A topic that is very important to me is hunting. Many people are of the opinion, hunting would be necessary without being informed what is really going on. The following facts are based on German hunting habits, thus, they may differ from the data of your country.
Several videos made by the Austrian animal rights group "VGT" during a hunt nearby Zurndorf in Burgenland (That's a small federal state in the East of Austria) show that many hunters are violent. The organisation described the happening in their magazine ("Tierschutz konsequent" 2/08). I give you a short summary of the text:
Sunday, 18th of November 2007, south of Zurndorf in Burgenland: 60 hunters spend their freetime shooting at defenseless bunnies. Many of them were just injured and suffered from terrible pain. Some of them were struck dead but some were left behind despite their pain.
In the afternoon, the violence of the hunters against the people who didn't share their opinion escalated completely. They attacked the four animal liberationists in groups, knocked them down and kicked at the body and the head. They also tried to snatch their cameras. Five hunters wanted to drag an activist into a car obviously to mistreat him out of eyeshot. (VGT, "Tierschutz konsequent", 2/08)
The video proofs recorded by the Austrian animal rights group VGT can be watched on Youtube:
Trophy HuntingUnfortunately, trophy hunting is an appreciated activity especially in Africa, Central Asia and North America. The important tourist destination Kenya is one of the few countries in Africa where trophy hunting is prohibited. It is definitely true that poaching is a big problem in Kenya but this is not because there is no trophy hunting, the actual reason is that Kenya has quite a lot of inhabitants compared to other African countries such as Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia. Moreover, Kenya borders on Somalia where many poachers come from.
The goal of many trophy hunters is to shoot Africa's "big five" including the vulnerable elephant, the endangered rhino and the vulnerable lion. Yes, it is legal to kill (endangered) animals like those in many areas. Indeed there are quotas but however, they are not based on science but rather defined at random by the governments. Therefore, it is not sure that those quotas ensure the survival of a species.
Hunting tourism has become an important economic sector but not for the local people. European and American visitors pay horrendous fees to the companies promoting trophy hunting but they do not support the poor people at all. There is an alternative kind of tourism which is far more profitable for the community, namely ecotourism. The Kenyan organization COBEC promotes ecotourism along the Kenyan coast. The guests may participate in projects in order to do something good for the environment and for the people. Please read the short presentation of COBEC to learn more about the positive aspects of ecotourism.
There are people who say that trophy hunting can decrease poaching but nevertheless, countries that do allow trophy hunting such as South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia are unable to get poaching under control. There are more effective measures to be taken in order to protect the animals from illegal hunters. The planned Serengeti Highway for example would definitely give poachers the opportunity to enter the Serengeti National Park unhamperedly. Moreover, the gamekeepers do a good job but it is decisive to invest in new technologies in order to to supervise the sanctuaries. This cannot be put into effect without international subsidies, though, including private donations.
Internet HuntingThe term "Internet Hunting" refers to an especially cruel kind of hunting. The "hunters" register on a website, pay a certain amount of money and thereafter they can control a static weapon somewhere in the prairie for a limited time. The weapons are located at feeding grounds so that there are always enough prey animals. This disgusting but unfortunately effective method has its origin in Texas. Luckily, Internet Hunting has been banned in 38 states so far, including Texas, thanks to the efforts of the "Humane Society of the United States".