At Emerald City Pet Rescue, our amazing employees all have a few core things in common, first and foremost being our love of animals. In fact, I wouldn’t even call it just a shared love, but a shared passion not only consisting of a fondness for animals but a genuine desire to care for their well-being and be a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves.
Part of our shared passion for the safety of animals is our personal view on trophy hunting. It makes little sense to us why someone would kill an animal just to kill an animal, for no other purpose than to hang their head on a wall and take pleasure and pride in their “kill.” This is a practice that has become a popular “sport” or “pastime” among the wealthy, with men and woman paying tens of thousands of dollars for these “safari trips” to buy the rights to kill various wildlife from deer, bears, even lions.
Eight of us employees plus ECPR’s wonderful founder Vivian Goldbloom had an amazing opportunity early this month to speak out about our views, and to speak up for the animals who cannot defend themselves against this senseless phenomenon. We travelled from Seattle, Washington to Las Vegas, Nevada where the Safari Club International convention was taking place at Mandalay Bay. We attended nightly peaceful protests organized by the amazing people at Compassion Works International with hopes to educate and raise awareness about trophy hunting and the damage it does to conservation as well as the callous disregard it has for an animal’s simple right to live.
It wasn’t that long ago that I myself became more aware of the popularity of trophy hunting/canned hunting. I read an article online a few months back about a young woman who wanted the experience of volunteering in Africa, so she paid a few thousand dollars to fly down there and care for some supposedly abandoned baby animals. She was assigned to bottle feed and raise a baby lion cub, told that the cub’s mother had been poached and that the cub would be sent to a sanctuary once she became of age to be “weaned.”
Shortly after leaving her two-month experience, the volunteer discovered that the cub she had hand-raised had been deliberately taken from her mother, and contrary to what she had been told, the cub was destined to be sold to a canned hunting facility where someone would pay several thousand dollars for the right to shoot her.
I was mind-blown. I can’t even fathom how betrayed this girl must have felt but even more than that, I was appalled at how sinister that entire deception was. I don’t like the idea of any type of killing at all, but I don’t think it would be fair to say that I have no understanding for a struggling family to kill an animal to feed their children. Canned hunting is nothing like that at, at all. It’s senseless, needless death. It is trickery at its most sinister.
The story above had a semi-happy ending. The girl returned to Africa and threatened to expose the lies she was told, she purchased the cub, flew her back to America and got her into a forever sanctuary so she could live her days in safety. But she wasn’t able to save them all…
That’s where education is so important. If we don’t understand the senseless nature of canned hunting, how can we speak up for the animals who are being victimized by it?
There were four protests in all that we attended, three on each night of the convention, and the final Rally for Cecil the Lion on the last day. Each day, more and more people showed up to protest. We stood outside of Mandalay Bay with our signs, ready and willing to talk with anyone that had questions, point them toward information, anything we could do to help.
It’s wonderful to be working with and for an organization that goes above and beyond to be a voice for the animals not just in rescue, but around the world as well. Despite the thousands of people that attended the Safari Club International convention that we all witnessed, I left Vegas with a renewed sense of hope and purpose. The death of Cecil the Lion has done a lot to wake people up to the horrors of trophy hunting but there is still work to be done. There are still so many animals who need our voice, our compassion, and our dedication. I was proud to be a part of those protests and I am so grateful that I was given the opportunity through this wonderful organization to speak for them. I know we did not solve the problem, but the first step to being part of a solution is to take a stand, to educate, and to demonstrate that we are there for these animals. They are just like us, sentient beings with souls and hearts who can feel pain, loneliness, sorrow and happiness. They are not anyone’s entertainment. They are not anyone’s trophy. They have a right to live in peace without the fear of being hunted just for the pleasure of the kill. Emerald City Pet Rescue speaks for them. I speak for them.
Will you speak for them, too?