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Humphreys, Rebekah . Games, Fair-Play and a Sporting-Chance: A Conceptual Analysis of Blood-Sports
2020, Yearbook of the Irish Philosophical Society, 2017/18: Special Edition: Humans and Other Animals, 96-114
Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by: Rebekah Humphreys

Abstract: The killing of Cecil the lion in 2015 by a trophy hunter sparked a global debate regarding the killing of lions for ‘sport’. While many were outraged by Cecil’s killing, Cecil was just one of the millions of animals that have been used in the sports-shooting industry. Cecil’s killing brings with it the question of whether so-called ‘blood sports’ (whether these involve killing big game or smaller animals) are actually ‘sports’ at all, in the ordinary sense. As such, this paper aims to provide an analysis of blood-sport as a concept. The objective will be to examine whether blood-sports are games and to analyse to what extent, if any, blood-sports can be called ‘sports’ properly. Such an analysis will be presented through employing a generalised notion of sport and through a discussion of fair-play. Pace S. P. Morris (2014) who argues that hunting which incorporates a fair-chase code is a game and a sport, this current paper concludes that it is doubtful that blood-sport is a game, and that even if one assumes that it is a game, it cannot be classed as sport, and further that any fair-chase code undermines itself in the context of so-called ‘blood-sports’.

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