Don Jr. made his big debut tonight and some say he made a big splash and helped “humanize” his father. But he and his disgusting brother, Eric, deserve nothing but scorn for the series of wild animal kills that spread across Twitter tonight.
I was not aware of their depravity towards animals until tonight. The folks calling Don Jr. “Patrick Bateman” on Twitter were spot on.
From The Daily Beast:
Back in 2012, photos surfaced of the elder Trump’s sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, proudly posing with the carcasses of dead animals they hunted while on a big-game hunting expedition in Africa. The photos showed Donald and Eric posing with a lifeless cheetah, Donald clenching a knife along with the bloody, sawed-off tail of an elephant, and the pair posing next to a crocodile hanging from a noose off of a tree.
Here are Trump’s sons holding up a dead cheetah, all smiles:
The Trump boys were hunting in Zimbabwe—the same country where Cecil was killed—and though Zimbabwean animal conservation groups looked into the incident, the hunt was deemed perfectly legal. Once the photos went viral online, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted (and then deleted): “Not a PR move I didn’t give the pics but I have no shame about them either. I HUNT & EAT game.”
Later, Donald Jr. clarified his thoughts on the big-game hunt in an interview with Deer & Hunting magazine in August 2012.
“I think what made it sort of a bigger story and kind of national and even global news was that I didn’t do what a lot of other people do, which is immediately start apologizing for what I am and that I’m a hunter and all this,” Donald Jr. told Deer & Hunter. “I kinda said, ‘No, I am what I am. I did all those things. I have no regrets about it.’”
CORRECTION: It has been noted several times in the comments that the Trump kids are holding up a dead leopard, not a cheetah. Apologies for the mistake. I relied on the news story instead of my own eyes.
Donald Trump vs. animals: The Republican nominee has a set of troubling associations for those who care about pets, cows, chickens, pigs and horses
If a presidential candidate announced that his or her administration would hurt one of your relatives, you would likely do everything possible to prevent that person from being elected. For the 95% of U.S. pet owners who describe their dog or cat as a member of the family, or the millions of other Americans who care about animals on farms and in the wild, Donald Trump presents such a threat.
From a four-legged vantage point, a Trump administration would be a disaster. Last month, the Trump campaign floated billionaire Forrest Lucas as the potential secretary of the interior in his administration, a position that oversees vital animal-related programs at the National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management.
Described as “the leading anti-animal advocate in the United States” by the Humane Society Legislative Fund, Lucas has dedicated much of his time and fortune to defending some of the worst animal abuse industries in our country.
Lucas’ anti-animal front organization, Protect the Harvest, spent a quarter of a million dollars to try to block a ballot initiative in North Dakota that would have set felony-level penalties for malicious cruelty to dogs, cats and horses. That’s relevant to Lucas’ potential influence in a Trump administration, given that the Bureau of Land Management manages tens of thousands of wild horses in the West.
Lucas’ political machine has also advanced other anti-animal causes, including so-called “right to farm” legislation in states like North Dakota, Missouri, Indiana and Oklahoma. Such legislation would leave millions of animals suffering in silence on factory farms and slaughterhouses, while undermining the Bureau of Land Management’s role in humanely administering 155 million acres of grazing land for cattle and sheep.
While Interior is not directly responsible for companion animal programs, Lucas has shown callous indifference to their protection by funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars to efforts to weaken and repeal tough standards to reform puppy mills in Missouri, the nation’s largest dog-breeding state. The Lucas group also helped kill a local initiative in Indiana that simply would have required proper outdoor shelters to protect dogs and cats from the elements.
Along with Lucas, the other members of Trump’s Agriculture Advisory Committee include some of the most vocal anti-animal business leaders and elected officials in our country. Former Iowa State Rep. Annette Sweeney, one member of that group, was the author of her state’s “ag gag” bill, a perverse inversion of justice in which the heroes who film cruelty on factory farms are instead charged as criminals themselves. That bill was signed into law by Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, another advisor on Trump’s team.
Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman, yet another member of Trump’s committee, is infamous for vetoing a bill that would have banned trophy hunting of mountain lions in his state, thus extending Lucas’ anti-cat efforts outlined earlier to their wild cousins as well.
But Donald Trump doesn’t need to consult his advisory board to find defenders of cruel trophy hunting practices like Heineman. He has more than enough of them in his own family.
Sons Eric and Donald Trump Jr. have offended millions of wildlife lovers with their pay-to-kill hunts for some of Africa’s most magnificent creatures, including elephants, kudus, civet cats, crocodiles, waterbucks and leopards. Pictures of the Trump boys posing with the victims of their murderous vacations have drawn condemnation across the world, but a much more muted response from their father, who justified it with a casual comment that his “sons love to hunt.”
In this midst of Trump’s anti-animal tornado, it is with wistful retrospection that many Republican animal advocates remember the past leadership by our party on many of the same issues. President Dwight Eisenhower signed the first federal Humane Methods of Slaughter Act into law, as well as legislation prohibiting the poisoning of wild horse and burro waterholes. President Richard Nixon expanded the scope and coverage of animal protection legislation by signing landmark animal protection laws including the Animal Welfare Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, and Endangered Species Act.
President Gerald Ford expanded both the Animal Welfare Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act, while Republican legislative leaders like Senator Bob Dole championed the protection of farm animals throughout their careers from their seats in Congress. More recently, Representative Elton Gallegly (R-Calif.) twice led Congress to ban horrific animal crush videos, and dozens of Republican representatives in both chambers have fought for legislation to protect whales, chimpanzees, horses and companion animals from cruelty and abuse.
On Election Day, those are the voices for animals that we should honor and respect. If you love your dog, cherish your cat or care about other animals on farms or in the wild, then proxy their paws in the voting booth and pull the lever for anybody but Donald Trump.
Weinstein is CEO of Ridgeback Communications. He was director of media relations for the Dole/Kemp presidential campaign and was deputy press secretary to then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
The 52-to-47 vote, which was almost entirely along party lines, represented the latest instance of Republicans using a powerful legislative tool — the Congressional Review Act — to eliminate regulations that President Barack Obama’s administration finalized before he left office in January. Independent Sen. Angus King (Maine) joined Republicans in backing the measure, and the measure needs only President Trump’s signature to become law.
With Trump’s support, congressional Republicans are working systematically to undo several environmental, labor and financial safeguards the previous administration put in place toward the end of Obama’s term. Under the 1996 law, any rule wiped off the books cannot be reinstated in a “substantially similar” form.
Although a disproportionate number of the regulations that have come under fire address energy and the environment, the larger debate has focused on whether the federal government has the right to establish sweeping rules Americans must live by or whether power should be devolved to the states.
During a sometimes-emotional debate Tuesday, Republicans and Democrats sparred over how best to define sportsmanship as well as state sovereignty.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) noted that the issue of managing wildlife “is something in Alaska that we take very, very seriously.” Recalling how she watched her grandparents and parents lobby for Alaska to become a state, she added, “It was all about fish, it was all about salmon. That’s one of the reasons we fought for statehood.”
But Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), who spoke just before Murkowski, said the idea of allowing the killing of mother bears and cubs as well as denning wolves and pups would be putting “the federal stamp of approval on methods of take that the public views as unethical.”
“I don’t think that’s standing up for hunters,” he said. “I fear that it is endangering something that is critical to our culture and a way of life.”
Heinrich added that he had recently taken his 13-year-old son, Carter, on his first elk hunt, where “he soon learned that the hard work comes after you pull the trigger.” As his son painstakingly stripped the meat of the elk they had shot, the senator said, “Anything less would be unethical, and disrespectful to that magnificent wild animal.”
The National Rifle Association backed overturning the rule, as did the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the Alaska chapter of Safari Club International. In mid-January the state of Alaska challenged the regulation, along with an earlier hunting rule issued by the National Park Service, in federal court.
Environmental and animal welfare groups, by contrast, lobbied against the measure.
For years the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had negotiated on an annual basis how to establish hunting and fishing regulations for national wildlife refuges in the state, which encompass tens of millions of acres. But in 2013 the Alaska Board of Game, which is made up of political appointees, rejected the Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposed rules and instructed the state fish and game agency to write the regulations on their own.
“It was the state of Alaska that broke with this tradition,” former Fish and Wildlife Service director Dan Ashe said in an interview, noting that under federal law the agency is supposed to manage “for wildlife first” on its refuges. “We did everything we could to try to resolve the controversy, but the basic issue is what’s your basic philosophy with regard to the management of predators. And these are national wildlife refuges.”
In a statement after Tuesday’s vote, Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) said that in his state, “many hunt for survival, both personal and cultural. Alaskans have been able to maintain these strong and life-sustaining traditions through a rigorous scientific process that allows for public participation and ensures we manage our fish and game for sustainability, as required by the Alaska Constitution.”
But Ashe and other defenders of the rule said some of the changes envisioned by state officials, such as allowing people to fly into a place where grizzlies or caribou had gathered and begin hunting that day, could disrupt the natural predator-prey balance in the wild. Ashe warned that while some hunters may want to decrease the number of bears and wolves so that the numbers of other popular game species, such as moose and caribou, rise, there will be unintended ripple effects.
“There’s a natural tension between what the state wants to do, and what the federal law compels the Fish and Wildlife Service to do,” he said.
Donald Trump Jr. came in for some merciless mocking when he posed in this newspaper in a grunge-era flannel shirt, sitting awkwardly atop a tree stump at the family estate, looking glum and lonely. A rejected Cialis ad was one of the kinder suggestions.
But look deeper. Buried in that profile was something — a saffron-thin thread of hope — that could keep his father from hastening the early death of the planet. The elder Trump has repeatedly indicated his intent to withdraw American cooperation from the global agreement to negate climate change, yet another middle finger from this president to the rest of the world, and to his grandchildren. His budget would let poisons flow through American rivers and be belched into the sky overhead.
The other Donald Trump, the kid with the burden of going through life with that name, may be the only person who can stop him. In the profile, junior comes across as a little boy lost, emotionally abandoned after the divorce of parents whose every hour is spent in bold face. Sent away to boarding school. Finding some solace hunting and fishing with a grandfather in Czechoslovakia. As he tries to navigate around the toxic swagger of the old man, he relishes his time in nature. It’s not, mind you, listening to yellow-rump warblers on spring days. It’s killing things. Pheasant and deer. And bigger things, elephants and leopards, creatures so magnificent that most people cringe at the thought of ending their lives in a sporting pursuit.
But there was another famous New Yorker who did much the same thing after going through a long stretch of emotional trauma — Teddy Roosevelt. And there you find the saffron-thin thread of hope. For on the desk of Donald Trump Jr. is a bronze statue of T.R. — the most muscular defender of creation in this nation’s history.
Step one is for Trump Jr. to read up on the bronze. If he hasn’t already, he should try Edmund Morris’s “The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt” and David McCullough’s “Mornings on Horseback” for starters.
And yes, he hunted, pretty much anything. For Roosevelt, one reason to preserve all those living things was to have an opportunity to kill them later. But his love of nature was deep and consistent. “When I hear of the destruction of a species,” he wrote a friend, “I feel as if all the works of some great writer had perished.”
No doubt, Roosevelt would have detested Trump. “It tires me to talk to rich men,” he once said. “You expect a man of millions to be worth hearing, but as a rule, they don’t know anything outside their own business.”
But Trump Jr. certainly likes Roosevelt. If he takes away just one thing from the president who launched a century of progress, it should be his thunderous pitch for posterity in his New Nationalism speech of 1910. He said, “Of all the questions which can come before this nation there isn’t one which compares in importance with the central task of leaving this land even a better land for our descendants than it is for us.”
That seem rather obvious — everywhere but inside the Trump White House. The president’s budget blueprint would gut the core mission of the agency charged with ensuring clear air and water. It would cripple the departments that oversee parks and national forests. And, in another stab at his base, he would make it much more difficult to get in and out of the open spaces of America, eliminating the federal assistance that keeps many rural airports from closing.
Of course, at a time when Trump’s other proposals would literally mean death to poor people newly deprived of health care and would stop vital cancer research that could save millions of lives, the concerns of the natural world can seem secondary.
Still, that’s the only area where Trump Jr. could match his passions with a policy block. His tweets, including the recent hit-and-miss attack on the mayor of London, show him to be an otherwise meanspirited, incurious and accuracy-challenged chip off the old block.
Sickly as a child, heartbroken as a young man over the loss of his wife and mother on the same day, Teddy Roosevelt found his salvation in nature, the American wild. “I owe more than I can ever express to the West,” he said.
In a similar vein, young Trump, who gives the impression of somebody who knows he will never outrun his father’s shadow, said, “I owe the outdoors way too much” for keeping him out of trouble. One man repaid the debt. The other still could.
The woman was killed on Westminster Bridge as a number of pedestrians were mowed down by a grey Hyundai i40.
It is believed the man was also killed in the incident on the bridge.
Seven people are in a critical condition, and 29 have been treated in hospital.
One woman ended up in the Thames and was treated for serious injuries after being pulled from the water.
The attacker, armed with two large knives, jumped out of the car after smashing it into the railings encircling the Palace of Westminster, fatally stabbing Pc Palmer as he entered the grounds.
He was shot dead moments later by another officer.
During a speech in Parliament, Theresa May confirmed the Westminster attacker was a British citizen who was known to the police and security services, and had been investigated some years ago over violent extremism.
May told MPs he was a ‘peripheral’ figure, adding: ‘He was not part of the current intelligence picture.’
Here’s everything we know about the attacker.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has said the working assumption is that the attack is linked to Islamic terrorism.
A group of French schoolchildren were among those targeted on the bridge, with three injured.
Prime Minister Theresa May later chaired a meeting of the Government’s emergency Cobra committee, branding the attack ‘sick and depraved’.
Donald Trump Jr. is the Trump who has not always seemed at ease with being a Trump. He grew up in the penthouse of Trump Tower but was happy to escape the gilded trappings of his Manhattan childhood to spend parts of the summers hunting and fishing with his maternal grandfather in the woods of what was then Czechoslovakia.
After graduating from his father’s alma mater, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, he tended bar in Aspen, Colo., rather than immediately join the family business. Several months later, on Feb. 25, 2001, during a Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans, he was arrested on charges of public drunkenness and spent 11 hours in jail.
“I think, like anyone else, I made my mistakes,” Mr. Trump said of his arrest. “We have to be honest with ourselves. I’m not good at it, moderation. You have to have the conversation, be a realist, and say, ‘I guess I’m not doing myself any favors.’”
In 2001, Mr. Trump, the eldest of the five children from Donald J. Trump’s three marriages, went to work for the Trump Organization in the same building where he had grown up. He rose to executive vice president, and his status as a family member in good standing was on display when he appeared as a boardroom adviser on “The Apprentice,” the NBC reality show that re-established his father as a celebrity mogul nearly two decades after he had captured the public’s attention with his first best seller, “The Art of the Deal.”
Now Donald Jr., 39, has completed his own apprenticeship.
Since his father was sworn in as president, he and his brother Eric, 33, have taken over management of the Trump Organization, with Donald Jr. overseeing commercial licensing and much of the international business and Eric managing the golf courses, among other duties. Donald Jr. is also a rising figure in Republican politics and a robust defender of the family name. As a public speaker who brings in an estimated $50,000 per speech, he has impressed conservatives with a rough, straightforward manner that belies his cushy upbringing.
Like his father, he uses Twitter to thrash liberals and lend support to those who are friendly to the president’s populist agenda. Given that he is a skilled outdoorsman and a member of the National Rifle Association who owns dozens of firearms, among them a Benelli Super Black Eagle II (for hunting waterfowl) and an AR-platform semiautomatic rifle (for marksmanship competitions), Mr. Trump also connects with heartland voters in a way that his more refined sister Ivanka may not.
While Ms. Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, have lately elevated their social profile in Washington and Palm Beach, Fla., while keeping close contact with the president, her oldest brother has largely avoided the balls and benefits, preferring to hunker down in Midtown during the workweek and spend weekends in the Catskills with his wife, Vanessa, and their five children.
“Don is the more chill version of any of the kids,” said Dee Dee Sides, who has known him since the early 2000s.
He came into his own as a public figure during the presidential campaign. On the stump he was equally at ease before crowds in both Mississippi and Michigan, and television pundits gushed about his political future after his bluntly effective speech at the Republican National Convention, with some mentioning him as a potential mayoral candidate in New York City.
“I don’t know if I could go all-in at that,” Mr. Trump said of a political career. “There is a part that is incredibly enticing. But it’s not human most of the time.”
Even as he embraces his new status in business and politics, Mr. Trump sounds, at times, as if it is some kind of anomaly.
“If I could miracle myself away,” he said, “I would live out West.”
Into the Woods
Mr. Trump’s friendships are rooted, for the most part, in hunting and fishing, sports that do not appeal to the golf-loving patriarch of the Trump family. He said he decided early on not to measure himself against his father.
“I think people are often surprised, but I never defined myself as, ‘I’m the business guy who has to supersede what my father has done,’” he said. “He’s a totally unique individual. Somehow having to top his accomplishments is never the way I perceived things.”
He developed a distaste for living in public at an early age. In 1990, his father separated from his mother, Ivana Zelnickova, a Czech model and skier, after having an affair with the model and sometime actress Marla Maples. Donald Jr. was 12 at a time when gossip columnists, someencouraged by his father, chronicled the family soap opera. During this time, Donald Jr. did not speak to his father for a year, New York magazine reported in 2004 in an article about the Trump children.
Before the divorce, Mr. Trump found a role model in someone quite different from his father: his maternal grandfather, Milos Zelnicek, an electrician who was an avid outdoorsman. In the summers, he stayed at the Zelniceks’ home in a town near Prague for six to eight weeks at a time, and his grandfather schooled him in camping, fishing, hunting and the Czech language.
“He needed a father figure,” his mother said in a telephone interview. “Donald was not around that much. They would have to go to his office to say hello to him before going to school.”
Mr. Zelnicek, who died in 1990, allowed his grandson a freedom not readily available to a child of Fifth Avenue. As Mr. Trump put it: “He said: ‘There is the woods. See you at dark.’ I think I felt a little trapped in New York City.”
Despite the advantages of wealth, Mr. Trump said his life at home was not always easy. “In our family, if you weren’t competitive you didn’t eat,” he said. “You had to fight for what you wanted.”
His mother recalled walking into the breakfast room one morning and noticing that the chandelier was broken: “Ivanka said it was Don Jr. So I put him over my knee and spanked him. He said, ‘Mom, it wasn’t me!’”
It turned out that Ivanka lied, the former Mrs. Trump said.
The divorce was made final in 1992, and Mr. Trump’s father married Ms. Maples the next year. Donald Jr. went to boarding school, the Hill School in Pottstown, Pa., where he practiced skeet shooting, and then it was on to Wharton, where he rowed crew and joined the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. People who knew him then saw him as distinct from his parents.
“He wasn’t into the gold,” said Jennifer Ireland Kubis, a New York real estate agent who dated one of Mr. Trump’s college friends. “He was trying to escape it.”
The young Mr. Trump also earned a reputation for hard partying, which seems to have continued until the Mardi Gras arrest. He no longer drinks, and he has suggested that the discipline of the sporting life kept him from going over the edge: “I know that the benefits I got from being in the woods, from being in a duck blind, from being in a tree stand at 5 o’clock in the morning, kept me out of so much other trouble I would have gotten into in my life,” he said in a speech at a fund-raising banquet for the 2016 Western Hunting and Conservation Expo in Salt Lake City.
During his first year in the family business, he spent weekends at the Mashomack Preserve Club in Pine Plains, N.Y., where he ran into Gentry Beach, an acquaintance from college who was working at a Manhattan investment firm.
“We loved being outdoors,” said Mr. Beach, who grew up in Dallas.
Mr. Beach, 41, introduced Mr. Trump to Thomas Hicks Jr., 39, a Dallas friend whose father, an equity investor, once owned the Texas Rangers. Through the years, the three have hunted white-tailed deer in Texas, birds in Scotland and pheasant in Hungary.
“For some people — you see that in New York a lot — they go hunting once every other year and they talk about it at a cocktail party for the next two years until they do it again,” Mr. Trump said in an interview. “For me, it is the way I choose to live my life.”
Being friends with Donny, as his closest friends call him, can be tricky, given the divisiveness of his father’s politics. Ms. Sides, for one, said she did not discuss politics with her friend. “Our views are different,” she said. “Don has never asked me, and he would not ask.”
It was his father who introduced Mr. Trump to Vanessa Haydon, the woman who would become his wife, at a fashion show in 2003. A onetime model with the Wilhelmina agency who once dated Leonardo DiCaprio, she had grown up on the Upper East Side. At the time of their engagement, Mr. Trump accepted a ring from the Bailey Banks & Biddle jewelry store in Short Hills, N.J., in exchange for publicity, recreating his proposal at its Short Hills Mall location in New Jersey. Soon afterward came an unflattering headline in The New York Post: “Trump Jr. Is the Cheapest Gazillionaire: Heirhead Proposes With Free 100G Ring.” Even his father joined in the criticism, saying on the CNN talk show “Larry King Live,” “You have a name that is hot as a pistol, you have to be very careful with things like this.”
Business and Politics
Although Mr. Trump has been charged with holding down the family business without input from his father — who resigned his position in the company without relinquishing his financial stake — he took advantage of his new standing within the Republican Party to dine last Saturday with a group of political heavyweights that included Senator Ted Cruz of Texas at the annual Reagan Day fund-raising dinner, where he delivered a speech.
He told the crowd that he had had virtually “zero contact” with the president since the election, but added that he had found it difficult to resist the pull of politics. “I thought I was out of politics after Election Day,” he said, adding that he had thought he would “get back to my regular life and my family.
“But I couldn’t,” he said.
Two weeks before the Dallas speech, Mr. Trump found himself in the role of real estate tycoon during a stop in Vancouver, British Columbia, for the opening of a Trump International Hotel and Tower. Although the building unveiled that day was, at 63 stories, the city’s second highest, the city’s mayor, Gregor Robertson, skipped the event after demanding for two years that the Trump name be stripped from the building’s facade.
The president’s son began his talk with a poke at the news media: “I’d like to thank the press,” he said. “Just kidding.” Outside, about 100 protesters waved signs and shouted “Love Trumps Hate.”
To a large degree, his public image has been shaped by photographs that surfaced online in 2012 and re-emerged last year. They were taken during a hunting trip in 2010 arranged by Hunting Legends International, a safari company based in Pretoria, South Africa. A licensed guide accompanied Donald Jr. and Eric, along with a ranger from the Zimbabwe national parks department, who monitored the hunt.
One photograph shows the Trump brothers taking a helicopter to the Matetsi, a region of Zimbabwe abundant with elephants and endangered leopards. Another shows Eric with his arms wrapped around the limp body of a dead leopard. Perhaps most disturbing to nonhunters and to those who do not hunt endangered or vulnerable species was the picture of Donald Jr., knife in one hand, the bloody tail of an elephant in the other.
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Animal rights advocates, including People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, cried foul after Hunting Legends posted the photos, and a sponsor dropped the show “The Celebrity Apprentice,” which Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric appeared on as advisers, along with their father. Donald Jr. took to Twitter to defend himself, writing to one detractor, “I’m not going to run and hide because the PETA crazies don’t like me.”
He argues that the economic benefit of such safaris to African communities is often overlooked. Further, he said, the controversy allowed him to connect with other sportsmen. “There were people who I didn’t know who were hunters,” he said. “And, from that perspective, I get invited a lot.”
What is lost on nonhunters, he said, is the sense of community that is part of hunting trips. “Too much of hunting has turned into the notion of the kill,” he said. “It’s a component, the meat. But so much is experiential, so much is relationships. It is sitting in a duck blind with seven people, cooking breakfast. For me, it’s been a great way to see the world. The least interesting part is the three seconds it takes to pull the trigger.”
Montana Republican Ryan Zinke won Senate confirmation Wednesday to lead the Trump administration’s Interior Department, garnering votes from several Democrats who threw support behind the one-term congressman.
The Senate voted 68-31 in Zinke’s favor — a solid margin for a Trump cabinet appointee after a handful of other nominees were approved by a razor’s-edge.
Zinke, a former Navy SEAL who describes himself as a “Teddy Roosevelt Republican,” will oversee the department responsible for the management of federal lands and natural resources. He has defended expanding oil, gas and coal production, and has also warned that landowners in Western states are voicing concern over encroaching federal control.
Zinke, 55, was also questioned at the hearing about a House vote this year that makes it easier to transfer federal lands to states.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., fired off a series of tweets Wednesday explaining why he vote against Zinke, arguing that “you can’t be a Roosevelt conservationist when you vote to make it easier to sell off public lands.”
Still unconfirmed is Ben Carson as Housing and Urban Development secretary. Carson’s Senate vote has been held up since his confirmation hearing in January
(Photo Courtesy of the Humane Society of the United States)
Trophy hunting is a despicable practice that even many hunters disagree with because of clearly unsportsmanlike practices like hunting animals in fenced enclosures, baiting, and using dogs to chase and exhaust wild animals. But the bottom line is that trophy hunting is simply killing for fun or bragging rights and no real hunter who follows any sense of ethics would participate in this blood sport.
Last year, The Humane Society of the United States used data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine that between 2005 and 2014, 1.26 million trophies were brought into the U.S. This is an average of 126,000 trophy imports per year or 345 per day.
The killing of Cecil the lion by American Walter Palmer demonstrated to the world how inhumane trophy hunting is. Cecil was in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe and wore a collar that transmitted data about his movements back to researchers. This didn’t stop Palmer and his guides from luring the lion outside of the protected preserve with meat and then stalking and killing him. People were outraged and rightfully so.
Even with Walter Palmer as one of its members, Safari Club International continues to facilitate selling trips around the world to kill the rarest animals for their heads and hides. Their recent convention in Las Vegas in February offered the following options to wealthy individuals:
· a Zambian leopard, sable, roan and plains game hunt for $81,000;
· a Canadian polar bear trophy hunt for $72,000;
· a New Zealand red stag and tahr hunt for four people for $92,000.
SCI maintains that it is a “conservation” group that contributes substantially to the economies of poor African nations. Nothing could be further from the truth. To coincide with the meeting in Las Vegas, Humane Society International (HSI) released a study conducted by Economists at Large that finds that trophy hunters have overstated their contributions to African economies and employment.
In Botswana, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, trophy hunting brings in just 0.78 percent or less of overall tourism spending and has a marginal impact on employment, accounting for 0.76 percent or less of tourism jobs.
The fact is the segment of the tourism industry in Africa that does not rely on hunting is growing faster and employs 132 times more people than the trophy hunting industry. The tourism ministries of these eight countries must recognize the damage trophy hunting causes to their brand. We should call on these ministries to lead the charge in banning trophy hunting, something Botswana and Kenya – both prosperous tourism destinations – have already done.
Trophy hunting is still big business for SCI. In 2015, revenue from the convention was $14.3 million out of a total revenue of $22.7 million. The money is used to open up trophy-hunting seasons on wolves, fight any efforts to restrict the hunting of African elephants and lions, and lobby Congress to enable hunters to import endangered polar bear trophies into the U.S. or increase hunter access to public lands.
Trophy hunters are losing ground. In 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service restricted imports of elephant trophies from Tanzania and Zimbabwe, as well as conferring threatened and endangered status for African lions. Cecil’s shooting prompted numerous major airlines, including Delta, Virgin Atlantic, and United, to ban the transport of some or all trophies from Africa.
It is up to us to put pressure on Congress to continue to pass laws that limit trophy hunting. This will not be easy as President Trump’s sons are avid trophy hunters. We also need to encourage African nations to turn to viable alternatives to trophy hunting, like ecotourism, which promises sustained growth, much higher economic value, and greater contribution to employment.
Cecil the lion cast a light on this inhumane practice. In his memory, let’s save other big game from wealthy people who are neither hunters nor conservationists – they are cold blooded killers.