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Humans, Horses, and Hybrids: On Rights, Welfare, and Masculinity in Equestrian Sports

by Kutte Jönsson

Vol. 3 2012, pages 49–69
Published March 28, 2012


The fact that horses play an essential role for equestrian sports raises rather specific ethical concerns. Questions like what should be morally permissible to do to (non-consenting) nonhumans for the sake of human interests become urgent. Is it not an example of (animal) rights violation to force nonhumans taking part of sport? However, in this article I argue, from a radical egalitarian point of view, that it is possible to defend the existence of equestrian sports, but not unconditionally. I suggest that it is the masculinity norms in the sports culture that compromise the already complicated relationship between humans and animals, and therefore become an obstacle for the vision of equality between humans and nonhumans.

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About the Author

KUTTE JÖNSSON is associate professor of sport philosophy and sport ethics at Malmö University, Sweden. He is the author of three books, among them two on sport ethics (all of them in Swedish). He has also published in journals such as Sport, Ethics and Philosophy and Sport in Society. Apart from the academic work, he is continuously involved in the ongoing debate on sport, gender issues and ethics.