Animal Rights Activists Just Realize Nikon Makes Hunting Scopes

Nikon, one of the world's largest manufacturers of camera gear and rifle scopes, has recently met the ire of animal rights groups for producing hunting equipment.

According to an article in the U.K.'s The Independent, the heart of the problem for many is in its marketing materials; Nikon portrays itself as being "at the heart of nature" in pieces promoting camera gear, and "the proven choice for dangerous big game hunting" in scope write-ups. Animal welfare proponents think it's a conflict of interest.

Though the author of the article clearly has a bias against Nikon and hunting, the article goes on to say that many recognized wildlife photographers--some like Stefano Unterthiner, winner of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year in 2008--have used Nikon products for years, but have just became aware the company also makes rifle scopes.

"I've used Nikon since I was a young boy, fascinated by nature and wildlife. I always saw Nikon as a company close to nature, but I was wrong," he said. "I don't understand and can't agree with their support for trophy hunting, which sends out entirely the wrong message to global photographers who love nature. Wildlife needs protecting now more than ever, and I urge the company to end its support for trophy hunting."

Nikon is not the only company that produces camera and hunting gear. Others include Leica and Zeiss.

What do you think? Has Nikon created a conflict of interest, or is Nikon simply an optics company trying to market two separate lines of business to two unique audiences?