An Italian veterinarian is mirroring the hunting antics of Dr Walter Palmer, the infamous American, Minnesota dentist who we all know about by now.
The Italian veterinarian is Dr Luciana Ponzetto. He has a clinic near Turin. He is seen on social media posing with a dead lion in Africa, and a leopard in an unidentified country. The picture above shows one of his kills. You can see him smiling proudly at what he has done. How can a veterinarian justify his behaviour in taking pleasure from killing innocent animals when they’re meant to be concerned above all else with the welfare of animals?
Dr Luciana Ponzetto is facing violent threats from animal rights protesters which echo the campaign this year against the Dr Palmer, the American dentist who killed the famous Lion, Cecil, in Zimbabwe.
The animal rights protesters are particularly annoyed by the way this Italian veterinarian enjoys being photographed while smiling with his kills.
A hate campaign on social media has published his contact details namely his phone number, and address which has forced him to seek police protection.
Dr Luciana Ponzetto said:
“There are those who want to see me run over by a car and those who want to shoot me… They have even come looking for me at home…I am not an assassin.”
In addition, remarkably, some Italian veterinarians have started a campaign to have Ponzetta struck off the veterinarian’s register. Although a representative of the Turin veterinary association confirmed that his job was safe. What a shame I say! An association spokesman said that “this was a hobby that is regulated by laws”. Yes, agreed but what I say is that despite quite possibly being legal it does not mean it is moral or ethical and it does not mean that it is compatible with being a veterinarian. Also being “legal” in Africa, quite frankly, does not mean an awful lot.
Ponzetto also runs a dog pound for strays and said:
“People who don’t know me are casting doubt on my professionalism, my work and the love I have always had to animals. Many forget that the survival of parks can depend upon this form of tourism”.
My comment on that is that I find it very hard, almost impossible, to envisage a person loving animals who also likes to kill them for his pleasure. His justification that the killing of animals helps keep parks open is one of the usual clichés and platitudes that hunters wheel out when they try and justify what they’re doing.
Ponzetto says that a picture of him smiling with a lion he’d shot was taken five years ago. The picture was spotted by animal lovers after being posted on the website of a safari organisation to which Dr Ponzetta belongs. His clients at his clinic recognised him and then angrily republished the picture on social media websites.
Ponzetta states that his job is not “incompatible” with hunting, if lawful. He blames the media for whipping up public hatred of him.
He says that ever since he was a child he would wait the return of hunters to see their prey and that he has an instinct for hunting even if after killing the animal he says that he has a touch of sadness. Why on earth then does he kill them? Answer: he enjoys it.
Observers can’t help but see almost a mirror image in Dr Luciana Ponzetto’s behaviour with that of Dr Walter Palmer in America. The public don’t like this sort of behaviour in their veterinarians. Veterinarians need to take heed of this. They expect veterinarians to like and love animals and be concerned about their welfare. Shooting innocent wildlife for pleasure sends out entirely the wrong signal to the public and strongly indicates that this veterinarian does not love animals as he states. He can never, in my opinion, be a good veterinarian.
There is also a wider issue at stake here. Although it is particularly poignant that a veterinarian is killing animals for pleasure, the whole process of big-game hunting or hunting of any type is outmoded in the modern world because nature is being prosecuted and profited upon for the pleasure of humans. It is time to stop this. Many of these animal species are endangered and therefore killing them simply makes the matter worse. There needs to be a complete change in mentality with respect to our relationship with wild species.