NEWS AND COMMENT: Animal advocates are lucky to have a man like Eduardo Gonçalves who is fighting against trophy and sport hunting intelligently and I hope devastatingly well. In his book Trophy Hunters Exposed: Inside the Big Game Industry he exposes the brutal callousness of trophy hunters and the untold amounts of agony that they cause to the animals that they kill for their entertainment.
I’m pleased to say that The Times has reported on how hunters’ trophies die in agony. These trophy hunters have admitted killing for fun when chasing down wounded big game. Eduardo posed as a would-be hunter looking for advice and he approached trophy hunters to discuss trophy hunting with them. These findings are published in his book. Incidentally, his book has been published on the sixth anniversary of Cecil the Lion’s attempted killing by an American dentist. The dentist wounded Cecil and he was left wondering around four hours in agony before he was finished off with a gun in the hands of one of the people who arranged the trophy hunting.
In their conversations (and in forums etc.) with Eduardo Gonçalves, the hunters admitted shooting genets, monkeys and meerkats out of trees for a spot of relaxation between stalking large iconic species to kill as well. Many of these casual shootings are of animals that have been left out of the UK government’s promised legislation to stop the import of trophy animals. This indicates the weakness in this legislation and members of Parliament are seeking a complete ban rather than a watered-down one.
British trophy hunters were quite content to disclose in graphic detail how they failed to kill animals cleanly causing them an enormous amount of pain during a slow death. For example, Adrian Cawte, a Ministry of Defence dog handler and trophy hunter, of Wellington, Somerset, has said that he shot a zebra in Namibia which “reared and ran, through the thorns, over rocks, stumbling and falling, blood appearing on the chest area before laying down and kicking weakly.”
He found the zebra clinging on to life. He shot it dead with a bullet to the chest. He said that his original shot “had been a little too far forward and while undoubtedly a mortal wound, I was not happy to watch an animal suffer. Unfortunately, this zebra had damaged its hide on the sharp rocks and thorns in its death throes which was a shame.”
Comment: trophy hunters always paint a picture that they are sensitive to an animal’s pain and welfare. Am I the only one who finds it absolutely bizarre that they profess sensitivity to welfare and yet they cause the most unimaginable pain and distress in animals for their entertainment? If a person can think like that it seems that they have some sort of psychopathic tendencies. How else can you talk like that about animals? There is a complete disconnect between the words he said and his actions.
Another British sport hunter, Alex Neilsen of Henfield, West Sussex, also killed a zebra. This time in South Africa. He said: “The shot was good and struck low on the shoulder and into the heart and lung region. Believe it or not with a broken shoulder and the top of the heart completely destroyed he managed to run some 200 metres”. He was discussing his callous activities on an online forum with complete indifference to the moral aspects of his activities.
Another, Paul Roberts, 79 from West Sussex said that he had to shoot a leopard repeatedly on one occasion. And on another occasion, he wounded an elephant and needed to change to a rifle with extra penetration according to The Times report.
Eduardo Gonçalves was genuinely shocked by the “incredible suffering experienced by many of the animals”. He interviewed Stuart Eborall on whether monkeys and meerkats were shot at the ranch he visited in South Africa. In response he said: “Yeah, yeah. we go and grab a few beers and get up on one of the rocks looking over some tree’d area where all the monkeys are and just have a bit of fun shooting the monkeys.”
Another, Christian Evans, a property expert from North Yorkshire told Eduardo Gonçalves that “We did genet cat lamping, shooting genets out of trees with the bows. Really cool, really fun!”
They were all asked to comment by The Times journalist. Neilsen said that a ban on the importation of trophies by trophy hunters threatened well-managed hunting areas that preserve populations of game animals. He thinks that campaigns against trophy hunting use emotive arguments. Comment: in other words, being concerned for animal welfare and preventing pain is an emotive argument. It points to the fact that he is highly insensitive to these basic aspects of our interaction with animals. This is the problem: they are completely blind it seems to me to what they’re doing. They appear to be indoctrinated with the idea that animals are not sentient beings and that they feel pain. Or if they do understand that they are causing pain they conveniently shove it under the carpet because the enjoy killing so much.
Cawte said “as long as it pays to set aside land for wildlife, land users will do just that”. And he said that if farming became better business wild habitats would be lost and turned into farms. I don’t know what his argument is. I don’t understand it. He’s basically saying that it’s about money and if it pays farmers to allow hunting on their farms then they’ll do it. He seems to be forgetting that he has some control over his behaviour and whether it is ethical or not.
Let’s be honest, it cannot be surprising to outsiders to learn that trophy and sport hunters cause a lot of pain in the animals they shoot. It’s obvious so this is not a great news event really but it needs to be stated. People need to be reminded that sport hunters are having fun by causing pain in sentient beings. That is obviously highly unethical, immoral and disgusting and it needs to be stopped wholesale, lock stock and barrel. The whole thing needs to be shut down and this government needs to have some balls to do it. I do not like the way they are shilly-shallying around the subject taking ages to do something quite simple.
We have to add the other parties to this ongoing crime against nature; the organisers in Africa, often South Africa where they have lion farms and canned lion hunting and all manner of disgusting activities while abusing nature and wildlife. British trophy hunters would not be able to go to South Africa or Africa to carry out their disgusting deeds without the organisers in Africa. And they do it for monetary purposes and the politicians higher up allow licences to be granted also for monetary reasons. Although they always profess that it is about conservation. It is not, it is about money. Anybody with common sense realises that.
SOME MORE ON TROPHY HUNTING: