Monday, 7 July 2014

More media ignorance

It's bad enough that the media is ignorant on shooting and the shooting sports as a whole, and it would appear that every time they, the media, open their collective mouths they put their foot in it. This does not however prevent them taking the moral high ground, and being judge, jury, and executioner.

In yet another case of lazy journalism, a term used in its loosest sense, the American mass media has again jumped on a band wagon in an effort to not only demonise shooting but also a 19 year old student. What heinous crime had this student committed, well she, along with her parents, spent their money on a trip to Africa to go on safari. When the student returned home, or maybe beforehand, I do not know for sure, she posted pictures on her Facebook page. Facebok after receiving complaints from anti-hunting and animal rights groups, removed most of the pictures from this student Facebook page, without her permission.

Rather than the media being concerned at the abuse of freedom of speech, a right they wield every time they are accused of a legal infraction, they used the opportunity to push their anti-hunting stance. In area where the media, on the whole, refuses to be educated, they reported that endangered animals and wildlife were shot. This was and is wholly inaccurate. A link, for as long as it works, to an item on this issue in more detail can be found HERE.

From the perspective of those involved in conservation and management of nature and wildlife, there are certain truths that have to be addressed. The countries where these legal hunts occur receive large amounts of financial income from wealthy hunters around the world.
These countries are all too often too poor to provide financial resources to help protect, monitor, and track these animals, or to provide medical assistance were possible. The income from these legitimate hunters is also used to help finance the authorities who try to protect the wildlife from poachers, [animal rights groups often identify these people as illegal hunters, one assumes so that word hunter becomes synonymous with the word illegal] an immensely costly undertaking, which has to be maintained all year round.

The hunter also aids and assists with the necessary cull of animals in order to keep the breeding stock healthy, and to remove the sick and elderly animals in an effort to prevent undue suffering. These actions could be undertaken by the state, but in the countries where health care for human population is almost non-existent, the state could ill afford to underwrite such an expense. In the cases where there is meat fit for consumption by the local peoples, this hunting supplies an additional source of protein in the form of the meat from the animals, little if anything is ever thrown away.

In wealthier countries where hunting is undertaken, the hunter also provides a vast amount of financial assistance in the protection and conservation of the respective countries wildlife, for it is an inconvenient truth that hunters and conservationism go hand in hand. The hunter does not want to obliterate either their chosen game or its habitat, it's beholden upon them to ensure that there is game and habitat for tomorrow, and in the years to come. Whilst these countries may have the finances available, they more often than not, do not have the will to undertake such house-keeping activities; preferring to support the mass urban populace, who have little if any understanding of the management requirements to keep this green and pleasant land a viable place for food production, and for nature to exist.

The animal-rights and anti-hunting groups are conspicuous by their absence when it comes to assisting in these areas, preferring to attack the obvious target in an effort to get as much coverage and exposure for their group as possible. In recent months there have been high profile instances where animal rights/anti-hunting groups have fallen at the Public Relations fence. In the UK, the R.S.P.C.A has lost income and support from the public all because of its attitude to promoting prosecutions of either groups or individuals, rather than on protecting animals.

In the U.S, Dallas Safari Club held an auction to hunt a rhino, this was a legal hunt, with all necessary paperwork and authorities well aware of the situation, and once again the animal to be culled was identified. If the hunt was not successful no other animal would be culled, then undoubtedly, another auction would be held, raising more money for the wildlife protection body. The D.S.C auction raised in the region of $600.000 on this one item. The animal welfare group's response to this was to contact lawyers in an effort to prevent either the hunt or the importation of the subsequent trophy. The cost of this legal action, well there are no figures available at present, but from similar types of actions undertaken by these groups it will be in the area of $500,000 - $750,000.

So all the time there are people like Kendall Jones and her family, prepared to pay large sums of money to undertake what the state cannot, there will be wildlife for hunters with either a rifle or a camera to shoot all across the African continent. Closer to home, small game shooting from Lands' end to john O'Groats, will continue to subsidise the state, in every effort to keep the countryside we know and love a pleasant place to be.

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