Big-game documentary Trophy hunts for answers but comes back empty-handed

Photo: The Orchard

Which sounds more painful to watch, for those sensitive to animal suffering: a deer being shot for sport, or a rhinoceros being forcibly held down and having its horn sawed off? Trophy, a documentary about the uneasy, seemingly oxymoronic junction of big-game hunting and conservation efforts, kicks off by showing both of these events, and speedily reveals that neither situation is as clear-cut as it might initially seem. The group of folks who mutilate the rhino do so in an effort to save its life—the amputation is painless (no different, really, than clipping one’s fingernail; both are made of keratin), and the animal, until its horn grows back, is theoretically of no value to the poachers who would otherwise kill it. Such measures are financed, in large part, by hunters like Philip Glass (not the minimalist composer), who pay enormous sums in order to travel to Africa and bag “the big five”: elephant, lion, leopard, cape buffalo, and rhino. Is it acceptable to let rich people kill a few animals for “fun” if their cash might potentially save many others?

Trophy ostensibly maintains a neutral point of view, allowing people on both sides of various issues to make their best case. Some of their arguments will fall on deaf ears. John Hume, the man leading the team that de-horns rhinos, argues strenuously throughout the film that bans on the sale of ivory should be lifted, because they ultimately hurt rhinos more than they help them; he spends a lot of time being yelled at by angry protestors. Glass, meanwhile, justifies his love of hunting by quoting scripture (specifically a passage in Genesis about God giving human beings dominion over the animals) and brags that no bureaucrat can take his pleasure in a kill away from him. (He also insists that only a fool would believe in evolution, just to burn one last bridge with a certain cross-section of viewers.) Various other interview subjects come and go, without any individual ever really attaining a position of authority. This approach is at once admirable and frustrating, acknowledging complexity to a degree that amounts to a big shrug.

Indeed, Trophy’s tendency to wander is its greatest liability. There’s some digressive outrage directed at what are called “canned hunts,” in which the animal to be shot has essentially been pre-captured and remains confined in a small area, with no real chance of escape. There are legitimate reasons to decry this practice (though the notion that it’s “not sporting” seems a tad silly—the human having a rifle that can kill at a great distance isn’t exactly sporting either), but the issue is tangential at best to Trophy’s larger concerns, and feels like a cul-de-sac from which the film emerges with great clumsiness. It’s also slightly unfortunate—though admittedly no fault of director Shaul Schwarz (assisted by Christina Clusiau)—that Trophy covers a lot of the same ground as did recent Netflix documentary The Ivory Game. This film is more rhinocentric, with elephants and their tusks addressed fleetingly by comparison, but the battle against poachers and the free market is similar enough to make one doc fairly redundant if you’ve seen the other. What’s abundantly clear is that every other species on Earth is at our mercy, and that there are no easy answers when it comes to determining the most compassionate form of our so-called dominion.

https://www.avclub.com/big-game-documentary-trophy-hunts-for-answers-but-comes-1800010236

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Florida shooting suspect had a history of…killing animals  

by  William Wan, Kevin Sullivan and Julie Tate, The Washington Post

Published 9:16 pm, Thursday, February 15, 2018

PARKLAND, Fla. — The killing began with the squirrels. As a fourth-grader,
Nikolas Cruz would try to bloody them with his pellet gun. Then he started
going after chickens.

By the time Cruz was a teenager, he was sneaking into his neighbors’ yard
across the street and trying to get his dogs to kill their baby potbelly
pigs.

One resident watched him take long sticks to rabbit holes, ramming them down
as hard as possible to kill any creatures trapped inside.
Instagram posts and photographs, including one showing a gun’s laser sight
pointed at a neighborhood street. Another appeared to show a dead frog’s
bloodied body.


But no one – not those who feared him nor those who sympathized – glimpsed
the full malevolence brewing inside Cruz’s heart until Valentine’s Day, when
police say he walked into a suburban south Florida high school and carried
out one of the nation’s deadliest school shootings.

More: https://www.newstimes.com/news/article/Florida-shooting-suspect-Nikolas-Cru
z-Guns-12615785.php> Florida shooting suspect had a history of explosive
anger, depression, killing animals

http://www.newstimes.com

 

Poachers beware: Informant campaign had banner year

http://www.dailyastorian.com/Local_News/20180216/poachers-beware-informant-campaign-had-banner-year?utm_source=Coast+Region&utm_campaign=adb43322aa-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_01_26&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e5e9c44ad5-adb43322aa-234572957

By Jack HeffernanThe Daily Astorian

Published on February 16, 2018 8:24AM

Last changed on February 16, 2018 10:05AM

Authorities are cracking down on poaching in Oregon.

OREGON STATE POLICE

Authorities are cracking down on poaching in Oregon.

A program to reward people who report poaching had a successful year in 2017.

OREGON STATE POLICE

A program to reward people who report poaching had a successful year in 2017.

The program known as Turn in Poachers saw an uptick in rewards last year.

OREGON STATE POLICE

The program known as Turn in Poachers saw an uptick in rewards last year.

Authorities credit advertising on social media and local publications with getting the word out about the incentive program to report poaching.

OREGON STATE POLICE

Authorities credit advertising on social media and local publications with getting the word out about the incentive program to report poaching.

A statewide campaign that encourages people to inform on poachers just had the most robust year in its 32-year history.

The Turn in Poachers fund — a collaboration between the Oregon Hunters Association, Oregon State Police and state Department of Fish and Wildlife — rewarded $24,200 in 50 cases last year. That’s more than double the average amount, according to the hunter’s association. The number of cases typically ranges from 20 to 35 in a given year.

Clatsop County had one reward case in 2017. An informant received $500 for information about an elk shot in an area where hunting is not allowed. Poaching issues in the county mainly center on Roosevelt Elk and blacktail deer, since those animals are the most popular big game for hunters, said Sgt. Joe Warwick of the state police’s fish and wildlife division.

The Albany area had the highest number of rewards at 11.

Pinpointing why hunters report more or fewer poaching cases can be difficult. Not all poaching convictions are a result of tips, and not all informants accept rewards.

“We don’t know much about the informants,” Dungannon said. “They give the tip, we write the check and we send it to them.”

Dungannon suggests recent raises in reward money may be a factor in last year’s spike. Standard amounts range from $100 for game fish, shellfish, upland birds, waterfowl and fur-bearers to $1,000 for bighorn sheep, mountain goats and moose.

Dungannon also pointed to the state police’s efforts to advertise the program on social media and in local publications.

“There are things that officers can do to take the game to the next level and get the word out to the community,” Dungannon said.

Nearly all of the fund’s financial support comes from courts ordering those convicted of violations to pay restitution. The hunter’s association and other conservation groups also pitch in when unusually large award amounts are requested.

A bill pending in the state Legislature may help on that front. While judges already impose fines for misdemeanor offenses, the bill would lay out a precedent to impose such fines in addition to any jail or prison sentence. It also would give the state the ability to deny licenses, tags and permits if fines are not repaid.

“This removes any doubt from the court that they’re able to assess the restitution to the state and to the TIP fund,” Dungannon said.

To continue its growth, police and others who run the fund can think of ways to incentivize hunters to turn in suspected poachers.

“It’s a big deal to take home an elk,” Warwick said. “We need to tell them, ‘That bull elk that guy poached, that’s a bull you could have caught legally.’”

Olympic Figure Skater Spends Free Time Saving Korean Dogs

https://www.thedodo.com/close-to-home/figure-skater-meagan-duhamel-rescues-dogs

She just won gold in the Winter Olympics — but she’s doing something even more special with her downtime ❤️️

PUBLISHED ON 02/14/2018
Figure skater Meagan Duhamel with dog Moo-tae
https://www.instagram.com/p/BbwtrWyF_59/embed/captioned/?cr=1&v=8&wp=631#%7B%22ci%22%3A0%2C%22os%22%3A2906.5000000000005%7D
Meagan Duhamel with adopted Korean dog
Rescued dachshund Moo-tae
Meagan Duhamel with rescued dogs Moo-tae and Dae-gong
The dog meat farm in Yesan, South Korea
Jindo dogs at dog meat farm in South Korea
Dogs from the meat trade
Moo-tae and dog brother Theo

Kangaroo strikes back against hunter with headbutt that breaks his jaw

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/australasia/kangaroo-headbutt-hunter-breaks-jaw-perth-western-australia-a8214106.html?amp

Marsupial reacts after teenager prepares to shoot animal dead

Joshua Hayden, 19, was out with his brother when the animal attacked Handout

A hunter who had a kangaroo in his gun’s crosshairs had his jaw broken when the animal launched a pre-emptive strike.

Joshua Hayden, 19, was out with his brother looking for wild animals to shoot in Western Australia when the attack happened, according to Australia’s ABC News.

The pair initially spotted three kangaroos, but one disappeared and the teenager put his head out of the window of the moving car to target the other two.

The animal that had vanished then reappeared, charged at the car and attacked, reports said.

“It actually collided with the side of the car and smashed the front window,” Mr Hayden told ABC. “Then it bounced back onto me and headbutted me straight in the jaw.”

He said he believed he was unconscious for about 30 seconds after being hit.

“I woke up and my brother was trying to tell me what happened,” he said. He assumed his brother had hit him.

After going to local hospitals at Northam and Kellerberrin – 125 miles east of Perth – he was referred to the Royal Perth Hospital.

Doctors there said he would have to wait 10 days to allow the swelling to go down before surgery. A photograph showed him with a black eye swollen shut.

The brothers said they often go hunting for kangaroos but have never before witnessed the animals fighting back.

Experts say kangaroos are normally peaceful animals that rarely attack. This might happen if they feel threatened, behaviourists say.

A year ago a woman former body-builder was attacked by a kangaroo that “threw her around like a rag doll”. She needed surgery for her injuries.

British animal-rights group Viva! has branded the hunting of kangaroo for meat in Australia “the largest massacre of land-based wild animals on the planet today“.

Borneo has lost half its orangutans due to hunting and habitat loss

‘Their forests homes have been lost and degraded, and hunting threatens the existence of this magnificent great ape’

Borneo has lost more than 100,000 orangutans in the space of just 16 years as a result of hunting and habitat loss, according to a new report.

Logging, mining, oil palm, paper, and linked deforestation have been blamed for the the diminishing numbers.

However, researchers also found many orangutans have vanished from more intact, forested regions, suggesting that hunting and other direct conflict between orangutans and humans continues to be a chief threat to the species.

The report published in the Current Biology Journal found more than 100,000 of the island’s orangutans vanished in the period of 1999 to 2015.

“Orangutans are disappearing at an alarming rate,” said Emma Keller, agricultural commodities manager at the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).

“Their forests homes have been lost and degraded, and hunting threatens the existence of this magnificent great ape.

“Immediate action is needed to reform industries that have pushed orangutans to the brink of extinction. UK consumers can make a difference through only supporting brands and retailers that buy sustainable palm oil.”

Around half of the orangutans living on the island of Borneo, the largest island in Asia, were lost as a result of changes in land cover.

Researchers said the Bornean orangutan’s survival is dependent on forging successful alliances with logging companies and other industries and raising public awareness of the issue.

Looking at predicted future losses of forest cover and the presumption orangutans are ultimately not able to stay alive outside forest areas, the researchers predict that over 45,000 more orangutans will be lost in the space of the next 35 years.

The report comes after an orangutan was shot at least 130 times with an air gun before it died earlier in the month, according to police in Borneo.

Hunter attacked by grizzly bear near Ennis

BILLINGS- A man is recovering in the hospital after he was attacked by a grizzly bear while hunting with a friend near the Dry Gulch, Cascade Creek area south of Ennis.

The two hunters were bugling for elk on Monday morning when they came upon a grizzly bear eating a carcass, said Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Chief Information Officer Greg Lemon.

The two men yelled at the bear, and it began to charge, according to a post from the victim’s friend.

The two men attempted to spray the animal with bear spray, but only one man’s spray deployed.

Story continues below

The grizzly bear then attacked Tom Sommer, scratching at the man’s head and shoulders as he tried to shoot the bear.

The bear bit through Sommer’s thigh and then put the victim’s head in its mouth, according to Sommer’s friend.

Sommer was then able to spray the animal with bear spray from about two feet away and escaped.

Sommer was taken to the hospital, where his friend said he received 90 stitches in his head.

It’s unclear where Sommer is from.

Facebook

Lemon said the area where the two men encountered the bear is a very remote section near the headwaters of the west fork of the Madison River.

In the past few years, Lemon said there’s only been a handful of bear encounters in that area.

Lemon said FWP would not attempt to capture the bear because it’s believed the bear attacked in self-defense.

Sommer’s friend posted the photos to Facebook said Sommer was being released from the hospital on Tuesday, though the Madison Valley Medical Center would not confirm that information.

-Aja Goare reporting for MTN News

Tigers’ Travis Wood almost lost his finger in a hunting accident

https://www.blessyouboys.com/2018/2/14/17011876/detroit-tigers-travis-wood-hunting-accident-spring-training-finger-splint

Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

When Travis Wood arrived at spring training camp Tuesday with a splint on his finger, it caused a few eyebrows to rise. The lefty pitcher was signed to a minor league deal by the Tigers in late January and is a non-roster invitee to the spring camp. A pitcher showing up with his hand in a splint is usually a pretty bad sign.

Turns out the story Wood had to go along with the splint is even more incredible. About a month prior to spring training, Wood was preparing to go bow hunting, when a mishap with the crossbow he was using nearly caused the index finger on his non-pitching hand to be cut off.

Wood, who knew spring training was fast approaching and was hoping to fight for a spot on the Tigers Opening Day roster, had the most insane and badass response to the injury.

Tigers non-roster invite Travis Wood has a pin in right index finger after a bow hunting accident. He said he asked doctor if chopping finger would get him back to pitching sooner. Fortunately, he’s left-handed. He’s throwing in camp but not catching yet.

Yes. He actually asked his doctor if amputation would be a faster route back to pitching. Sure, that’s crazy, but talk about being devoted to the sport.

Since the injury is to his right hand, and Wood is a lefty, he will still be participating in spring training workouts and will, presumably, continue to pitch through spring. His dedication may pay off with a place on the 40-man roster if he has a good camp.

New Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire had a sense of humor about the injury.

“He’s got a split-finger now,” Ron Gardenhire said of Travis Wood.

Inside the grim scene of a Korean dog meat farm, just miles from the Winter Olympics


MARTIN ROGERS  |  USA TODAY SPORTS

WONJU, South Korea – A short drive from the burning Olympic torch and the excited throng of Winter Games spectators, there was no cheering outside the place where hundreds of dogs are packed in cages until they are killed for their meat.

In the rural region of Wonju, down a winding country lane, sits a farm that provides dog meat to some of the thousands of South Korean restaurants where patrons order things such as dog salad, dog ribs, dog stew and dog hot pot.

The grim surroundings of the farm pains the senses. The first thing to be noticed is the sound, pitiful whines and yelps of about 300 animals being kept in filthy cages until their execution.

Step closer and the stench fills the nostrils, a sickening waft that spreads over two long rows of cramped cages.

Some of the dogs do not survive long enough to be slaughtered. Lying discarded on the mud floor by the plastic awning, the carcass of a dead Tosa – a rare breed that originated in Japan. Also in the cages were Jindos, St. Bernards and golden Labradors.

Most were emaciated. Many had gaps in their fur where huge sores grew on their bodies. The cages are elevated, set up so dog feces drops through gaps in the wire bottom, collecting in huge piles beneath.

More: Olympics shine spotlight on dog meat trade in South Korea

USA TODAY video journalist Sandy Hooper and myself filmed the gruesome scene for 15 minutes on Saturday morning, using GoPros and iPhones. When we approached the front of the property in an attempt to speak to the owners, a man screamed in Korean: “Turn it off, otherwise I’m going to throw it down!”

The Winter Olympics is supposed to be one giant commercial for South Korea and its winter tourism industry, but no public relations effort can cast a favorable light on the Korean dog meat industry. Pyeongchang organizing officials were aware enough of the likely international reaction to Korean dog meat eating practices that they paid nearby restaurants to take down signs advertising the product’s availability and pleaded with them to take it off the menu – at least during the Olympics.

It didn’t work. Two miles from Jinbu station, the main hub serving the primary mountain cluster of the Games, a trio of restaurants openly served dog products. They had amended their frontage signs to remove the word “bosintang” (dog meat stew) and promote goat meat instead, but that was only outside.

Walk inside and glance up at the giant white board and the first four menu items, in English and Korean, are derived from man’s best friend. An elderly Korean man removed his shoes, entered the room, ordered the stew and sat down at a row of tables on the floor. Soon, he was served the thick brown concoction and began slurping down the soup until it was all gone.

In Korean culture, dog meat is said to have mythical properties that boost restorative powers and increase virility. Fearing a backlash from traditionalists, the Korean government won’t amend the law, despite president Moon Jae-In having adopted a dog saved from the meat industry.

Pyeongchang organizers wish government officials would take action.

“We are aware of the international concern around the consumption of dog meat in Korea,” an organizing committee statement read. “This is a matter which the government should address. We hope that this issue will not impact on the delivery or reputation of the Games and the province and we will support the work of the province and government on this topic as needed. Also, dog meat will not be served at any Games venue.”

Eating dog meat is a custom here and it is hard to dispute that. In the United States millions of animals of countless varieties are slaughtered each year for meat. To some, the plight of Korean dogs is scarcely any different to that of American chicken, cows or pigs. To others, there is something vastly different about a dog, given its relationship to humans.

Activists in Korea don’t like the use of dogs for meat but mainly focus their protest efforts on the methods of killing the animals and their conditions in captivity.

“If the Korean people stop eating dog meat there will not be the market for it,” Kim Jun-Won, president of the Dasom animal rights organization said, fighting back tears when shown photographs of our footage as we returned to our vehicle. “But this is wrong and it breaks my heart. The people who keep animals this way and kill them? They are the devil.”

Demand is decreasing, with dog meat meals not particularly popular with younger members of Korean society. As well as the one described above, USA TODAY Sports visited two other farms in the area that showed signs of being operational recently. Both were closed, with the dried feces and even bones of deceased dogs still visible.

“The problem is that while smaller facilities close due to lack of business, larger, better organized ones are popping up,” Kiana Kang, director of programs and special projects of American non-profit rescue organization Animal Hope and Wellness said. “This is the two Koreas. There is the beauty and the culture, and then there is this.”

Korean dog farmers claim their sole intention is to try to make a living and insist the animals are the same as livestock.

A group of Winter Olympic athletes, including Canadian figure skater Meagan Duhamel, freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy and snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis took part in a recent public service announcement in a bid to raise awareness about the Korean dog meat trade. Duhamel already owns a rescue Korean dog.

The United States and Canada are leaders in trying to rescue Korean dogs and provide them with a new life. In a recent USA TODAY Sports interview, Californian couple Lana Chung Peck and her husband Kevin Peck described how many of the animals they foster and rehabilitate through the Save Korean Dogs organization have significant issues.

Chung Peck said her dogs cannot initially walk properly on grass or firm ground, because most of their lives had previously been spent in the cages, scrambling to get firm footing on the hard thin metal.

Meanwhile, at the Games, the first medals were being doled out. The plight of Korea’s dogs isn’t going to be the major narrative of the Games, the events themselves and the lingering political turmoil dominate the headlines.

But it is here, happening not far from the Olympics, and it’s tough to stomach.

Dog Meat Still on the Menu at South Korea Olympics

A handful of South Korean restaurants near the venues of the Winter Olympics are defying a government push to take dog meat off menus for the duration of the games, Channel News Asia reported.

The opening ceremony takes place on Friday in Pyeongchang county, with athletes from over 90 countries and tens of thousands of tourists from  South Korea and abroad expected to flock to the region. In a bid to avoid controversy over the culinary customs of eating dog meat, local authorities have tried to curb the serving of canine delicacies by offering nearby restaurants subsidies to temporarily alter their menus.

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Trending: Olympians Are Arriving During South Korea’s Flu Season—Are They at Risk?

But only a small minority appear to have taken up the government on the offer, Pyeongchang County government official Lee Yong-bae told AFP.

“We’ve faced a lot of complaints from restaurant operators that we are threatening their livelihood,” he said. Of the 12 dog meat restaurants in the county, only two have complied, Lee said on Thursday. According to him, a handful entertained agreeing to scrap dog meat from the menu but have already seen a drop in sales.

02_08_dog_meat
02_08_dog_meat
More

Puppies are seen in a cage at a dog meat market in Yulin, in China’s southern Guangxi region on June 21, 2017. China’s most notorious dog meat festival opened in Yulin on June 21, 2017, with butchers hacking slabs of canines and cooks frying the flesh following rumours that authorities would impose a ban this year. STR/AFP/Getty Images

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“Some of them initially shifted to selling pork or things instead of dog meat only to find their sales plunging sharply,” he said. “They then switched back to dog meat.”

Signage advertizing dog meat dishes has nonetheless become less prominent, as the restaurants are seeking to avoid giving “a bad impression to foreigners” during the Games, he added.

The custom of treating dogs as livestock and using them for sustenance is increasingly becoming a taboo in South Korea, with the country’s government branding them a “detestable” kind of meat. There are, however, no explicit legal punishments for the cooking of dog meat and a minority of South Koreans still do so.

Last year, authorities closed Moran market in Seongnam, the largest dog meat venue, which sold over  80,000 dogs a year. It accounted for about a third of South Korea’s dog meat consumption, according to local media estimates.

This article was first written by Newsweek