Let's be clear about where I stand on the food chain, which is at the top with the rest of humanity. As the most evolved species on the planet, we have the run of the place, and the other species serve at our whim - and often as our dinner. Depending on their physical makeup and skill set, animals feed us, clothe us, work for us and provide us with companionship.That said, I'm as appalled as any herbivore by the wanton killing of animals by so-called sportsmen like Dr. Walter Palmer - the Minnesota dentist who became the world's most reviled person overnight by killing Zimbabwe's beloved celebrity lion, Cecil. Even if there's an element of credibility to claims that recreational hunters perform a necessary function by "thinning the herd" and preventing certain species of wildlife from propagating beyond the resources required to sustain them, the argument comes off as a lame rationalization for bloodlust. It rings especially hollow when a big game hunting hobbyist like Sabrina Corgatelli speaks about a "connection with the animal", as if being hunted to their death is some kind of uplifting spiritual experience for her prey, as opposed to a cruel and violent end to their existence. Rock star/crossbow enthusiast Ted Nugent is only marginally more convincing in his defence of hunting because he actually makes practical use of some of his kills, but at the end of the day, the Nuge's legacy would probably be better-served as the musical force behind the iconic rock ballad "Stranglehold" than it is as the nut job who shot several hundred hogs from a helicopter with a machine gun.
Big game hunters like Corgatelli and Nugent undoubtedly believe they're fighting the good fight by publicly flaunting their trophies, but they're doing themselves a disservice. They'll never prevail in the internet age. Their own sadism pales in comparison to the bloodlust of the social media mob who can enjoy a good shaming in complete anonymity without putting on pants or leaving their parents' basement, never mind spending 50 thousand dollars on an African safari. If they can resist the temptation to post their kills online, hobby hunters can go about their bloody business with relative impunity. The question is whether their egos could handle the obscurity.