Source: Bullet Safaris
US television presenter, Melissa Bachman recently sparked international outrage over her boastful Facebook post of a trophy kill. The image of her grinning (weapon in hand of course – a totally ‘fair’ fight) over a dead adult male lion, captioned “an incredible day hunting in South Africa! Stalked inside 60-yards on this beautiful male lion. What a hunt!” went viral, with stunned commenters asking “HOW is this allowed to happen?” and “surely this is illegal?”. Unfortunately, it isn’t, and while Bachman was well within the law to destroy this animal’s life, is she really within her right?
Bachman’s photo that went viral. Source: melissabachman.com
It is important to note that this is not her only kill and that she proudly updates her website (melissabachman.com) with all of her kill-happy pursuits, from domestic to international.
Cuddle your victim. Source: melissabachman.com
Bachman is simply the current poster-child for this disgraceful hobby. The sad reality is that she is not alone in her pursuits, with many travelling from all areas of the world to fulfil their thirst for blood and need to kill. In doing so, they have left the rest of us to ponder why anyone would have such an urge, and how they are possibly allowed to pursue their vile pass-time.
The ultimate indignity; the weapon used for the kill, leaning against their lifeless bodies. Source: Africa Big 5’s hunting gallery.
Depending on the location, there are different types of game-hunting. One is a guided tour throughout the area for a ridiculously high fee, and the other takes place in an enclosed area of land, with practically farm-raised animals.
Never a fighting chance – hunters use the tricky ‘kill while relaxed/eating’ technique. Source: Africa Big 5’s hunting gallery.
Prices for these ventures are sky-high, but the cost does not deter these kill-happy folk. Just one of many companies, Bullet Safaris offers a range varying prices for their assistance in making a kill, that of course includes the Government licensing fee – the reason that this is legal. To hunt a lion, an elephant, a leopard and a buffalo (all in the wild) in Tanzania, you can pay the hefty $54,850 fee, of which only $4,900 is attributed to Government costs. Or you can hunt other animals on these murder safaris, including Baboons, Crocodiles, Hippopotamus’, Giraffes and Zebras. You can view this particular safari’s fees here.
Source: Bullet Safaris
Louis Theroux perfectly captures the barbaric ‘sport’ in his documentary ‘African Hunting Party‘. Watching Louis doing his best not to cringe as he represents the morally graced was painful. As with all of his documentaries, he exemplifies the intelligent side of the debate, while still earning enough trust to infiltrate the unbelievable an unimaginable; even coaxing them to discuss their hideous pass-time in detail while bringing him along for a kill that he of course refused to partake in.
‘Time to kill, my baby girl’. Louis Theroux endures this unnerving scene as a child is helped by her father to kill an animal. Source: Louis Theroux – African Hunting Party
A father describes the ecstasy of the hunt while he watches his little girl kill. Louis is doing his best not to vomit in the hut. Source: Louis Theroux – African Hunting Party.
Louis’ journey delves into the world of purpose-bred game – those poor animals raised only for slaughter, for no reason other than greed. This is of course opposed to the aforementioned wild hunts, wherein hunters – professional or otherwise – explore the arid lands with their next kill on their minds. Whichever is the most morally reprehensible is difficult to determine; killing an animal that has been raised in a comfortable farm-like existence, where they are fed and relaxed with no chance to escape, or slaughtering a wild beast on their own native land, living amongst their family – perhaps with their own young – and never expecting their life to end with a hunter’s bullet.
Bred to be hunted – a face held in captivity, awaiting an unnecessary death at the hands of a hunter. Source: Louis Theroux – African Hunting Party.
There are of course the many deluded that will try to justify game hunting by claiming that their heavy fees are a boost to the local economy and that it has a somehow positive influence on conservation, but they have been absolutely disproven. A recent study authored by Economists at Large analysed the literature on the economics of trophy hunting and has come to reveal that “African countries and rural communities derive very little benefit from trophy hunting revenue.” – Wild Life Extra. Economist Rod Campbell (lead author of the study) commented that “revenues constitute only a fraction of a percent of GDP and almost none of that ever reaches rural communities.” While I would call the suggestion that ‘trophy hunting plays a significant role in African economic development’ delusional and a flimsy justification, Campbell puts it more kindly, referring to the idea as “misguided” – Wild Life Extra.
“Take me on vacation honey, I want to be a killer” – couples enjoy a romantic getaway. Source: Africa Big 5’s hunting gallery.
The bottom economic line is that even pro-hunting sources found that only three percent of the claimed (by hunters) figure of $200 million a year actually reaches the local communities. The rest? Mostly of course to the fat-cats who run the hunting safaris themselves. The economic report found that “trophy hunting revenue never accounts for more than 0.27 percent of the GDP” and that “trophy hunting revenues account for only 1.8 percent of overall tourism in nine investigated countries that allow trophy hunting“. Rendering their entire (already flimsy) justification irrelevant, the report concludes that “the (hunting) industry is actually economically insignificant and makes a minimal contribution to national income“. You can read the full study report here.
Grinning ear-to-ear – her mother must be proud. Source: Africa Big 5’s hunting gallery.
Taking a heavy steer away from the economic argument, there are of course the very real consequences of the hunting industry. Many targeted species have suffered severely due to the greed of trophy hunters; a perfect example would be the quickly lessening population of the face of Africa itself – the African lion. Wild Life Extra explains that “the number of African lions has declined by more than 50 percent in the past three decades, with just 32,000 believed remaining today.” Frighteningly, there is a strong correlation between this sickening practice and the declination of these majestic creatures, “the steepest declines in lion population numbers occur in African countries with the highest hunting intensity, illustrating the unsustainability of the practice.” – Wild Life Extra
No matter how you slice it, the barbarianism of game hunting is unjustified and unnecessary. There is no purpose for such blood-lust, other than to boost the bragging rights of these killers. Lions hunt in a pride, humans hunt in a truck – such cowardice is the furthest thing from pride.