Hunting for sport blurs moral compass

By Michael Santone, Editor-in-Chief

Since the dawn of human evolution, sports and sporting events have contributed to human growth and development by incorporating skills used to survive with competitive activity.

Oftentimes, a fun spirited game that includes the thrill and agony of a win, coupled with a golden trophy, seems to be an outlet of traditional entertainment shared by communities of all walks of life.

But among the many recreational sports around the world, trophy hunting is by far the most grotesque and barbaric of them all.

Sure, the act of hunting was born through necessity as the growth of the human brain demanded a more densely-packed source of transferable energy. However, some have perverted the notion of gathering fresh meat to killing simply to fulfill a blood-lust.

This seemingly intrusive “hobby,” popular in Africa and in other loosely-regulated pockets of the planet, includes tracking down and killing rare and sometimes endangered animals or “game” for the reward of an ivory tusk or luscious mane.

Even the playful name given to the prey, in essence, encapsulates the hypocritical nature of this sport.

Trophy hunters claim that participating in the “hunt” is an act of conservation, because the funding from many safari outings circulate back into wildlife preserves.

But for the defenseless animal, surviving the hunt is just as much of a right-of-passage for them as it was for the indigenous people who developed killing for food in primitive times.

Preserve hunting absolutely limits an animal’s chance for survival.

It’s amazing that the practice is still popular and, more importantly, lucrative in 2019 when all of the mystical health properties have been debunked.

Consuming crushed rhinoceros horns will not cure erectile dysfunction despite current popular beliefs.

However, according to the Humane Society the practice still continues to thrive. In the last 10 years, American hunters have imported more than 1.2 million animals totaling more than 126,000 per year.

Recently, the subject has garnered media attention after photos of Donald Trump Jr. on safari holding the severed tail of an elephant became public.

Trump’s advocacy of hunting has influenced his father’s administration as well.

In March 2018, the current administration eased restrictions on big-game trophy hunting, including lions and elephants.

Limits on trophy hunting gained near-nationwide approval following the death of Cecil the lion at the hands of an American dentist, Walter Palmer, during a legal hunt in an African wildlife preserve.

Palmer, who was rightfully ostracized for the murder of Cecil, received backlash that set off a barrage of social media reactions and animal welfare activists.

Using the head of defenseless animals as a wall ornament doesn’t make you more of a man any more than collecting ears or fingers of dead slaves following a public lynching.

Ultimately, murder in the name of sport is deplorable.

This article has been updated to correct an error. it incorrectly claimed that Cecil the Lion was illegally killed. No laws were broken in the killing of Cecil. The Advocate regrets this error.