Sometimes we humans are a sorry lot

The image if the Great White Hunter is considered sacred in some circles. Unfortunately these days this is little more than an image. Well, where there's a problem, there's a commercial solution. Come to South Africa, and we'll fix you up!

The deal is simple. We'll breed lions in captivity, keep them in a cage, feed them and protect them all their lives, and in general make sure that they know nothing of the Great Outdoors and how to live there as a lion. Then we'll take that lion, release it in a "hunting lodge" (a small park several acres in size with high and often electrified fenced around it so that the Dangerous Wild Animal has nowhere to go and can't hide). Just pay us a lot of money (say, between $25,000 and $40,000 depending on the arrangement you want) and we'll drive you in there so you can dress up in your camo gear, blast a lion to kingdom come with a Very Big Gun, pose for a photo, and have the carcass sent off to a taxidermist so you can hang a trophy on your wall at home. And if you want something else than a lion (say, a buffalo, or a zebra, or even a giraffe) that's no problem: we've got lots of those, too. Elephants and rhino's are reserved for poachers protected, but everything else you can blast away with any sort of artillery you fancy, as long as your money is good. After all we're here to make sure you have a great time!

Needless to say this was a rather popular package deal during the soccer worldcup games, but this form of "hunting" (for lack of a better word) is nothing new. Protests against it have been an on-going process... without much success. Which is a pity.

Don't get me wrong: I have nothing against hunting per sé. Very few animals die of old age in nature, especially in Africa. Eventually they are eaten by something bigger, faster, more fit and/or more healthy than they are. And such a death is seldom quick, painless or what we like to all "humane" - a zebra that's being taken down by lions would be much better off with a well-placed shot from a proficient hunter. Nature simply has no concept of mercy or cruelty - it is merely a continuous statistical process of survival and selection of the fittest. Man has always been part of that process, and even though we are well past the eat-or-be-eaten stage, some of the hunter/gatherer still lives on inside us all. And let's face it: most people who protest against ethical hunting don't flinch at buying the products of the bio-industry in their local supermarkets. The development of an egg into a vacuum-packed piece of chicken is simply a production process, and nothing more. Even the fact that it still requires a chicken and an egg is simply considered annoying but inevitable overhead.

So hunting, if done ethically and skillfully, is not necessarily a bad thing if seen in its proper perspective. I'm even prepared to consider that if the prey has a fair chance of escape (be it through flight or through hiding) you can find some element of sport in it, if you're so inclined.

But this... This isn't hunting. I don't know what it is, but hunting ain't.

Movie producer Kevin Richardson has made a film about it. Maybe it will help... but I doubt it. :-(


Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...