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April 16, 2006

Canned Hunting

This is distasteful, yes:

The animals, believed to have been bought from zoos or circuses, were found in rusty cages at the Lunares reserve, near the small town of Monterrubio de la Serena. Seven people - the reserve owner, three staff and three hunters - were arrested and are expected to face trial. The surviving animals were taken to a sanctuary in Malaga.

The hunting of "big game" is the most shocking development in the dramatic growth of illegal hunting of rare or endangered animals in Spain. Police say that some reserves are organising "safaris" for hunters who want to kill imported antelope, protected wolves and the endangered Iberian lynx in the south and west of the country.

The three arrested hunters were Spaniards but police believe that illegal safari hunters, who pay up to £20,000 for the chance to shoot rare and endangered animals without the expense of travelling to Africa, may also come from Britain, Italy and America. Illegal hunting also takes place in Andalucía and Castilla-La Mancha.

It’s also, in part, a damned good idea. The hunting of the wild lynx, no, that’s not a good idea. But canned hunting? Yes, all for it.

One of the odder statistics out there about animals is that there are more tigers in captivity in the US than there are still alive in the wild. Better that someone shoots one of the ones already in captivity than one in the wild, no?

Even more, one in captivity is apparently worth $35,000 or so: which should be enough to prompt further breeding and raising efforts.

Shooting something stuck in a cage may not actually be all that gentlemanly but it might also be the key to the survival of the species: raising the value of something does tend to raise the production of that item. 

April 16, 2006 in Scams and Frauds | Permalink


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Let me start off by saying that as someone who does hunt I do it for biltong and the larder, not for trophies, but there are some who do, and if they do this ethically, I can't say that they are wrong. What I do find repugnant is the concept of killing a caged and possibly drugged animal. I think you will find that most hunters would agree with that sentiment. The people who do pay for this "pleasure" cannot, by rights be called hunters at all.

Hunting is a pursuit that pits the hunters skills against the instincts and cunning of the animal he stalks. The challenge of hunting is that although the hunter has a rifle he is far less bush aware than his quarry. Animals have better eyesight, smell and hearing and are far more alert to the environment. For big, clumsy homo-sapiens to get close enough to kill one, even with a rifle is difficult. Most stalked animals are not shot.

Put simply, if a human is too old, fat or lazy to put himself into the field to stalk his prey on foot in its environment he has no right to kill that animal. From my perspective, to justify it by saying that the money raised would be beneficial to animal welfare is as spurious as to say that legalised child prostitution would benifit child welfare. The money raised went into the pockets of some dodgy Spanish businessmen, not into the coffers of people concerned with wildlife conservation.

A far better, though equally contentious, alternative that would have a more real benefit to wildlife conservation would be to permit the limited hunting of trophy, endangered species within national parks. Certainly here in S Africa game conservation has acheived some remarkable successes with populations of elephant and other animals increasing. Unfortunately these programs are becoming victims of their own achievments. The Kruger park, for example, is becoming over-populated with elephants with the consequential threat of damaging the park's environmental balance. Ideally the Parks Board would like to relocate the excess of elephants to other parks, but relocation is not simple and often results in the death of the transported animal. Space in other parks is also limited and parks in neighbouring countries are not safe. The only alternative to reduce numbers is hunting.

Unfortunately the "animals are humans on four legs" brigade (local and international) are actively campaigning to prevent this. They fail to see that a park is a man made environment and thus needs to be managed carefully. They also fail to see that if the Parks Board could sell the right to hunt a small number of elephants each year to rich American and european hunters, large sums of money could be generated for wildlife conservation. Sadly, with their heads up their arses, these Disney fixated nitwits are condemning the national parks to a slow death by over grazing (and if you don't believe me, come to Africa and come and see the devastation left behind a herd of nellies as they wander around looking for food).

No, canned hunting is abhorant and should not be encouraged in any way.


Posted by: The Remittance Man | Apr 16, 2006 12:59:51 PM

Weren't Dick Cheney's quail non-wild?
The lawyer was certainly tame.

Posted by: auntymarianne | Apr 17, 2006 11:14:15 AM

Aunty Marianne,

It's open season on lawyers all year round. I don't have my copy of Rowland Ward to hand, but I seem to remember that unlike most other game, or even pests, any method of dispatching them is considered fair.


Posted by: The Remittance Man | Apr 17, 2006 11:33:25 AM