Opinion: The Uproarious, Unbearable Digging of Tusks into Trophy Hunting 


“Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!” This iconic Wizard of Oz quote echoes my fear of and disgust toward the carcasses created from trophy hunting’s ascent. The sport of murdering wild animals and preserving their body parts is cruel and unethical and provides few, if any, societal benefits. 

While trophy hunters proudly display their animal-made artifacts, spectators may (and said trophy hunters should) feel uneasy. After all, who in their right mind would feel comfortable wearing allergy-inducing coat made of unkempt fur or staring upon a moose’s head and antlers nailed above a log cabin fireplace, or facing a stuffed bear that resembles a hyper-realistic CGI model, yet won’t come to life as it should?  

Trophy hunters shouldn’t feel overjoyed about overpowering an innocent animal that’s minding its own business and possibly with a family to attend to; this situation draws disturbing parallels to our government’s separation of immigrant families and characterization of minorities as “unruly.” Besides, most wild animals act similarly to any child or college student (and even some adults) in that they just like to run around, eat and sleep.  

The thrill of taking down an insurmountable beast is unjustified; if anything, it’s actually cowardly and pathetic that these pompous hunters must expend such a non-human effort to prevail over their targets. Trophy hunting certainly shouldn’t be the Viagra to anyone’s “small man” syndrome, if you catch my drift. 

Apart from exhibiting misguided satisfaction, trophy hunters disregard their fellow Earth dwellers. Capturing and distributing a commemorative photo of deceased wild game is akin to taking a smiling selfie at a cemetery and posting it on social media alongside the caption “Digging around for buried treasure! R.I.P. Grandma, Y.O.L.O.!”  

There is simply no place for this smugness toward life and stone-cold (especially where graves are involved) disrespect of the dead and their loved ones, and nobody should wish to garner reciprocal post-mortem maltreatment or dig their public relations grave a la Logan Paul.  

We must celebrate the dead, not celebrate bringing about death. We (or at least most of us) wouldn’t glorify human murder, so we shouldn’t treat human-induced animal deaths any differently.  

Considering some of the deplorable acts our species has committed against its own kind and environment, along with the stupidity we exhibit regularly, let’s not pretend that we’re so superior to our fellow planetary inhabitants that we have the right to end their lives without just cause.  

I’ve owned 10 dogs in my short life thus far, and I’ve treasured and respected each of them as living beings. I can’t imagine becoming so sadistic as to kill such sweet, majestic animals and preserve their bodies (especially that of my Great Dane, which would be much too heavy to lug around the house). 

The arguments in favor of trophy hunting are laughably tenuous. Hunting fees fund animal conservation efforts minimally, and of course killing said animals will only decrease their respective populations.  

Given that “American hunters imported more than 1.2 million animals — more than 126,000 a year — as hunting trophies from across the world between 2005 and 2014,” we’re clearly endangering vital wildlife species by allowing trophy hunting to continue largely uninhibited.  

Although the finite number of animals available to shoot should detract from trophy hunting’s appeal, I fear that some portray it as an arcade-style game, where the objective is to score as many points as possible until no flashing objects remain on the screen.  

Others claim that trophy hunting provides preparation for real-life emergencies, but the last time I checked, most wildlife is either caged-up within zoos or reside in areas off the beaten path; thus I take issue with trophy hunting’s supposed applicability to that context.  

Whereas trophy hunting delivers purely individualistic, recreational benefits, animal preservation positively and substantially impacts society by allowing for more domestication, consumption, and research. Furthermore, trophy hunting indirectly encourages elitism, rampant and unchecked gun use and the disruption of nature, all of which already pervade America. 

Ultimately, we must speak out against the horrific, destructive practice of trophy hunting. We can take action by educating the uninformed, boycotting products from trophy hunting advocates, and calling for strong, tight legislation in the vein of the Endangered Species Act. 

Michael Katz is a contributor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email michael.katz@uconn.edu.

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