Wrong Message on Animals
The Pilot ran an Aug. 23 article about trophy hunters contributing dead animals to the FirstHealth Child Development Center in Pinehurst.
One of the animals was a white rhinoceros, which, if it was a northern white, may have been the last of its kind because they have been killed off by trophy hunters and roaming African bands. The southern white rhinos are under severe attack and will probably be extinct in several years.
The article puts a positive spin on killing animals so that hunters can decorate their houses with the carcasses. The contributors described trophy hunting as a "sport" and emphasized that the license fees are used by African governments to "develop their infrastructure -- new schools, running water and other ventures" -- ignoring the fact that a major portion of the fee goes into the pockets of corrupt officials.
Trophy hunting has a characteristic also found in dogfighting. Both "sports" involve some people who enjoy watching animals suffer and die. In dogfighting, the dogs are forced to fight for their lives but may live through the battle. In trophy hunting, the animal has no chance.
The trophy hunter, who may do his killing from the safety of a truck, shoots the animal in the body rather than the head, in order to preserve the head for mounting. The animal may live for hours in excruciating pain. An important difference in the two "sports" is that dogfighting carries with it a felony conviction.
The article also points out that herds are being culled in animal population control. In realistic terms, culling means total destruction as in the case of the northern rhinos.
The FirstSafari exhibit may have an important message for children: Injuring and killing animals is OK if you do it as a sport and have fun.
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