No justification for trophy hunting

Reporter offers her argument against hunting for boastful reasons

Trophy hunting should be banned.

The issue popped into the public awareness this summer with the killing in Africa of Cecil the lion, who ordinarily resided in a protected refuge, but was lured out, tortured and killed by an American tourist who paid handsomely for the opportunity.

Public outrage caught up with him quickly, particularly since this lion was collared and tracked as part of a study, and so was well-known.

The hunter claims that he thought it was all legal.

Whether you believe him or not isn’t the point. The activity he was eagerly taking part in is repugnant.

But while people often think of trophy hunting in terms of lions, leopards, and giraffes, our own province shamefully allows this kind of slaughter, too.

Probably the most popular targets are grizzly bears — trophy hunters seem to like to somehow try to assert their superiority by going after animals with a reputation of being fierce predators, or exotic in some way.

Now let’s be clear. We have great respect for people who hunt for food.

If you’re putting food on your table by (legally) packing venison in the freezer, for example, by all means, continue to hunt.

At least you know the meat you’re consuming hasn’t been injected with hormones or antibiotics.

But for those who equip themselves with lights, the latest in high-tech rifles, and the aide of guides to take them right to their prey, just so they can get some kind of thrill out of killing something – we will never understand or condone it.

There’s something wrong if you get a thrill out of killing.

The photos these people take with their kills, exalting in the achievement, are nothing more than sad reminders of death.

People should be taught to have respect for life, not to slaughter it for no other reason than to prove they can.

Wouldn’t you rather see them alive? A Stanford University study cited by Maclean’s Magazine in 2014 found that nature-tourism — those who want to see grizzlies and the like, not kill them — brings in far more than trophy hunting.

There’s just no way in which this makes sense.

– Andrea Rondeau is a reporter with the Cowichan Valley Citizen.