Animal parts are hung on the walls; their bodies stuffed and posed for bragging rights. Cruel practices such as baiting, hounding and trapping ensure that animals don’t stand a chance and hunters bag an easy prize. This is the modern day multi-million thriving industry known as trophy hunting, or the shooting of selective animals under official government license for leisure or sport. But they are animals, not awards. Trophy hunting should be banned because putting a price tag on an animal is not morally correct, it hurts the overall population of the species, and works against conservationists and wildlife centers.
One might imagine that the animal being shot is the only one being harmed, however that is not the case. Caitlin O’ Conner from the National Geographic magazine says, “Hunters are not like natural predators. They target the largest specimens; those with the biggest tusks, manes, antlers or horns.” Due to the fact that they are constantly being chased by hunters for their body parts, animals have learned to adapt in a way that allows future generations to be a less frequent target for hunters. However, this can have an array of negative ecological consequences for the species.
In addition, trophy hunting can raise many moral and ethical concerns surrounding the topic. The continued existence of the animals that roam the land is now a question of human demand, whim, and calculation. If a species’ greatest value is as a dead trophy, won’t its days be inevitably numbered? In July 2015, international public outcry followed the killing of a lion named Cecil, a famous, ‘protected’ lion in Zimbabwe, first shot with an arrow. After 40 hours of intense and excruciating agony, he was finally shot dead with a gun, which is not an unusual occurrence in trophy hunting. His death signified awareness of the cruel acts against nature happening all around us even today.
Hunters may argue that the payment for being allowed to kill an endangered species can provide funding for wildlife centers. This is not true because most of the money raised does not go directly towards supporting the species. For example, the critically endangered black rhino was paid roughly $326,000 by a hunter to kill. Most of those funds were equally distributed among animals that needed protection.
Trophy hunting should be banned because it does not work towards restoration, puts an ethically wrong bounty on an animal, and destroys its overall population. Trump’s new wildlife board has recently branded trophy hunting as better for conservation, and clearly this is not the case. The Humane Society reported around 1.26 million wildlife trophies imported to the United States between 2005 and 2014. The statistics prove that trophy hunting is still very much alive, so we need to work together to stop this injustice affecting the Earth’s animals today by signing a petition from the Humane Society. Because they are animals, not awards.