I haven’t blogged in a while, so you know that this topic has really struck a chord with me. Several weeks ago is when I first heard of Melissa Bachman and her penchant for killing exotic animals in South Africa and around the world. She is quite the superstar in the world of hunting, and her social media pages are filled with selfies and the magnificent beasts she’s killed (with perfect hair and makeup in each shot which is suspicious in and of itself. I suspect there is some pro-gun/hunting/whatever group sponsoring her in these faux hunts, but that is a whole other issue.) Bachman’s website reveals a “trophy room” showing her next to slain animals including deer, zebra and crocodile. She also stars in the “hardcore-style hunting” show “Winchester Deadly Passion.”
This bothers me on so many levels. First, how on Earth could anyone see such a creature in the wild (a rare opportunity indeed) and has the inclination to kill it? What kind of completely selfish, arrogant, narcissistic asshole does this? I would absolutely love to travel to Africa and witness these animals in their natural habitat. But unless one was coming at me full speed would I ever consider taking it’s life. This was not the case here. This woman pays plenty of money (or her sponsors do) to enter countries and hunt the native species. Many times it is in “canned environments” where the hunter has the full advantage because the animal is within an enclosed area and the hunter is taken to a spot where it feeds, etc. In addition, counties like South Africa are now cashing in on tourists with big egos and even bigger wallets by actually raising these animals and releasing them in such environments specifically for paid hunts. I had a visceral reaction to the picture of her with the dead lion the moment I saw it. It is so clearly wrong that I truly don’t understand any defense of it. People will say it is legal and that it is a tourism industry that helps South Africa. But at what cost?! To the environment and the people? It may be legal, but it is certainly not moral.
I grew up in a family of hunters, and although I have a distaste for it, I am not bothered by hunting if one plans on eating what he/she has killed. But to slay an animal for the sake of Facebook likes or to mount the head on your wall is reprehensible. Does one need to so desperately prove their status as the top occupier of the food chain? Our desensitization to the killing of both animals and humans is appalling….and quite possibly, linked. Wildlife management as practiced by government agencies is largely the use of public dollars to provide recreate to a tiny segment of the public at the expense of ecosystem health, animal welfare, and public safety. Hunting has NOTHING to do with conservation – that’s merely a line that the hunting lobby has been using for decades to make a barbaric form of recreation seem palatable to a justifiably disgusted public.
I believe that we should have respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part. I hope you will read more for yourself and I encourage you to sign the petition. It may not bring about change, but it will at least bring about awareness. Thank you.