We all know his name … it appeared on countless news channels … he was even projected on the Empire State Building. Cecil the lion’s tragic death brought trophy hunting to the forefront of global conversation like no other case did. People from all walks of life spoke out, changed their Facebook profile pictures, and donated money to the cause, but as media hype died down, the vast majority forgot all about it after a few short weeks. Unfortunately, trophy hunting is still happening and innocent animals are still suffering – in the same place Cecil called home.
A petition on Care2 has been launched demanding that the Zimbabwean government intervene and stop allowing heartless trophy hunters to kill endangered animals around Hwange National Park. This is where Walter Palmer paid $50,000 to brutally end Cecil’s life without even actually “hunting.” Many other disturbing facts behind the infamous case are being brought to light in a new book by the man who studied Cecil for eight years before the tragedy, including how Cecil was lured to the nearby conservatory where lion research was performed and how the Zimbabwe government slid it all under the rug.
The bottom line is that as long as trophy hunting is allowed, animals will be murdered for profit. If Cecil’s story touched you, signing the petition is a simple step you can take in his honor. There is no reason this had to happen to Cecil, and no other animal should be put in the position of being murdered and tortured for the pleasure of cruel and evil trophy hunters. Zimbabwe’s government needs to be held accountable for not taking the crime seriously, and it’s time they call an end to all trophy hunting in and around Hwange National Park once and for all!
In a new low, the Trump administration has created an advisory council dedicated exclusively to promoting the killing of imperiled wildlife species for sport.
Filled with trophy hunters and gun industry lobbyists, the International Wildlife Conservation Council now wields considerable influence over America’s international hunting policies, putting the future of vulnerable species like elephants, lions, and giraffes at grave risk.
Tell Interior President Trump and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to stop promoting international trophy hunting and immediately dismantle the IWCC.
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Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke
President Donald Trump
Dismantle the International Wildlife Conservation Council
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President Donald Trump’s eldest son Donald Trump Jr. deserves to be deported for hunting and killing an elephant and other wildlife, animal rights activists demand.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) announced Friday it plans to put up a billboard in towns bordering Mexico features an infamous image of Trump Jr. holding a knife and the tail of an elephant he apparently shot abroad.
“Deport callous cheating opportunists now! All nations have their undesirables. Kindness welcome,” the billboard slated for El Paso and Laredo, Texas, states
Bec and Sharna don’t look like the kind of people you’d call “psychotic murderers”, “disgusting whores” or “killers with a sick fetish”.[… but they are.]
They’re normal, friendly women. They’ve got normal jobs. They live in normal, regional towns.
Bec and Sharna
But when killing wild animals on the weekend is what you call fun, they’re the kind of names they’ve come to expect.
Between them, Bec and Sharna have killed enough animals to pretty much fill a zoo. Deer, a zebra, a giraffe, a mountain lion, a pigeon, foxes, kangaroos, impalas, baboons, a feral cat, a cow and a wild dog have all found themselves in the crosshairs of Sharna’s rifle or the target of Bec’s bow.
Some end up on their dinner table, some in their dog’s bowls, and some end up hanging in their living rooms.
“Each of those have their own story and for us, we don’t want to see any of it go to waste either. That’s probably the best use of those skins.”
The Hunting “lifestyle”
Hunting has been part of her life for so long, Bec can’t even remember the first time she fired a gun. A sixth-generation hunter; it’s in her blood.
“It was the same as other kids going and playing footy. We went hunting. It was just something that was done.
“I learnt really quickly that when I went to school that not all families were like my family. We ate a lot of homekill meat; I grew up on a sheep farm so Dad always slaughtered our own lambs.
“Sometimes that meant that we even ate our pets,” Bec says, remembering her pet lamb Blinky who eventually ended up on her plate.
“I remember friends coming over after school and they were like, ‘What the hell is going on here?’ and then I started to realise that that wasn’t how other families did it.”
Bec and Sharna are both licensed hunters and only hunt animals permitted by local authorities. They both insist hunting, for them, is more than a hobby.
Why hunters find joy in the kill
Sarah McVeigh spent five days with Bec and Sharna in the Victorian High Country to understand how they tick and why they get satisfaction from killing animals.
“Hunting is a challenge. And sitting around the campfire is fun,” Sharna says. “Pushing myself when it’s freezing cold up that mountain, that’s the fun part. Taking the actual shot is something where, you’re in the moment, there’s that adrenaline rush.
“I think they say it’s the same chemical release as kissing and that sort of thing. You’re getting that big rush of endorphins.”
Critics of Bec and Sharna – mostly on their public posts on Facebook – don’t buy their argument. They call Bec and Sharna serial killers; they call them sick; they say Bec and Sharna should turn their weapons on themselves.
“Put a rifle up your c***,” someone wrote, “and pull the trigger”.
Bec and Sharna understand why people are quick to judge hunters. But they say criticism tends to be clouded by false assumptions, and – unless their critics are vegans – embedded in hypocrisy.
“They think we go out there to torture animals where we don’t,” Sharna says. “They don’t understand what we do. That’s definitely an aspect of why people dislike us so much.”
But Bec and Sharna’s reasoning for hunting boils down to a few things: they enjoy hunting for fitness, they eat the animals they’ve killed, and they only kill animals that are a sustainable resource.
“I’d much rather know where my meat is coming from,” Sharna says. “I don’t want to just walk into the supermarket, pick it up off the shelf and not know where it’s come from.
“There’s a genuine respect for the animal. There’s no regret [when we kill]. But there’s… it’s very hard to describe. It’s not remorse, it’s not regret.
Are all animals equal?
Bec and Sharna often go back to this existential point: when it comes to hunting in the animal kingdom, there is no hierarchy. Apart from endangered or rare species, no life is worth more than another. Squishing a spider is the same as shooting a baboon in South Africa – where they are a sustainable resource, Bec says.
Bec shot a giraffe in South Africa, and the animal was butchered that day for the locals to eat.
Bec in South Africa
“The amount of food that this guy provided for the local community is possibly still being enjoyed,” Bec says.
“I’m not a serial killer”
Bec says none of the criticism she’s received online has made her “second-guess” her hobby and lifestyle choice.
But for Sharna, one comment caught her off guard.
A commenter once took issue with Sharna’s taxidermy animals. “That’s what a serial killer does, a serial killer collects tokens,” the commenter told Sharna.
“For me I was like, ‘I want to know what separates me from a serial killer’ and that’s a pretty big thing to think about within yourself. That comment made me sit down and think about that.”
So what does separate Sharna and Bec from, say, Ivan Milat? Is it just the victims they choose?
“There’s plenty of things,” Sharna says.
“I’m a nurse and I have compassion for people. Obviously serial killers don’t think about their actions – they’re sociopaths. So there’s quite a bit that separates me from a serial killer.
Sarah McVeigh with Bec and Sharna
Both Bec and Sharna are careful about calling killing “fun”. They insist the act of hunting – the whole experience – is fun, but pulling the trigger is not.
“If I were to say that to pull the trigger is fun, the way people view me might change,” Sharna admits.
“You take the shot, pull the trigger, and if that animal falls over straight away, hasn’t really known what’s going on, that’s a success. So you do get excited about it, and it is a fun activity.”
Sharna and Bec know it’s hard for people to understand how killing could be fun.
“Instead of just sitting behind a keyboard and telling me that what I’m doing is wrong, come and see it.”
OpinionFILE – In this Friday, March 2, 2018 file photo, keeper Zachariah Mutai attends to Fatu, one of only two female northern white rhinos left in the world, in the pen where she is kept for observation, at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Laikipia county in Kenya. According to four new United Nations scientific reports on biodiversity released on Friday, March 23, 2018, Earth is losing plants, animals and clean water at a dramatic rate. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
As a result of the Trump Administration recently announcing a decision to let trophy hunting imports into the United States on a case by case basis, many animal conservation organizations are suing to prevent this, arguing that the decision violates the Endangered Species Act. These conservation groups include the Humane Society International and the Center for Biological Diversity. By bringing these lawsuits against the decision, these groups are bringing more attention to the barbaric and cruel pastime known as trophy hunting. Thousands of animals are killed globally every year simply for sport or for “trophies,” such as ivory tusks from elephants. This practice is not only cruel and brutish but also cowardly and pathetic. America has been faced with popular news stories regarding trophy hunting over the past few years, one notable example being the killing of Cecil the lion in 2015, and another being the pictures of Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. with trophy-hunted carcasses.
These stories have rightly caused outrage over the terrible practice.
Trophy hunting is often part of a business, often peddled by the Safari Club International (SCI). This organization encourages wealthy hunters to kill animals for rewards and import them back to America. Animals often targeted include lions, elephants and rhinos . This is a despicable practice that has no place in a civilized society. Killing animals is not a sport, and it does not make you a more interesting person, merely a smaller one. If you feel the need to spend a vacation targeting and shooting beautiful animals just to bring back a trophy that serves as a reminder of the kill, then it demonstrates that you are a person of abhorrent character. Much of the time, it is not even a challenge to bring these animals down; professional guides may bait animals with food so that hunters can more easily find and kill them, or traps may be used to trap the animal until the hunter can shoot them. It is truly despicable to see how far one will go in order to feel the false thrill of being a “hunter,” as Donald Trump Jr. calls himself. With the recent news of the death of the last male northern white rhino, animal conservation is back in the news cycle. Many argue that, ironically, trophy hunting can aid animal conservation efforts because wealthy people pay great sums in order to have the chance to hunt exotic animals, and these funds can be applied to conservation programs. However, this is assuming that the funds will actually be used for this purpose; in many regions where trophy hunting is rampant, so is corruption ( https://www.vox.com/2018/3/7/17091000/ban-lifted-elephant-trophy-hunting). For instance, Cecil the lion was killed in Zimbabwe, where there is much political unrest, making conservation efforts not a priority. We cannot trust that trophy hunting will help conservation efforts, especially if more animals are being hunted anyway. Instead, countries should focus on raising money for conservation efforts from other tourist activities such as safaris where the animals are appreciated for their beauty, not killed in order to satisfy someone’s fragile ego.
It is a bit concerning that Trump has allowed some trophy animals to potentially be imported into the United States on a case-by-case basis. He has expressed disgust with the practice himself, calling trophy hunting a “horror show”; however, it is likely that he wants the case by case clause in order to satisfy his sons, who participate in trophy hunting. This is especially frustrating because this is not a complete condemnation of trophy hunting, which is what we need from the President of the United States. Trophy hunting is a vile activity, and Americans should not be encouraged to engage in it. The first step in finally changing the attitude towards it completely is banning the importation of carcasses into the United States; Trump should make a moral stand for once and make all cases illegal.
Connecticut’s black bears are safe thanks to Friends of Animals and our supporters. On Wednesday, a bear trophy hunt bill was shot down by the Environment Committee of the General Assembly 21 to 8.
“FoA is relieved that common sense and truth prevailed among those legislators on the Environment Committee…” said FoA President Priscilla Feral. Thank you to everyone who helped keep CT’s bears safe!
March 7, 2018
Find and contact your Connecticut state senators and representatives at (860) 240- 0100 or use this ONLINE DIRECTORY to make direct contact and tell them to OPPOSE the CT Bear Trophy Hunt Bill.
Contact the state Environment Committee’s Co-Chair Craig Miner at 860 240-8860 and co-chairs Senator Ted Kennedy and Rep. Mike Demicco and tell them Connecticut won’t tolerate a blood-soaked, shoot-first approach to bear management, especially at a time when gun violence in this country is an epidemic.
This bill would allow black bear hunting in Connecticut for the first time since the 1800s. But what legislators who support the bill, including a committee co-chair with ties to the gun lobby, don’t want you to know is that you should fear hunters, not black bears.
Hunters in CT killed 10 people and injured 114 in hunting accidents between 1982-2016
Number of people killed by bears? Zero.
Supporters of the bill are also trying to manipulate the public and stir up fear in the state. But here’s the real bear facts:
Black bears are not overpopulated. Every sighting of a bear doesn’t mean it’s a different bear. There’s just a paltry 200 bears in the Northwest corner, according to a UCONN study and the state has a capacity for about 2,000 bears, according to DEEP’s own reports.
Scientific studies show there is actually a weak correlation between the population of bears and bear attacks. Bear-human conflict is more closely correlated with human behavior. Black bears are shy, according to state bear biologists and are habituated into problematic behavior by humans. What DEEP (Department of Energy & ENvironmental Protection) should be telling you is that in March you should bring in your bird feeders, use bear-resistant cans, avoid feeding the bears, clean your outdoor grills, carry bear spray and use bear bells when hiking.
No matter how much supporters of the bill and the dwindling hunting markets fear, shooting bears will not teach the ones who aren’t slaughtered not to be opportunistic feeders.
DEEP already has a bear management program and last year it only reported 5 nuisance bears.
Don’t let Connecticut’s bears get caught in the cross-fire of NRA interests who are exaggerating numbers to manipulate the public with fear so hunters, who represent just 1 percent of the state’s population, can slaughter bears to use as rugs and mount them.
(CNN)Several animal conservation groups are challenging in court the Trump administration’s recent decision to consider big game trophy import applications on a case-by-case basis.
The groups — which include the Center for Biological Diversity, Humane Society International and Humane Society of the United States — said Tuesday that they are asking a federal court in Washington, DC, to rule that the US Fish and Wildlife Service did not follow the proper process to make its March 1 decision, which withdrew a series of Endangered Species Act findings that apply to some African elephants, lions and bontebok, a type of antelope.
The groups also say the decision violates the Endangered Species Act.
Justice Department spokesman Wyn Hornbuckle told CNN that the department is reviewing the amendment complaint.
Tuesday’s filing amends a lawsuit the conservation groups filed in November, when the FWS, under Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke, announced it would accept applications on elephant trophy imports from Zimbabwe and Zambia.
In November, President Donald Trump then ordered that decision be blocked and called trophy hunting a “horror show.”
In December, a federal appeals court ruled in a separate trophy hunting case brought by proponents of the practice, including Safari Club International, ordering FWS and the Department of Interior to reconsider past decisions on trophy imports.
And a few days after the March 1 decision, Zinke told Congress no applications have been approved under the case-by-case guidelines.
Leading nonprofit animal rights organization files complaint against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over neglected Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request regarding the recently formed International Wildlife Conservation Council (IWCC)
Washington, D.C. — Born Free USA, a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation leading the charge against the outdated and brutal sport of trophy hunting, today filed a complaint against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The suit, filed over a neglected Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request about the newly formed International Wildlife Conservation Council (IWCC), also argues that the council was formed under the guise of conservation with no balanced perspectives on the negative impact of international trophy hunting.
The IWCC, which was announced on November 8, 2017, was created, to “… advise the Secretary of the Interior on the benefits that international recreational hunting has on foreign wildlife and habitat conservation, anti-poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking programs, and other ways in which international hunting benefits human populations in these areas.” Born Free submitted a FOIA request seeking information related to the duties of the IWCC, the circumstances under which it was established, and under what criteria its members were to be selected. To date, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has not provided a single piece of information, ignoring a deadline imposed by the law and its own self-extended deadline.
“In creating the IWCC to advise on the ‘benefits’ of Americans going abroad to hunt, the Department of the Interior is operating under the premise that trophy hunting has significant benefits for wildlife conservation,” said Prashant Khetan, CEO and general counsel for Born Free USA. “In truth, trophy hunting does virtually nothing to aid conservation efforts. It appears this administration is set on pushing a pro-hunting agenda, apparent not just in the aims of the IWCC, but also evident in its membership. The vast majority, if not all, of the IWCC members represent pro-hunting organizations.”
The IWCC will hold its first public meeting this Friday, March 16, just days after the administration lifted trophy hunting bans put into place during President Obama’s tenure.
The FOIA submitted by Born Free was an active step towards finding out more about the IWCC’s formation and purpose. According to the complaint, “… the members of the IWCC have now been made public, which includes officers of Safari Club International and National Rifle Association. Given these entities’ close relationship with Secretary Zinke, including support during campaigns, it is perhaps not surprising that FWS [U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service] has been pushing a pro-hunting agenda, including the creation of the IWCC. It also is not surprising that FWS has chosen not to be transparent about the IWCC prior to its first public meeting.”
“We will have a representative in attendance who, with several other groups, intends to read a statement to the IWCC challenging its purpose,” Khetan said. “In addition, we reached out to our base for their comments/questions about the IWCC and, in a span of days, received over 600 responses, which we collated and submitted on their behalf – the central theme being that hunting does not constitute compassionate conservation. We believe, and have the facts to support the idea, that killing is not conservation. The species that will be most affected, including lions, elephants and white rhinos, are already in such decline that hunting them under the guise of conservation is no longer a valid excuse.”
About Born Free USA
Born Free USA, a national 501(c)(3), believes that every individual animal matters. Inspired by the Academy Award®-winning film Born Free, the organization works locally, nationally, and internationally on the conservation frontlines, in communities, classrooms, courtrooms, and the halls of Congress, to end wild animal cruelty and suffering, and protect threatened wildlife.
Launched in 2002, Born Free USA was inspired by Virginia McKenna and her (late) husband Bill Travers, who, along with their son, Will, founded The Born Free Foundation (UK) in 1984. Their experience in Kenya filming the classic 1966 Academy Award®-winning film Born Free, the story of Joy and George Adamson’s fight to successfully return Elsa the lioness to a wild and free life, launched the couple’s “compassionate conservation” movement, aimed at keeping wildlife in the wild. This movement continues to motivate millions of followers and activists across the globe. In 2007, Born Free USA merged with the Animal Protection Institute.
US to allow some imports of elephant trophies01:48
(CNN)Members of a new Trump administration pro-hunting council met Friday for the first time, drawing objections from other conservation groups that say hunting is not the answer to saving big game species.
Hunters and supporters of trophy hunting hold nearly every seat on the International Wildlife Conservation Council, which Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke created to advise him on “the conservation, wildlife law enforcement, and economic benefits that result from US citizens traveling to foreign nations to engage in hunting.”
Several members spoke in favor on Friday of trophy hunting in certain regions of Africa and Central Asia, saying it provides important funding for conversation efforts.
“Hunting is the crux of all of this. Without hunting, there is no other industry there,” said member Cameron Hanes, a member of the council who’s a bow hunter. “The messaging is what’s poor. To me, hunters haven’t done a very good job of it.”
Conservationists who oppose trophy hunting say the panel is one-sided.
“Noticeably missing from this council are qualified representatives of the broader conservation community with scientific credentials and direct experience with the management of successful conservation programs,” said Masha Kalinina of Humane Society International.
She spoke during a portion of the meeting reserved for public comment; her group is not represented on the council.
Peter LaFontaine, of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, said he had nominated a member for the council who was not accepted. The group is a “really strange way to focus on conservation,” he said.
The council includes the president of Safari Club International, a pro-hunting group that gives awards for trophy animal kills; an official from the National Rifle Association; several self-described hunters; and two hunting-oriented television personalities.
Members selected as their chairman Bill Brewster, a former Democratic congressman from Oklahoma. A 2014 profile of Brewster in the NRA publication American Hunter notes he has hunted in all 50 states.
“There is a conspicuous conflict of interest concern hanging over this council,” Kalinina said. The businesses of many members, she said, would benefit from relaxed regulations on hunting, such as imports of trophies like African elephants and lions.
This Friday, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke is holding the first meeting of his newly-established International Wildlife Conservation Council. This “wildlife council” is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to promote the international sport trophy hunting industry under the guise of wildlife conservation. In fact, Secretary Zinke’s firing squad of council members holds deep ties with the National Rifle Association and other weapons and trophy hunting organizations.
There is not a single responsibility of this council that is truly focused on wildlife conservation. Instead, it’s all about making it easier to hunt and import trophies. But Secretary Zinke would like to have you believe that this group is dedicated to protecting international wildlife.
These photos are of actual council members that make up Secretary Zinke’s inner circle of advisors who would like to convince the American public that this…
…is the best way to further international wildlife conservation and law enforcement.
This killer council isn’t fooling anyone. Secretary Zinke is only interested in bringing together a cohort of hunting buddies to legitimize the killing of rare wildlife for the sake of entertainment – and to make it easier to collect these “trophies.”