by Barry Kent MacKay,
Senior Program Associate
Born Free USA’s Canadian Representative
All together now, I want everyone, collectively, to say out loud with doleful sorrowfulness: “Aw, you poor thing!”
That’s for the besieged trophy hunters out there who are feeling distressed lately over a series of events that have tarnished their image. In this YouTube era of widespread communications, they can publicly share their exploits—like throwing a spear into a bear as he ate, or shooting a curious lion, or showing scenes of a young girl overjoyed by ending the life of a giraffe.
Oh, but we do.
We are not perfect; but, we don’t go out of our way to kill big, magnificent creatures who are minding their own business, and we don’t display their body parts in our homes.
It’s called empathy: the ability to think in terms of what others might feel, and a desire not to be the source of their suffering.
I have the ability to “connect with nature” and feel more like a part of the ecological whole by observing and by taking an active role in defending—not ending—the lives of our “fellow travelers” through life. My camera, sketch pad, and paints give me far more insights into nature and other species than any gun ever could. I aim to save, not kill; to protect, not kill; to help, not kill.
Killing is all too easy for humans. Each day, via my computer screen, I see the accumulating evidence of us triggering the next great extinction event.
Hunters have “regulations” to curb the killing in order to have more to kill later on—but killing is increasingly difficult to rationalize as various populations of “game” species decrease.
We get that hunters want to kill. But, we don’t.