Posted on 2020-06-30 13:31:27
Prominent South African environmental writer, Don Pinnock, draws our attention to Trophy Hunters Exposed, Inside the Big Game Industry, a book by environmental activist Eduardo Goncalves, which gives “an exact tally of their kills, their cruelty and their Facebook boasts”. The preamble to Don Pinnock’s review strikes at the heart of the issue: “Supported by wealthy and powerful organisations like Safari Club International, the Dallas Safari Club and the National Rifle Association and egged on by countless awards and record book listings, trophy hunters have gunned down 1.7 million wild animals in the past decade. About 250,000 were endangered species.”
The animal victims of some of these ‘sportsmen’ run into thousands. Eduardo Goncalves does not hesitate to name several of them. One is listed as having killed 4044 wild animals, 1317 being elephants. Goncalves also names 500 hunters who have won Safari Club International Big 5 Wards for shooting a lion, an elephant, a leopard, a rhino and a buffalo. “Safari Club International offers about 80 different prizes to hunters who shoot the most animals, who kill them in the greatest number of places and who use novel ways to kill them.” The latter category is horribly chilling.
Goncalves is of the opinion that habitual killing of wild animals for so-called sport “is serial killing for gratification and no different from killing innocent people”. He quotes Graham Collier, writing in Psychology Today, who says “thrill killing” is a mark of both serial killers and trophy hunters. Further, hunters are taking “the biggest, the best and the strongest” and are |weakening the gene pool of threatened species.
Goncalves says that this kind of killing of sentient creatures is nothing less than murder. “The animals are entirely innocent creatures killed for ego-gratification and fun”. He points out that the general public mainly does not support trophy hunting. In two UK polls, 80% and 86% of those polled favoured banning.
We have to care much more about the merciless treatment of both wild and domestic animals. In the foreword to Goncalves’s book, renowned adventurer and author, Ranulph Fiennes says: “We are told that we face a biodiversity crisis every bit as serious as the climate crisis. Yet the slaughter, inexplicably, continues unabated. The time has come to decide whether or not to close this chapter of our history. The choice is now in our hands.”