Is bird shooting a 'sport'?

Whether bird shooting is a ‘sport’ or not depends on how you define ‘sport’: a contest between equals, perhaps, (in which case definitely not), or an activity that involves physical activity and skill (in which case ‘barely’).

Looking at the origin of the word ‘sport’ doesn’t really help either: ‘sport’ comes from the Old French desport meaning ‘leisure’, with the oldest definition in English from around 1300 being “anything humans find amusing or entertaining“. Some humans find killing birds entertaining, so again, while we wouldn’t consider killing a bird ‘entertaining’ in any way at all, some people do see what they do as ‘sport’.


A better question might be ‘is bird shooting fair’? Of course not: the bird doesn’t know it’s taking part, the odds are always stacked against it, and it has no defence against the high-tech weapons its ‘opponents’ are using. Bird shooting isn’t ‘sporting’ for the same reasons.

Shooting birds is wholly unethical and harmful. Some people might find it ‘exciting’ or ‘challenging’, it might take practice killing other birds to get better at it, there might be a strong social component in that shooters love to brag about what they’ve killed over drinks afterwards, but as far as we’re concerned none of that makes it a sport.

The shooting industry wants to sell itself as a ‘sport’. We will challenge that narrative on every occasion possible through our campaigning and media work.