I have been involved in animal activism for over a decade. I’ve read countless articles and books and seen countless films that detail the horrors of humanity’s war on animals. I spent six years of my life working for a nonprofit organization that did undercover investigations into factory farms and slaughterhouses. Let’s just say that, in terms of animal exploitation, I’ve seen some shit.
But almost nothing disgusts me more than trophy hunting.
For those not familiar, trophy hunting is different than hunting animals for food. It is the act of killing animals so that you can own and display parts of their bodies. Think of someone who goes to Africa to kill a lion just so he or she can bring back the lion’s head and mount it on their wall.
These scumbags often pay thousands of dollars to travel overseas with the sole intention of shooting innocent, defenseless animals to death, many of whom are considered endangered.
Take the recent exploits of Donald Trump, Jr. Sometime last year, this paragon of entitled nepotism traveled to Mongolia where he shot and killed an Argali sheep – an endangered species considered a national treasure. What a big man, right? Killing a sheep. A permit for this illegal and heinous act was granted retroactively by the Mongolian government because, you know, daddy is the President of the United States.
And we all remember the story of Cecil the lion, who was ruthlessly killed by a deranged dentist from Minnesota. The price tag for Cecil? $50,000 dollars. The poor lion died a slow, agonizing death that took 12 hours as he was shot multiple times with a bow and arrow. All so Dr. Death could bring back his head or hide.
I wish I could put into words my sheer contempt for people who do this, but that would be impossible. You see, there are no words that exist to express my feelings. To me, these acts of sadistic, zero-empathy, selfish vanity are beneath humanity. I’d call the people who commit them trash, but that would be an insult to garbage as even waste can sometimes be useful for things like recycling or compost.
To me, these people bear a striking resemblance to serial killers of humans. Both derive pleasure from killing and both keep trophies of their victims to be able to relive and revel in their sickening acts. Fuck these people.
To combat this vile behavior, the Obama administration introduced a ban on bringing certain trophies back to the United States, most notably from elephants hunted in Zimbabwe and Zambia. Sadly, though not surprisingly considering his son’s disgraceful conduct, the Trump administration has reversed these bans clearing the way for trophy hunters to do their worst.
So, what can we do? We can vote for politicians who promise to ban trophies from entering the United States and we can shame the fuck out of people who engage in such despicable behavior. We need to make trophy hunting so socially unacceptable that no one would dare do it.
If you have expendable income to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars, why not spend that money helping animals instead of harming them? Shoot them with a camera, not a gun.
Main image: Don Jr. and Eric Trump on a trophy hunt