The Psychology and Thrill of Trophy Hunting: Is it Criminal?

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/animal-emotions/201510/the-psychology-and-thrill-trophy-hunting-is-it-criminal

Trophy hunting is gratuitous violence that can justifiably be called murder.

Posted Oct 18, 2015

“Still, the need to hurt animals that some children feel doesn’t explain why some adults hunt and kill large, and often dangerous, animals that they have no intention of eating. I have searched the psychology literature and, while there’s a lot of conjecture about what it means, the fact that very little research exists to support any assumptions makes reaching anunderstanding of this behaviour very difficult.”  (Xanthe Mallett, 2015)

Kids ask the darndest questions

A few years ago a youngster told me a story about a murder in his neighborhood in Boulder, Colorado, my hometown. I hadn’t heard about it so I asked him for more information and he told me about a cougar who had been murdered because this magnificent cat was living down the block from him. I instantly said something like, “Animals can’t be murdered,” and he looked at me – stared me straight in the eyes – and innocently but forcefully asked, “Why not?” I realized that I wasn’t going to “win” this discussion nor get out of it easily or cleanly, and his mother was calling him home, so I said that’s the way it is for now in the legal system, and, not unexpectedly, he once again asked, “Why?”

I was at a loss to say more given the time constraints and given the fact that I really wanted to let him know that I thought animals could indeed be murdered.” But, that would have made his mother angry and we both would have missed dinner. So, I told him that he really had made an impression on me, I thanked him for asking “Why, why, why,” and that I’d continue to think about this, for I do believe that killing an animal is murder (please also see) when an animal is killed in the same manner for which it is declared that a human has been murdered. And, sanitizing the killing by calling it culling, dispatching, or euthanizing doesn’t really do the job.

I haven’t thought much about this conversation, although I have pondered many times why the word “murder” is reserved for human animals and categorically excludes nonhuman animals (animals). And, some recent events have led me to write this brief essay about why the use of the word “murder” should be broadened to include other animals and why, for example, “trophy hunting” is really “trophy murder.”

I’m sure many people will likely weigh in on this topic and many already have. There also are some interesting exchanges at debate.org where the question, “Is killing an animal murder?” was raised. As of today, 58% of the respondents voted “yes” and 42% voted “no.” In addition, “Americans are turning thumbs down on trophy hunting by a two-to-one margin. Sixty-four percent of U.S. voters polled told the Humane Society of the United States that they also oppose trophy hunting in the United States.”

Definitions of murder invariably exclude nonhumans.  However, I can’t see any good reason other than “that’s the way it is.” Reasons given include misleading claims that animals don’t feel pain, they aren’t smart, or they don’t display what philosophers call agency, loosely put as the ability to make free choices and to act independently and to adapt in different environments. Furthermore, “All jurisdictions require that the victim be a natural person; that is, a human being who was still alive before being murdered. In other words, under the law one cannot murder a corpse, a corporation, a non-human animal, or any other non-human organism such as a plant or bacterium.”

The comments for the above debate make for interesting reading. One noted, “I love animals and have several pets but no killing animals for food is not murder. Killing animals for food is not murder because they do not have the ability to speak or have complex thoughts. For example, lets say there is a tiger hat is hungry and one of you who think its murder to kill an animal in a cage. That tiger would not hesitate to eat you so I say why can’t we do the same.” Another reader wrote, “Cruelty to animals is wrong, but it is not murder. People kill animals for a wide variety of reasons. Some of these reasons may be seen as cruel by different people: for example, some feel that killing animals for food is cruel, while others see it as a necessary evil, and some (like those who enjoy hunting) even take pleasure in it. However, even cruelty to animals does not rise to the level of “murder” as such.”

And, we also read, “(Non human) Animals are also sentient, conscious beings who feel pain and emotion If killing animals isn’t murder (because they are not people, or intelligent, or capable to express their fear, etc…) we should apply the same logic to humans who are handicapped or mentally retarded. No human ceases to be an animal simply because they are intelligent, we are merely perpetuating a sort of speciesism if we exclude unintelligent or unresponsive humans.”

These and other comments raise many of the issues that are central to arguing for using the word “murder” when an animal is involved in situations when it used for humans, and that laws need to be changed to reflect this.

A few recent events have made many others and me revisit the selective and speciesist use of the word “murder.” A few weeks ago a dog was killed and skinned in my hometown and once again, someone asked me if this could be classified as murder. Animals in zoos also are killed rather often even if they are healthy and could live longer lives. Marius, an otherwise healthy young giraffe, was killed in the Copenhagen zoo in February 2014 because he didn’t fit into their breeding program. Zoo administrators said he was euthanized, but of course this wasn’t a mercy killing but what I call “zoothanasia.” And, I also noted it could well be called murder.

Is trophy hunting really trophy murder? Cecil the lion and the recent killing of the largest African elephant in almost thirty years

“As for trophy hunting, I think it is probably the kind of animal killing that most resembles murder – murder in the first degree. It is done with planning (premeditation) and without provocation or biological justification. The animals are entirely innocent creatures killed only for ego-gratification and fun. It’s time we began to see this practice as akin to murder.” Kirk Robinson (executive director of the Western Wildlife Conservancy, comment on this essay)

Trophy hunting in the wild and in places where animals are bred and held captive for the purpose of being killed (canned hunting), also makes the news especially when a charismatic animal is slaughtered. Basically, trophy hunting is a gratuitously violent act that often results in dismemberment and taking the head as a “trophy.

This past summer the world learned about, and millions were outraged by, the killing of Cecil, a magnificent lion, by a Minnesota dentist under the guise that it served some conservation purpose. Cecil’s undoing was premeditated, he hadn’t done anything to deserve being killed, and the dentist paid a royal sum to be allowed to kill him. And, this week, we’ve learned that a magnificent elephant killed in Zimbabwe for fun was the biggest killed in Africa for almost 30 years (please also see).

There are many, far too many, examples of trophy hunting accompanied by pictures of happy hunters. Indeed, recreational sport hunting that doesn’t involve long-distance travel or huge sums of money can also be called murder. And, sport hunting is often glorified. Colorado has “hug a hunter” and “hug an angler” campaigns because Colorado Parks and Wildlife claim that hunting is a conservation tool (but please see). We read, “Coloradans are proud of the wildlife and natural beauty in Colorado. And we have hunters and anglers to thank for helping to support it. So if you love protecting Colorado and its natural beauty, go ahead and hug a hunter.” Of course, not all wildlife is valued.

Let’s get the discussion going and let’s begin by making it simple

The time has come to open the discussion about the limited use of the word “murder.” Detailed scientific research has more than amply shown that reasons for excluding animals that include their supposed lack of emotions, that they are not really sentient, and that they really don’t care what happens to them, for example, clearly don’t hold.

I’m sure there are people who are passionate on both sides of the ledger and we need to hear all voices. Attorney Steven Wise and his team, who have worked tirelessly for granting animals rights, have been focusing their attention on chimpanzees, so to begin, let’s just consider mammals. And, perhaps to get the discussion going, let’s only consider animals who are killed for trophy hunting, for sport and for fun, and exclude, for the moment, animals who are killed for our entertainment (dog- or cock-fighting), animals who are killed because they harmed, or supposedly harmed, a human(s), animals who wind up living in urban or suburban areas “dangerously” close to humans because we forced them out of their preferred and natural homes because of relentless development, animals who are killed for food or research, animals who are considered to be “pests,” animals who are “collected” “in the name of science.” We can also limit our early discussions to animals who clearly are sentient, which includes the vast majority of animals who are killed when there is no other reason to do it other than for fun.

I’m sure readers will have a category of animals they’d like to add to the list of candidates, and this is all part of the ongoing discussion. It’s difficult, for example, to exclude companion animals who are brutalized for no reason at all, so perhaps in early discussions we can also consider them as animals for whom the word “murder” applies.

Let me strongly emphasize that this early focus is not to say that other animals shouldn’t be granted legal rights nor that they can’t be murdered. However, we’ve got to begin somewhere, so let’s begin with the clearest cases in which an animal is killed for no other reason than someone thought it would be okay to kill them, perhaps for sport, perhaps for fun, perhaps because they like the high of the thrill, or perhaps because they enjoy killing the animals by “playing predator,” but surely not in any way that could be considered playing fair.

One of my friends suggested to me that perhaps the world isn’t ready for such a discussion, but surely there are crimes against animals that fall smack into the arena of crimes that are considered to be murder when there is a human victim(s). Trophy hunting is one clear case; it is voluntary and intentional and there is no reason to engage in it other than the hunter finds it to be a form of recreation or fun. It’s often not that challenging, and surely one doesn’t have to do it.

The psychology of trophy hunting: What drives people to thrill kill?

Hunting for ‘sport’ is basically another way to describe the thrill of killing.” Graham Collier, Psychology Today

The phrase “trophy hunting” – a form of thrill killing (for example, please see) is all about nonhumans, but gratuitous violence in the form of thrill killing also occurs in humans. When there are human victims it’s clearly considered to be aberrant and criminal behavior that rightfully is called murder. The bottom line is that anyone who thrill kills should be punished regardless of whom the victim is. And we also should keep in mind what psychologists call “the Link,” the close relationship between human-animal violence and human-human violence.

While I cannot find any formal studies of what drives trophy hunting specifically, many people have weighed in on questions of this sort. One essay called “Why we may never understand the reasons people hunt animals as ‘trophies‘” by criminologist Dr. Xanthe Mallett reports “Research shows increased levels of hostility and a need for power and control are associated with poor attitudes towards animals, among men in particular.”

Dr. Mallett also writes, “Another paper has linked personality traits of some people who hunt for sport to a different ‘triad’ of behaviours, known ominously as the ‘dark triad’. This includes narcissism (egotistical admiration of one’s own attributes, and a lack of compassion), Machiavellianism (being deceitful, cunning and manipulative) and psychopathy (lack of remorse or empathy, and prone to impulsive behaviour).”

Dr. Mallett ends her essay as follows: “And that [the lack of hard data] means we may never know why hunters are compelled to seek animal trophies for their walls. Indeed, we might be condemned just to watch and wonder about their motive and emotional capacity.” Surely, if people just want to “get out into nature” and rewild themselves, there are better and much less harmful ways to do it. Trophy hunting also violates the tenets of compassionate conservation, namely, first do no harm and all individuals matter (please seeand links therein).

What drives trophy hunting is a field rich in questions and ideas that should be of interest to many readers of Psychology Today and also practitioners.

Words count

The wide-ranging concern and condemnation of trophy hunting is not merely an animal rights or vegan perspective, but rather one grounded in concerns about respect and decency. Many people who eat and wear animals are outraged by Cecil’s demise and by the latest elephant to be killed for fun. Many of my friends say something like, “It just isn’t right,” and all the academic arguments in the world aren’t going to convince them that trophy hunting can be justified. And, hunters with whom I’ve spoken are appalled by canned and wild trophy hunting. There’s a lot going on here about which I hope to write later on.

Words count. The failure to use the word “murder” for nonhumans is due to a misleading extension of the “them” versus “us” way of thinking, one that is, or should be, long gone, and a view that ignores who other animals truly are – their cognitive and emotional lives and capacities — based on large amounts of detailed empirical research. While we surely are different from other animals, we also share many traits that make us all very similar to the magnificent animals who are routinely hunted as trophies. These shared traits are those that are used erroneously by some to separate “them” from us as if the differences are black and white, rather than shades of gray.

So, if legal systems change and recognize the fact that animals can be murdered, we can expect that crimes that count as murder will be punished accordingly, other than by shame. And, perhaps, someday I’ll be able to tell some inquisitive “annoying” kid that animals can indeed be murdered. And, I’ll also let him or her know that when people say they love animals and harm them, I always say I’m glad they don’t love me.

Note: For more on ways to stop the killing, please see Hope Ferdowsian’s “5 Ways to Stop the Killing.” The man who killed the elephant has now been identified.

Marc Bekoff’s latest books are Jasper’s Story: Saving Moon Bears (with Jill Robinson), Ignoring Nature No More: The Case for Compassionate ConservationWhy Dogs Hump and Bees Get Depressed, and Rewilding Our Hearts: Building Pathways of Compassion and CoexistenceThe Jane Effect: Celebrating Jane Goodall (edited with Dale Peterson) has recently been published. (marcbekoff.com; @MarcBekoff)

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

Boycott the film “Trophy”

Resharing our message below regarding the film Trophy, which we urge you not to watch.

Image may contain: 4 people, text
CompassionWorks International

Tomorrow, CNN broadcasts the film “Trophy”, a pro-trophy hunting film.

The film was initially presented to CWI as a balanced look at trophy hunting. For that reason, we gave an interview for the film. Executive Director Carrie LeBlanc appears in Trophy, as one of only two primary dissenting voices against trophy hunting.

When we saw the completed film last fall, we were horrified. As it turns out, the films director manipulated and used an anti-trophy hunting protest we held in Las Vegas to their own ends and put a trophy hunter amongst our protesters to provoke response.

Trophy attempts, poorly, to make trophy hunters seem like sympathetic figures, instead of the killers they are.

While we are unhappy to be featured in a pro-trophy hunting film, we are glad to be a voice for the animals.

We encourage you to contact CNN and express your disgust that they would show a pro-trophy hunting film.

We also encourage you, particularly if you are a sensitive viewer, to opt NOT to watch Trophy. There are numerous instances of the brutal killing of animals, including an elephant, by trophy hunters.

Thank you for speaking out against evil trophy hunting. notyourtrophy.org

TRUMP OFFICIALS JUST PROVIDED ‘A GIFT TO TROPHY HUNTING’ IN THE FORM OF YELLOWSTONE GRIZZLY BEARS

http://www.newsweek.com/yellowstone-grizzly-bear-trump-hunting-628432?utm_source=internal&utm_campaign=right&utm_medium=related2

grizzly bear
A grizzly bear roams through the Hayden Valley in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, on May 18, 2014. Conservation groups have slammed the decision to remove the Yellowstone grizzly bear from the Endangered Species Act.JIM URQUHART/REUTERS

The decision by President Donald Trump’s administration to remove the Yellowstone grizzly bear from the list of endangered species has been called “a gift to trophy hunting” by conservation groups.

Related: Killing of famed Yellowstone grizzly intensifies protection debate

The bear has enjoyed protected status for 42 years, during which time its numbers grew to more than 700 from just 136. On Thursday, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke said it is now time to call the operation a success and to remove the bear from the Endangered Species Act, instead allowing states to take control over its future.

“This achievement stands as one of America’s great conservation successes; the culmination of decades of hard work and dedication on the part of state, tribal, federal and private partners,” Zinke said in a statement. “As a Montanan, I am proud of what we’ve achieved together.”

The move, which was first proposed by the previous administration of President Barack Obama last year, will go into effect 30 days after it is published in the federal register. At least immediately, it will not lead to open season on grizzly bear hunting. As well as being restricted to the bears that travel outside of the park’s boundaries, hunts will only be allowed if the number of bears remains above 600.

However, many conservationists argue that Thursday’s decision adds yet another threat to the future survival of the bears, whose habitat they say is already endangered by climate change.

“The Trump Administration’s delisting maneuver is a gift to trophy hunting and oil and gas interests,” Wayne Pacelle, president and chief executive officer of the Humane Society of the United States, tells Newsweek in an email. “The bears continue to face an array of threats, and the last thing they need are wealthy elites chasing them down and shooting them for trophies.”

The action will not affect the nearly 1,000 grizzlies inhabiting Glacier National Park in Montana. But experts have said protections for those bears could soon similarly be removed, according to The New York Times.

Prior to the 1850s and the onset of widespread hunting and trapping, grizzly bears across North America numbered around 50,000. And some conservationists have argued that placing their conservation back in the hands of states, which can use hunting as a form of population control, is an unnecessary risk. Indeed, Tim Preso, an attorney for environmental law firm Earthjustice, has said that legal action to prevent the change is already being considered.

“We’re certainly prepared to take a stand to protect the grizzly, if necessary,” he told the Associated Press. “There’s only one Yellowstone. There’s only one place like this. We ought not to take an unjustified gamble with an iconic species of this region.”

In addition to conservation groups, the move has also been opposed by Native American tribes, for whom the grizzly bear is a sacred animal. A treaty opposing hunting of the bear has been signed by 125 tribes.

Zinke, a former senator from Montana, has a lifetime score of just 4 percent from the League of Conservation Voters, with the group indicating that of 73 votes on bills with environmental impact, only three were pro-environment.

Trump’s two sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, are known to be fond of big-game hunting and have previously attracted criticism for posing for photos alongside dead animals, including a leopard and an elephant.

What went so wrong with Trump sons that they could kill this beautiful creature

HUNTING AFRICAN ANIMALS AND BRINGING THEIR HEADS TO THE U.S. IS LEGAL AGAIN UNDER TRUMP

http://www.newsweek.com/hunting-african-animals-legal-us-trump-712988

Elephant and lion trophies can be imported from Africa again, in a reversal of an Obama-era policy that prohibited the importation of endangered animals.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Wednesday that it will allow trophy hunters to bring back legally hunted wildlife, removing restrictions on permits that were put in place to discourage the hunting and poaching of animals that are on the threatened species list.

The International Wildlife Conservation Council, a newly created arm of the Department of the Interior, wants to bring a focus to the “economic benefits that result from U.S. citizens traveling to foreign nations to engage in hunting.” Plus, it believes “human populations” could benefit from having Americans visit and hunt.

99602245Philip Dixie (L), a professional hunter from Blaauwkrantz hunting reserve shows a trophy during a hunting Safari in the Blaauwkrantz game reserve some 70km from Port Elizabeth, South Africa.GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

The council has determined that hunting in Zimbabwe and Zambia will help with conservation efforts, though its announcement does not include research that supports that view.

“By lifting the import ban on elephant trophies in Zimbabwe and Zambia, the Trump Administration underscored, once again, the importance of sound scientific wildlife management and regulated hunting to the survival and enhancement of game species in this country and worldwide” said Chris Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action in a statement on the NRA-ILA website.

“This is a significant step forward in having hunting receive the recognition it deserves as a tool of sound wildlife management, which had been all but buried in the previous administration.”

In 2015, the Fish and Wildlife Service suspended the import of sport-hunted elephant trophies, citing a lack of evidence that the practice helped conservation efforts.

The expanded import policy will likely be welcome news to Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr., who have posted photos of themselves after a trophy hunting expedition. The photos showed them with a leopard and an elephant, and drew criticism from animal rights groups. They have continued to take big-game hunting trips across the U.S. and in Canada, though they haven’t posted photos.

What went so wrong with Trump sons that they could kill this beautiful creature

Trophy hunting may be popular with the Trumps, but not everyone is on board. When Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer shot Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe in 2015, he sparked international outrage for targeting one of the most well-known and beloved African lions. Palmer had a permit to hunt in Zimbabwe, and paid around $50,000 to a professional hunter-guide to kill the lion.

Zimbabwe’s elephant population has declined since 2001, and Zambia’s populations have declined in some regions. Hunters often choose the healthiest or strongest members of animal populations, to have a more impressive trophy, but this can have negative effects on the species overall.

A 2015 poll showed that 86 percent of Americans oppose big-game hunting, and six out of 10 respondents said it should be illegal.

Infamous ‘Lion Killer’ Perishes After Falling 100 Feet During Hunting Trip

https://animalchannel.co/hunter-dies-trip/

written by Britanie Leclair on October 9th, 2017

According to Google Dictionary, karma is a belief based in Hinduism and Buddhism that says a person’s actions dictate their future. It’s also a term that a number of animal lovers have been using to describe the following story.

In November 2015, an Italian hunter named Luciano Ponzetto drew the wrath of the internet after the public got a hold of photos of him smiling next to the body of a hunted lion.

According to Safari Club Italy (of which Ponzetto was a member), the photos were originally posted to the club’s Facebook page to showcase the winners of its annual Chapter Trophy Award competition— a competition in which Ponzetto had won a 3rd place prize.

The photos and subsequent media coverage made Ponzetto infamous. He was criticized and ultimately forced to resign from his role as the medical director of a business kennel.

The Sun also quoted him as saying, “I am being criticized by people who do not know me. I have always loved my work and I have always loved animals… I will carry on hunting until the law changes.”

Source: ATI

But Luciano no longer hunts. It isn’t because the laws have been changed, however— it’s because he died in a manner that many are calling an act of karmic retribution.

One year following the initial controversy, media outlets reported that Ponzetto had died as a result of falling into a 100-foot ravine during one of his regular hunting trips. According to ATI, Ponzetto was hunting wild birds with friends in the Colle delle Oche hills near Turin, Italy, when he slipped on a patch of ice, ultimately falling to his death.

According to sources, prior to the incident, Ponzetto had recently returned from Canada and had bragged about catching a number of kills. An Italian spokesperson (via The Sun) said, “His body was recovered by helicopter and taken to a local hospital… He died instantly and there was nothing that could be done.”

Now, I’m not one to talk ill of the dead, but I can say that the news of Ponzetto’s death received very little sympathy. As mentioned, people considered the circumstances ironic, believing the hunter had finally paid the price for his hunting ways.

Animal trophy hunting documentary misses the mark

http://www.timesunion.com/opinion/article/Animal-trophy-hunting-documentary-misses-the-mark-12218414.php?cmpid=email-desktop&cmpid=email-desktop

“Trophy,” a documentary that explores the commodification of threatened and endangered African species, which premiered earlier this month at the Quad Cinema in New York City, is enough to have Cecil the Lion rolling over in his grave.

While the directors should be commended for putting the issue in the spotlight, it feels more like an attempt by the trophy hunting industry to save face following the public backlash after the tragic death of Cecil the lion at the hands of an American trophy hunter in Zimbabwe in 2015. And it’s no wonder, since the movie’s narrative unfolds after the directors attend the Safari Club International’s (SCI) annual hunter’s convention.

They drank the Kool-Aid.

To appease the public, the trophy hunting industry claims that without it there would be no money in Africa for conservation. In the movie, well-heeled American trophy hunters are the unsung heroes whose money is helping to save Africa’s magnificent animals from the bad-guys—local poachers driving these animals to extinction. It’s hard to stomach the hypocrisy—American trophy hunters think their money makes killing ok.

The idea that it doesn’t is not broached by directors who promise to tell both sides of the story with critical examination. The movie never considers that legal trophy hunting is one of the reasons that Africa’s Big Five face extinction in the first place and that legal trophy hunting fuels poaching.

Longlac man fined after shooting trophy bear; 760-pound animal was shot at the Longlac dump

Trophy bear was shot near Longlac in 2014.

The shooting three years ago of one of the largest black bears ever
harvested in Ontario has led to a stiff fine and the loss of hunting
privileges for a Longlac man.

Michael A. Gauthier was convicted after a trial in Geraldton this week and
fined $5,000 for hunting black bear within 400 metres of a waste disposal
site.

He was also fined $1,000 for possessing wildlife illegally, and received a
four-year hunting suspension. The bear was forfeited to the Crown.

According to a news release from the Ministry of Natural Resources and
Forestry, court was told that on September 13, 2014, Gauthier shot and
wounded a 760-pound bear within the Longlac waste disposal site. Several
hours later, he returned to the site where he dispatched the injured bear.

The MNRF news release refers to the animal as a trophy bear.

Skull size is the usual measurement for determining bear records.

The weight listed in the news release was the “dressed” weight, measured
after the internal organs were removed.

Ontarioblackbears.com lists the largest recorded weight for a black bear as
816 pounds.

However, the Federation for the Recognition of Ontario Wildlife says its
records show the heaviest bear ever harvested in the province was 780
pounds. It was shot by a hunter using a cross-bow in the Nipissing area in
2007.

https://www.tbnewswatch.com/local-news/longlac-man-fined-after-shooting-trop
hy-bear-707460

Donald Trump is first president to address the NRA in 34 years

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/donald-trump-president-address-nra-34-years/story?id=47080710

  • By MEGHAN KENEALLY

Apr 28, 2017

President Donald Trump is following in the footsteps of former President Ronald Reagan by speaking at a National Rifle Association event.

Today’s speech, at the NRA’s Leadership Forum in Atlanta, won’t be Trump’s first talk to the gun rights group. He was endorsed by the NRA in May and spoke at their convention at the time.

But his appearance later today marks the first time that a sitting president has addressed the group since Reagan did so in 1983.

The NRA is known for their sizable lobbying operation and by raising money for — and against — candidates. The group made over $52 million in donations to candidates during the 2016 election, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. They spent $30.3 million in support of Trump, the CRP reported.

Trump campaigned on the pledge to support and protect the Second Amendment, which he said during his May NRA appearance, was “under a threat like never before.” He pointed to his then-rival Hillary Clinton as the basis for that threat.

“Hillary Clinton wants to abolish the Second Amendment, not change it; she wants to abolish it,” Trump said at the time, although Clinton had never made such claims.

“The Second Amendment is on the ballot in November. The only way to save our Second Amendment is to vote for a person you know: Donald Trump,” he said.

Trump has noted that his two eldest sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, have been longtime members of the NRA, and during the May speech, he said that “they have so many rifles and so many guns, even I get concerned.” 

During the second presidential debate, Trump promised to appoint Supreme Court justices that will “respect the Second Amendment and what it stands for and what it represents,” and said that the list of 20 judges that he released as possible picks all fit that bill. Judge Neil Gorsuch, who he later nominated and has since been appointed to the Supreme Court, was on that list.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that hundreds of protesters and gun control advocates are reportedly gathering near the convention site this morning. Part of the protest will feature a “die-in,” where 93 people will lie down in a local park to represent the number of people who die from gun violence every day, the paper reports.

There will be another protest on Saturday, and Rep. John Lewis of Georgia is scheduled to attend. Lewis and Trump have a turbulent history. Lewis did not attend the inauguration and said he did not see Trump as a “legitimate president.” Trump returned the favor by criticizing the civil rights leader, saying that he was “all talk, talk, talk — no action or results.”

Donald Trump vs. animals

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.

Donald Trump Jr. in Africa with an elephant tail.

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.