I don't hunt. I don't understand hunting. If you hunt and eat your kill, I don't have much of a problem with it, because whether I like it or not it does quite a bit to contribute to population control of wildlife, and it puts food on the table. I don't see it as too different from me going to Safeway and buying a steak; there was a live animal, now there is not, and now it's food.
I will never understand the enjoyment in killing an animal; my dad hunted duck for a while and probably wasn't happy that I wouldn't even try it. I was too young to tell him what I thought about his trophy duck stuffed and hung on the wall, but truthfully...it was a beautiful animal and should have been beautiful outside and still alive.
The hypocrisy? I used to fish. I don't eat fish, but the Spouse Thingy does, and we never fished past the point of tossing perfectly good fish out. Where I would flip the fark out if he went hunting, I wouldn't have a problem if he went fishing again. But then I also know what it feels like to be hooked; it hurts, but you get over it pretty quickly.
I've had it described to me in vivid detail what it's like to be shot, and I can't get past that.
But still...if you hunt for food, I won't join you but I won't condemn you for it.
If you hunt for total sport...yeah, I'm a bit judgmental about that. If you hunt for the bragging rights of taking down a near-endangered species, you are a total farkwad and pretty much deserve the backlash you're getting.
There is no excuse for African hunting vacations, where you pay fifty grand for the right to corner an animal and kill it, for no reason other than you wanted to. There's no possible justification for doing it. If it's fun, you're pretty sick and twisted.
The dentist who is currently sputtering "I'm sorry" for paying $54,000 to torture an African lion, because he "didn't know it was a local favorite" is completely missing the point. He's defending himself by saying that he was assured it was legal; he's missing the point on that, too.
Legal in this doesn't matter; ethics matters.
He lured a lion out of its protected preserve with meat, shot it with an arrow, and it suffered for forty goddamn hours before he could finish the job. Forty hours of tracking a wounded animal that grew weaker with every minute. Forty hours of agony. Then he cut off its head and skinned it.
He cut off its head.
That does not come from a rational mind. That does not come from a rational, or even nice, person.
Yes, nice people hunt. They take their rifles and get in their trucks, go to wherever hunters go, they chase down deer and fowl, and they shoot them. But most hunters I know don't torture their prey; they make the kill and then prepare the carcass, and then they take the meat and use it for food.
But nice people do not take such joy from brutal killing, and taking the head and skin as a trophy. Maybe it makes me some kind of twat, but I don't really care; that dentist (who, BTW, has a history littered with hunting near-endangered animals and doesn't seem to care, and I suspect he's only sorry because people are pissed) is reaping his own just rewards.
My sensibilities tell me I should care that he's being devoured by the collective wolves of injustice and being held guilty for something that may have been legal, but my sensibilities are being overrun by anger and sadness.
And the end result: that lion was the alpha. The next lion to take that position in his pride will, as part of his ascension, kill the cubs. And there were at least a dozen of them. The pride itself is in danger because deaths in prides can be so disruptive that they begin erratic scattering and wind up outside their protected territories...this could mean that not only do those cubs die, but a larger percentage of the pride as well.
He didn't just kill one lion in that pride; he may have essentially condemned them all.
Yeah. That sounds fun.