In my book ‘Monkey Mind Robot Body’ one of my main characters is shocked, as a little girl, when her father takes her trophy hunting in Africa. She is stunned and appalled that her father is shooting and killing wildlife.
It is something that has mystified me all my life; why do people kill animals for fun?
Ok, some hunt for food but I am discussing those who hunt and kill for pleasure. Many are Trophy hunters, others say they do it for the public’s protection. In the UK we have the appalling sport of fox hunting, the excuse for their brutal sport is that foxes are a pest. In America bears are hunted because they are regarded as a danger to humans but I think statistics show that humans are a danger to humans as many more people are killed by humans each year than by bears.
Some say they kill them for science, in the 1800’s scientists went out into the countryside and killed birds, reptiles, animals and insects in the name of science because they could only study these creatures when they were pinned to a board.
The beauty of nature; do these killers, hunters and scientists not see this? Are they so unattached to this world, to the other creatures on it that they have no regard for other life? There are probably many reasons why trophy hunters do what they do but I wonder why they do not regard nature in a more positive way? Why the bloodlust? I wonder if they are soulless people. Perhaps too self-centered to care about any other creature on this planet. Madam Blavatsky, founder of the Theosophical Society, said that she saw many soulless people walking the streets going about their business. Where is one’s conscience in this need for killing wildlife for leisure?
Surely people who hunt and kill animals for pleasure are not listening to their conscience? Their conscience must speak to them but they ignore it or shout over this voice of justice with an ego driven bellow. Do we need to remind these people that conscience is there for a purpose?
Thankfully there have been many champions for the cause of protecting the creatures of this planet. One such campaigner was Paul Kroegel, who lived on Pelican Island in Florida and during the 1890’s he set out to protect the birds from the hunters that were after them. The birds were being hunted almost to extinction for their plumage. This era was known as ‘the feather wars’ and Kroegel would sit out in the lake, in his boat, with his gun. When he saw the hunters coming, he would fire some warning shots, whether it was to the hunters or for the birds, who presumably flew off at the sound of them, I don’t know. His work attracted so much attention that soon a law was passed for the protection of the wildlife of that area and a statue set up of him.
Another champion is Leo Ryan, an American Congressman who is mostly known for being killed at the Jonestown massacre. In the 1970’s there was uproar about the seal pups being slaughtered for their fur. In March 1978 Ryan went to Newfoundland to investigate this and was stunned at the number of pups being shot. He lay himself down between the seals and the hunters in protest at what they were doing, this action brought international media and the worlds attention was on the seals. New rules and regulations were put in place to protect the seals from this slaughter.
Recently a new law has come into place in the UK regarding Invasive Alien Species, in other words animals such as grey squirrels. Should you come across one that is injured, take it in and tend to it, then when it is better you release it back into the countryside, well that is now illegal to do. One has to have a license to release squirrels into the countryside.
One of the good things about social media is naming and shaming. I often see posts doing just this kind of thing about trophy hunters, those people who like to hunt wild animals for recreation. There are many posts naming the hunter in the photograph who sits smiling alongside the dead animal they have just shot. It was not that long ago that a dentist was in all the papers for shooting dead a lion who was very popular on the safari trail. 
“Trophy hunters slay wild animals for recreation, displaying their ‘trophies’ – usually in the form of horns, antlers, hides or heads – as proof of their kills. Hunters often hang the animal parts in specially designed trophy rooms, also known as game rooms or gun rooms. Bizarrely, supporters of trophy hunting claim that killing endangered animals is an effective way of protecting them.” This quote is from the Born Free Organisation.
The Born Free Website reminds as that trophy hunting is big business, and adds; “Trophy hunting is a cruel throwback to a colonial past, and the targeting of particular animals (usually those with the most impressive traits such as the biggest tusks or the darkest manes) disrupts animal societies and has knock-on effects for populations and ecosystems that we are only just beginning to understand.”
There have been many groups, charities, organizations trying to spread this message but alas, this type of ‘recreation’ continues and what is worrying is that many endangered species are targets of these trophy hunters.
Many people protest this action in peaceful ways. Extinction Rebellion (XR), though usually regarded as protesters against climate change, also protest against the endangered animal trading. In 2016 they made a film ‘Racing Extinction’ which explains the problems this is causing for our eco-system and how it threatens wildlife. But XR are now being deemed as terrorists by governments for their tactics in trying to save the planet from human disaster. 
It feels like soulless people are stopping soulful people from saving the animals, the countryside and our lives from catastrophe. This is from the XR newsletter “…the Government and the police can’t seem to shake off their old habits of responding to peaceful protest with disproportionate intimidation, as the police erroneously included XR, along with other non violent environmental groups, in its anti-radicalization scheme.”
Why are humans shooting animals for fun? I don’t know, I just do not understand it and I am not alone in this. I finish with a quote and picture from the writer and actor, Ricky Gervais.