Let me just get this out of the way from the start. I am not opposed to hunting; in fact, quite the contrary. I think one of the most humane ways to acquire food is to hunt locally. Years ago, I thought differently. However, it has become clear to me that big farming promotes far more abuses and suffering than individuals going back to the basics to stock their freezers with meals for their families. I don’t deny that human beings are very much a part of the food chain in a predatory position.
With that said, rich people bidding on the opportunity to kill critically endangered species under the guise of conservation and/or charity is, and always will be, deplorable. This is the mode of operation for the Dallas Safari Club (DSC) who accepts (presumably, tax-deductible) “donations” from the highest bidder to shoot and kill exotic animals.
DSC Executive Director Ben Carter told The Dallas Morning News:
DSC is a nonprofit hunting conservation organization. We have a membership approaching 6,000, of which only 40 percent are from Texas. Over the last three years, we have granted almost $4 million to directly support our mission statement of ‘Conservation, Education and Protecting Hunters’ Rights.’
Last year, Corey Knowlton placed the winning bid of $350,000 for the opportunity to hunt a critically endangered Black Rhino in Namibia – a country located in western South Africa. Yes, that poor animal from the meme that may have crossed your Facebook or Twitter feed in the last week – the Western Black Rhino. It is a subspecies of the critically endangered Black Rhino. Only, the meme is about four years too late.
In 2011, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) declared the Western Black Rhino extinct.
But, have no fear, Corey Knowlton, with his hundreds of thousands of dollars, is going to swoop into Africa, kill one of the few remaining Black Rhinos left on this earth (the population of Black Rhino is now less than 5,000), which will in turn save the giant animal – in his wretched trophy room of absolute horrors.
Knowlton’s hunt has been in limbo for over a year, as he had to apply for permits to bring the animal’s corpse back to the United States. However, the hunt is back on, as the United States Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) has approved his application to import his trophy. Of course, this hero trophy hunter also plans to distribute the meat of the slaughtered rhino to local village people.
Knowlton told CNN:
It wasn’t like I was a person hell-bent on going to kill a black rhino. I’m a person hell-bent on the survival of the black rhino, period.
Yeah, because paying $350,000 for the opportunity to go to “one of the thickest and nastiest areas” in one of the “most dangerous hunts” in which one can participate, and then paying the additional fees for taxidermy, importation, and transportation . . . yeah, he’s totally right. That doesn’t sound like someone hell-bent on killing one of these critically endangered animals just for the thrill and bragging rights – not at all.
It’s also important to point out that over 90 percent of the people in Namibia live off of $2 or less per day, making it the worst nation in the world in terms of income inequality.
President and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, Wayne Pacelle, issued the following statement:
With rhino poaching on the rise—more than 1,200 were poached in 2014 including two dozen in Namibia—it is the worst sort of mixed message to give a green light to American trophy hunters to kill rhinos for their heads. When the global community is working so hard to stop people from killing rhinos for their horns, we are giving a stamp of approval to a special class of privileged elite to kill these majestic animals as a head-hunting exercise. The inconsistency is startling, and upends our moral authority.
Is this really what conservation has become? A bunch of rich white people from developed nations (Americans aren’t the only ones) paying obscene amounts of money to mostly impoverished countries under the guise of “conservation” so they can add animals to their trophy rooms? Don’t worry, they pass the meat out to the locals, so that makes it ok.
Watch the CNN report, here:
Featured image via CNN Video Screen Capture