Trophy hunting in Namibia: A case of an unethical image that is Unjustified?

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The purpose of this paper is to examine the discourse of organized trophy hunting providers, mostly operating in Namibia. With the increasing pressure from opponent groups such as animal rights activists as well as from hunters themselves, trophy hunting operators are increasingly facing questions about the responsibility and sustainability of their activities. This study explores the role of a marketing discourse used in the online marketing communications of one hundred Namibian safari providers. The results of our discourse analysis show that the vast majority of information provided on the sites investigated dealt with the richness of the fauna available for hunting, the quality of the service provided and the competitiveness of the prices of safari packages. Only a minority of safari websites had statements regarding ethics is it relates to trophy hunting. Where cited, ethics was usually spoken of in terms of the tradition of family run business having a social and economic responsibility to the land and local community as a result of the multi-generational nature of their operations. The results of this exploratory study suggest that the conventional wisdom of contextualizing trophy hunting as a cruel and resource destroying activity is simplistic at best and erroneous at worst, and should be further challenged and studied. Keywords: hunting, safari, ethics, sustainability, conservation, Namibia, marketing.

The ESC Rennes School of Business
January 13, 2016
Technical Report
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