administrator of their lives. It is worth remembering that pursuant to Art. 21 of the Animal Protection Act, “animals living at large constitute the national value and should be provided with the conditions for development and free living.”12 Limiting the population of these animals is allowed only if such population constitutes “an extraordinary threat to human life, health or economy.”13 Second, let us do it to protect the natural environment and human life and health from devastation caused by the so-called “big killers,” where hunting has been recognized as one of the main causes of extinction of species14 and contamination of the natural environment. Third, let us also do this to protect people from moral depravity and cultural regression, ←16 | 17→from poisoning our moral ecosystem by cruel hunting practices that we must witness by necessity.

We should do it referring to injustice (moral and social), the victims of which are not only animals, but also people (losing life and health by lead environmental contamination and not having the possibility of free access to forest areas over which hunters take more and more control).After all, only 10 % of the society accepts hunting in Poland.15 “Fortunately, as a society, we start to open our eyes and notice that there are people among us who kill for pleasure.”16 Such a result of the public opinion poll indicates that hunting practices should be considered an offense to public morality and should be prohibited by law.

Let our attitude be based on the conviction that being human, understood in an ethical sense, includes the obligation to become morally better, spiritually nobler, and to work on oneself in order to overcome one’s selfishness, cruelty, moral inhumanity, thoughtlessness and stupidity.

Dorota Probucka


ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2022 (March)
animals violence ethics ciriticism hobby movement
Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2022. 338 pp., 1 tables.

Biographical notes

Dorota Probucka (Volume editor)

Dorota Probucka is Professor at the Pedagogical University of Cracow, Poland. Her academic research focuses on axiology, general ethics, environmental ethics, and animal rights.


Title: The Ethical Condemnation of Hunting
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340 pages