Trophy Hunting: A Psychological Perspective
This book explores the psychology of trophy hunting from a critical perspective and considers the reasons why some people engage in the controversial activity of killing often endangered animals for sport.
Recent highly charged debate, reaching a peak with the killing of Cecil the lion in 2015, has brought trophy hunting under unprecedented public scrutiny, and yet the psychology of trophy hunting crucially remains under-explored. Considering all related issues from the evolutionary perspective and ‘inclusive fitness’, to personality and individual factors like narcissism, empathy, and the Duchenne smiles of hunters posing with their prey, Professor Beattie makes connections between a variety of indicators of prestige and dominance, showing how trophy hunting is inherently linked to a desire for status. He argues that we need to identify, analyse and deconstruct the factors that hold the behaviour of trophy hunting in place if we are to understand why it continues, and indeed why it flourishes, in an age of collapsing ecosystems and dwindling species populations.
The first book of its kind to examine current research critically to determine whether there really is an evolutionary argument for trophy hunting, and what range of motivations and personality traits may be linked to this activity. This is essential reading for students and academics in psychology, geography, business, environmental studies, animal welfare as well as policy makers and charities in these and related areas. It is of major relevance for anyone who cares about the future of our planet and the species that inhabit it.
‘What goes on in the mind of trophy hunters? What drives them to spend huge sums of money in the pursuit of increasingly rare animals so they can kill them and take parts of their bodies home? Are trophy hunters pre-disposed to kill? Why do they feel the need to possess? Why are they lauded by some and reviled by many? Are they a mutated throwback to the psychology of our hunting ancestors or are they simply out of step with today’s evolving, ethical perceptions of wildlife and its values? Professor Geoff Beattie brings his intellect, considerable experience and detailed analysis to bear on an issue that divides humanity. Trophy Hunting: A Psychological Perspective is required reading.’ – Will Travers OBE, President and Co-Founder, Born Free Foundation