Killing animals should never be considered a sport.
Simply put, killing an animal for sport is animal cruelty.
Trophy hunting is killing an animal for the sole purpose of entertainment. Many people who hunt wild animals for trophies do so to hang the animals’ bodies on their wall and to pose in photos. Trophy hunting should never be considered a sport, but it’s labeled as one since there is no other benefit to killing the animals.
More than 125,000 animals are killed each year for trophies.
Shocking, right? Reports found that between 2005 and 2014, more than 1.26 million wildlife trophies were imported to the U.S. alone. That averages to approximately 126,000 animals killed and imported into our country each year. Between 2008 and 2017, nearly 40,000 animal trophies from African elephants, just over 8,000 from leopards, and 14,000 from African lions were exported worldwide.
The most coveted animals to kill are the Big Five.
The Big Five is made up of endangered animals like lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and Cape buffalos. The “Big Five” was coined by trophy hunters as some of the largest and most dangerous animals to hunt. Today, the name represents the most iconic animals in Africa.
Most trophy hunters are American.
You may recall that the person who killed the infamous Cecil the Lion was an American trophy hunter. Unfortunately, wealthy Americans are fueling the trophy hunting industry. Canada, however, provides the most amount of wild trophy hunting experiences, with most US-imported animal trophies coming from the country to our north. In 2015, more than 50 percent of all canned-hunted lions in South Africa were done so at the hands of US trophy hunters.
Canned hunting is trophy hunting.
Canned hunting is when animals such as lions are already accustomed to humans and are bred specifically to be shot and stuffed. These animals are locked in enclosed spaces with the hunter, and are often shot while eating food provided to them. Canned hunts do not allow for the animal to escape and is a guaranteed kill.
While South Africa is the only African country to have canned hunts, the United States also has these facilities. Texas, for instance, has numerous venues with exotic animals that offer canned hunting packages.
Lion cubs are hand-raised and then sold to canned shoots.
Sadly, many pseudo-sanctuaries with big cat cubs are known for their selfies or their volunteer programs to help raise the animals. What hides behind the camera is that most of these big cats are then sold into cruel entertainment and canned hunting venues when they get too big and dangerous to be in close proximity to people.
In South Africa, more than 8,000 captive-bred lions are kept in more than 250 breeding facilities. This cruel trade is well-documented in the award-winning documentary Blood Lions.
32 US states allow the trophy hunting of black bears.
More than half of the United States allows the hunting of black bears for sport. Florida held some of the most controversial hunts in 2016. After 75 percent of residents opposed the hunt, the state went ahead and hunters killed 306 bears in just two days—so much that officials called off the rest of the week’s hunt. Anger from local residents erupted when it was reported 36 black bears were lactating females.
New Jersey is the most recent state to ban the trophy hunting of black bears. The law passed in 2018.
Trophy hunting doesn’t help conservation.
While trophy hunts can cost tens of thousands, very little of that money goes back into the community or into conservation programs. Currently, there is no research showing how any breeding facility or canned hunting operation has made any significant contribution to uplifting communities.
On top of that, the animals targeted for trophies are not surplus animals, but are some of the most endangered species on the planet. Lion populations, for example, have been decimated by trophy hunting among other threats. A 2019 report noted that 40 percent of the big game hunting zones in Zambia and 72 percent in Tanzania are now classified as depleted solely because the big game has been hunted out of the area.
Trophy hunting is animal cruelty.
Simply put, killing an animal for sport is animal cruelty. Trophy hunting does not take into consideration animal welfare and does not put animal welfare first. Unfortunately, many people who take trophy hunting excursions are inexperienced hunters, and the animals suffer cruel and agonizing deaths at their hands.