Bollocks?: Kendall Jones’ Hunting Exploits

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Right, first of all I need to make one thing abundantly clear, I am not writing this post in the hopes that it will send any more animosity or hate towards Miss Kendall. Whilst I do have a huge problem with her hunting and killing these beautiful, noble animals I don’t think that hurling abuse her way will do anything to make her see the fault in her actions, or do anything other than create pointless arguments online that will do nothing to help the animals that are being killed. If I try to handle this with a bit of thought and composure then I hope any hunters who might read this will agree and change their minds. I am fully aware that this will probably have as much of an impact on the world as a drop of water has on the ocean but at least I’ve tried. Here we go…

In case you’re not aware, an American cheerleader called Kendall Jones made the headlines recently when she posted pictures on Facebook of her hunting trip to Africa which included shots of her posing with animals she’d shot and killed. The pictures show the 19 year old smiling as she poses with lions, cheetahs, hippos and Zebra that she hunted. These images have caused a huge wave of aggression to be sent Jones’ way from outraged people across the globe.

Kendall-Jones-5Perhaps the most perplexing part of this story is that Kendall genuinely seems to believe she’s doing a good thing here. “Hunters are the biggest conservationists there are,” she said in an interview with the New York Daily News, adding “we want animal populations to grow and thrive!” The irony that Kendall wants to see animals thrive whilst putting a bullet through their heads is apparently lost on her. If we could ask that lion whether he felt Kendall was helping his species thrive I think he’d have some objections on the matter.

Kendall-Jones-3A photo Kendall published showed her stood next to a seemingly dead White Rhino (which is an endangered species) caused an uproar amongst activists. Kendall defended the image stating the rhino was simply drugged and that “The vet drew blood, took DNA samples, took body and head measurements, treated a leg injury and administered antibiotics.” In Kendall’s defense I’ve played enough video games to know that gun she’s holding doesn’t look nearly powerful enough to take down a rhino. There have been reports that Kendall’s first kill was a White Rhino when she was 13 but I’ve found no source for these claims and they may be getting confused with the picture above. Whether or not the rhino is alive or dead will be of little consequence to the animals she did kill, whose blood you can clearly see as she beams beside them.

Kendall-Jones-1Kendall-Jones-2Kendall-Jones-4Kendall-Jones-6Kendall-Jones-7Kendall-Jones-8As you can imagine, thousands of people have been outraged by the pictures and have sent Kendall messages ranging from:

“No matter how you look at it, seeing people smiling over the dead body of such a majestic animal is just sad.”

“Sure . . . Makes plenty of sense to travel to another continent, and slaughter endangered apex predators for fun, yup, that certainly won’t disrupt the local ecosystem or further diminish the already weakening gene pool of these animals.”

Others were less restrained:

“You are absolute scum. I hope a gorgeous African animal takes its own revenge on you one day for all the beautiful souls you have shot.”

“I’d love to drop kick you into a lions’ den, see how you do without your gun,” one commenter writes.

I will admit that when I first saw these pictures I felt like responding in a similar fashion and there is a small part of me that would like to ask Kendall how she’d like it if she was stuck in the wild without any guns to protect her from all the animals that could do her harm. At least they wouldn’t put it on Facebook. I understand that animals sometimes need culling but if there’s one species that could stand to lose a few billion members it’s humans. That’s not the answer though, is it. Throwing abuse at the girl and others like her will only make them ignore us.

In a weird way I think Kendall does believe what she’s doing is okay, but I beg you Kendall (and others like you), instead of hunting animals, why not put down your gun and work towards preserving them? There is no glory or sport in killing a defenseless animal from so far away it can’t even see you, and perhaps the creature seems like some kind of wild beast, but this “beast” isn’t the one coming to your home and killing you. Animals are facing enough trouble just by the mere overpopulation of humanity and shooting them will only hasten their extinction.

I understand that some people hunt to survive. They use the kill to feed their families (often literally) and to this I have less of a problem. If you’re going to kill an animal, at least let its death help others thrive. I’m lucky enough to live in a society where I’ve been known to survive on Pot Noodles for months on end but I appreciate that in some parts of the world hunting is necessary for the survival of communities. Ironically, these communities who must hunt in order to stay alive tend to show more care and consideration for their prey’s well-being than the western hunters who merely do it for sport.

If you’re lucky enough to not need to kill your dinner then I ask this: What right do you have to kill animals for sport? Regardless of whether you’re hunting lions in Africa or Stags in Scotland, what right is it of yours to end that creatures life? Animals have as much right to live as we do, maybe even more. It may be tempting for us to consider ourselves separate from animals but the fact is; for all our intellect we are a violent species that slaughters one another and trashes the planet. Compared to us, lions, tigers, bears, and rhinos are peaceful creatures who kill because they would die otherwise.

Humanity is blessed with intelligence which has allowed us to become so high up in the food chain we don’t even need to bother hunting to feed ourselves. I worry about the psychology of people who feel a sense of satisfaction and joy when they kill a beautiful living creature, whether it’s a pheasant or a lion. As a gamer I often read stories about how video games are turning me into tomorrows serial killer but after shooting a room full of people in Call of Duty, I can turn off the game with the knowledge that no one was hurt and it was all just pretend. Video game violence is an especially hot topic in America where there is a huge gun and hunting culture which is apparently fine to teach children but God forbid they play Halo.

Some people might be wondering if I’m a vegetarian and may accuse me of hypocrisy when I say I’m not. Humans have evolved to eat meat and plants, we have two different types of canine teeth to help us eat meat and our closest ape cousin, the Bonobo, also lives on a diet of meat as well as fruit and veg. I don’t have a problem eating meat as long as the animal is not endangered and was not treated cruelly before I ate it. Just because a chicken is destined to be on my plate doesn’t mean it needs to be kept in pain and misery in some awful battery farm. Let it live happily until it’s matured and then give it a painless death it knows nothing about. I try to make sure the meat I eat is sourced from places that treats the animals well. The idea of eating Foie Gras is disgusting and I can’t understand why someone would eat it knowing the pain the ducks and geese go through. Just because an animal is destined to be someones dinner doesn’t mean you get to treat it like shit. Hell, most of us will be food for worms in the end.

I like to believe that your average human being would like to coexist with nature, and I think a lot of people do try to decrease their negative effect on the planet in the hopes that we can undo the damage we’ve done. The fact is though, we are constantly making it harder and harder for wild animals to survive and hunting them sure as hell isn’t helping. What’s that? You used a gun to shoot an unsuspecting animal from a distance so far it couldn’t even detect your presence? Would you like your medal now or later? Surely you’re going to hang its head upon your wall so you can tell your friends about the epic battle you had with an animal that wasn’t even aware you could see it.

If you want my respect, shoot an animal with a camera, I’ve spent hours watching documentaries on TV.

If you’d like to help out the animals in Africa then check out these sites and maybe donate a bit of cash:

http://www.awf.org/

http://www.tusk.org/

“When a man wants to murder a tiger, he calls it sport; when a tiger wants to murder him, he calls it ferocity.” –George Bernard Shaw

“Killing animals for sport, for pleasure, for adventures, and for hides and furs is a phenomenon which is at once disgusting and distressing. There is no justification in indulging in such acts of brutality.” –His Holiness the Dalai Lama

 

 


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