By Allan Crow
I don’t get the huntin’ shootin’ brigade - never have, never will.
Shooting as a sport - clay pigeons, targets, that sort of stuff - is, of course, completely different to pointing a rifle at something with fur and four legs, or feathers and wings, and blowing it to smithereens before retiring for a well-earned G & T.
The latter is largely done by wealthy businessmen who, having made their fortune, decide to indulge in what is called recreational hunting simply to return with something to hang above the mantlepiece for guests to admire their hunting prowess while secretly trying not to be sick into their plate of nibbles.
Big game hunting isn’t new - if it moves, man has shot it since they first invented rifles - but the outrage over the killing of one animal is.
When Walter Palmer, dentist and recreational hunter dispatched Cecil the lion to the land of taxidermy, to him it was just another kill. No-one had batted an eyelid before as he cut a swathe through the animal kingdom, so why should anyone miss one more big cat?
Poor Walt quickly found out how wrong he was.
Palmer paid 50,000 dollars basically to get his jollies slaughtering a big cat. Saddo.
His hired hands lured Cecil from a national park, hit him with an arrow, tracked him for 40 hours, beheaded and skinned him.
Even by hunting’s standards this was brutal, degrading, disgusting and nauseating - not that it stopped old Walt posing for the obligatory ‘here’s me with my dead animal’ pic beloved of all hunters. I don’t get that bit either ...
But while animals are hunted and shot for the pleasure of numbskulls such as Walt every week, this one chimed around the world and the hunter became the hunted.
Naturally social media got on its high horse - one even Walt couldn’t bring down with his less than trusty bow and arrow - and fuelled media coverage which saw his dentist business under siege.
Sympathy? Not really.
Killing animals is a pretty sick way of killing time on holiday. There is no honour in bringing down a beast or two simply to get another head to nail on your wall.
And there’s something deeply disturbing about people who get a thrill from shooting and killing for fun.
People like Walt give me the creeps.
To me it’s simple. Go to Africa, savour its stunning landscapes, embrace its rich, vibrant cultures, let its spirit infuse you.
And hey Walt, here’s an idea, go on safari and take the once in a lifetime chance to see those amazing animals up close on a safari tour. Just point a camera - not a gun - at them.
So, if Walt’s dentistry business ends up as stuffed as poor Cecil then I guess that’s the law of karma kicking in.
But there’s a lot of dumbbos like Walter out there, dressing up as khaki-clad hunters, being driven round on jeeps aiming at live targets - and it’s all for kicks. That’s a pretty vile bsuiness to be associated with.
And with that 50,000 dollars to burn, they could have achieved so much more in Africa ...