Recently, “poaching” has come under a harsh light. With the killing of Cecil the lion in July, animal rights activists have been fighting for an end to big-game hunting. Walter Palmer, a dentist from Minnesota, has come under fire for the illegal baiting and shooting of Cecil. Although illegally done, what Palmer did wasn’t technically poaching. To poach is to “trespass, especially on another’s game preserve, in order to steal animals or to hunt” (“poach”). Palmer was practicing a common sport called “trophy hunting.” Trophy hunting is the killing of animals for a “trophy” such as a horn or a head. Although brutally killing endangered animals as a pleasure activity sounds horrific, it’s not as bad as it may seem. Trophy hunting, unlike poaching, is entirely legal, and when used in the right way, can actually be beneficial to both the human race and the endangered animal kingdom.
Opposing views claim that the killing of animals is inhumane and brutal. Graphic images lead people to believe that charging a high price to kill animals would actually increase poaching, and could only end in the extinction of multiple species. Not only would it encourage poaching, but the public is so disgusted by the idea of trophy hunting that they believe all tourism would be discouraged. Consumers see advertisements that promote a ban on hunting, showing gruesome pictures of slaughtered animals. These images influence people to have strong negative opinions about trophy hunting. However, these opinions are just that-- opinions.
The facts about trophy hunting show that it can actually help anti-poaching in the long run. With all the backlash from the Walter Palmer case, the media has been pushing a ban on all trophy hunting...
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...% (“Potential”). Thus, the lack of hunting has actually negatively affected wildlife populations, proving that trophy hunting is essential to conserving endangered big-game (Packer et al.).
The media sends out powerful images to its listeners, showing magnificent beasts lying helpless at the feet of people who would not typically stand a chance against these great animals. And although these messages provoke passionate responses, these responses are driven by emotion and not facts. To stop and research the facts is to understand that trophy hunting contributes to anti-poaching, rakes in income for impoverished countries, promotes tourism where it is not typically prevalent, and actually increases wildlife conservation. One must remember to keep emotions and reality in perspective in order to view graphic images that the media claims are “immoral” rationally.
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