Prince William Defends Trophy Hunting
The future king has spoken in support of hunting endangered wild animals—as long as they are infertile, and at the end of their lives.
Prince William has launched a passionate defence of the stomach-churning practice of “trophy hunting” in which endangered wild animals are hunted and killed by rich “sportsmen” willing to pay vast sums of money for the right to do so.
In an interview with ITN News, which was intended to highlight anti-poaching initiatives, William bizarrely launched into a rant about how pay-to-slay big-game hunting has a valid role in conservation.
“There is a place for commercial hunting in Africa as there is round the world. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but the arguments for regulated, properly controlled commercial hunting is that the money that goes from shooting a very old infirm animal goes back into the protection of the other species. So when one is infertile, he’s at the end of his life.
“If somebody out there wants to pay that money and it wouldn’t be me, but if somebody did then as long as that money goes back into protection of the species then it is a justifiable means of conserving species that are under serious threat.
“And that isn’t just me talking, there’s a lot of eminent conservationists out there who truly believe that there is a balance to be had here. And of course it is a fine balance and it does involve a lot of regulation.”
However, when asked whether he felt the killing last year of “Cecil the Lion” by U.S. dentist Walter Palmer was unforgivable, he answered, “Yes.”
There is in fact some truth to William’s comments and many conservationists based in Africa support trophy hunting.
“Sportsmen” who like killing animals for fun do indeed provide serious financial incentives to locals and governments to protect habitats and species.
Namibia is often held up as an example of the success of trophy hunting and it was notable that when Prince Harry visited the country the tourism minister warned him not to speak out about trophy hunting which sees the slaughter of elderly Rhinos, Lions and Giraffe every year.
But it’s a nuanced, complex argument that requires extreme detachment from the emotive issues of hunting, and not one that can be made in a five-minute interview on the nightly news.
Instead, understandably, William’s comments will be taken as evidence by his enemies and detractors that he is a hypocrite; a man who preaches conservation but spends his weekends blasting birds out of the sky with a twelve bore.
Hunting (specifically shooting) is so deeply ingrained in the royal blood and tradition that William is at risk of seeing trophy hunting the way he wants to see it–and for all those who argue, as William does, that trophy hunting protects habitats, there are many, many others who see trophy hunting as a vehicle which enriches primarily the foreign companies that organize the trips, and enables much local corruption.
The killing of Cecil the Lion (for $50,000) American dentist Walter Palmer showed just how complex and open to possible corruption the decisions about which animals are ripe for killing can be.
The Zimbabwean wildlife authorities argued that Cecil, at 13, was old and past his prime, of no use as a member of the species, but the creature was in fact the subject of a long term research study by Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit.
Illustrating the complexity of the issues around trophy hunting and sustainability, the CRU receives sponsorship from the Dallas Safari Club, an organization that advocates sustainable trophy hunting!
The foolish comments are reminiscent of William’s inexplicable decision to go on a hunting holiday in Spain—a wild boar hunt at Finca La Garganta, the Spanish estate of Britain’s richest man, the Duke of Westminster just days before launching an anti-poaching crusade in 2014, and will inevitably revive memories of Harry’s grinning pose above a water buffalo he had just shot in South America in 2004.
The pro-bloodspots lobby can argue all they like that without hunting of wild animals the habitats of creatures, be it wild boar in Spain or woodcock and snipe in the UK, would not be protected by landowners. This may be true, but the public has no time for the intricacies of this particular debate.
They see an animal cruelty issue and a class issue, and they think, “If you love animals so much, then why are you shooting them?”
William’s own passion for blood sports, and his refusal to give up the hobby, fatally weakens and undoes all his conservation work.
Article by Tom Sykes.
In another article, Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan writing in his Mail Online column accused the Duke of Cambridge and Duchess of Cambridge of hypocrisy for feeding a baby Rhinos an Elephants at an Indian animal sanctuary, claiming the pair have stuffed rhinos in the Sandringham estate.
The presenter said the picturesque image, which is intended to “make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside”, made him “feel sick to the very pit” of his stomach.
“Perhaps it’s because Prince William likes rich people hunting down these same beautiful animals, killing them in often elongated torture sessions, posing for repulsively smug photos next to their rotting carcasses, and then severing their heads for their office walls back home,” Morgan wrote.
The British journalist also criticised Prince William, who is president of United for Wildlife and patron of the Tusk Trust, for the comments he made about trophy hunting being justifiable in certain circumstances.
“LionAid were grateful last month for the opportunity on Good Morning Britain to talk with Piers Morgan about the myth that lion trophy hunting contributes in any way to the conservation of the species,” they said.
“We believe that Prince William was very badly advised to make statements in support of trophy hunting and to say that trophy hunters only take old, infirm and post-reproductive animals. This is clearly not true as trophy hunters love to publish their photos on the internet to show that they only want the biggest and the best.
“Piers Morgan has taken an extreme stance against trophy hunting but the fact remains that the vast majority of the UK public agree that trophy hunting has no place in 21st-century conservation”.
Morgan also argued Sandringham, the country retreat of Her Majesty the Queen, contained hunting trophies and stuffed animals.
“The British royal family has killed more animals than probably any other family in the world, mostly in the name of ‘sport’,” he wrote. “Their palatial homes are packed full of their hunting ‘trophies’”.
“At Sandringham alone, the Queen’s home in Norfolk where the family gathers each Christmas, there are 62 stuffed animals including two rare Rhinos, a Leopard, an Indian Tiger, the tusks of an Elephant and two Lions,” he goes on to say.
In line with my own personal view that hunting is NOT conservation I endorse the following petition by Anissa Putois fully. Can you please take the time to sign and share it. Thank You.
Target: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge
Goal: Prince William, Stop Promoting Trophy Hunting As A Means Of Conservation And Condemn The Practice Instead.
Media outlets that are publishing photos of the British royals feeding endangered baby animals are quick to forget Prince William’s recent support of trophy hunting. While the Duke and Duchess were recently photographed feeding orphaned rhinos and elephants, William recently commented that “there’s a place for commercial hunting,” and “it is a justifiable means of conserving species that are under serious threat.” This is literally saying that the best way to protect an animal is to hunt and kill it.
This statement is widely incompatible with his grand speeches on the importance of wildlife conservation and his positions as president of United for Wildlife and the Tusk Trust.
Instead of promoting trophy hunting, Prince William should serve as a true spokesperson for wildlife and use his considerable influence to condemn this loathsome practice and ensure it is outlawed. Sign this petition urging him to speak up for wild animals, not against them.
Dear Prince William,
While the photographs of you and your wife feeding orphaned animals at an Indian Wildlife Sanctuary are inspiring, your recent comments promoting trophy hunting are not. In an interview with ITV News you said that “there’s a place for commercial hunting” and that “it is a justifiable means of conserving species that are under serious threat.” This ludicrous suggestion that the best way of protecting animals is by killing them is highly destructive and puts wildlife in grave danger.
These comments are also highly inappropriate and incompatible with your positions as president of United for Wildlife and the Tusk Trust and self-proclaimed interest in wildlife conservation.
I urge you to stop promoting trophy hunting and use your considerable influence to condemn it and have this gruesome practice outlawed instead.