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An explosive insight into the hidden world of trophy hunting…
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“The trophy hunting industry’s ‘conservation’ façade is comprehensively dismantled in this fast-paced, forensic investigation. The case for abolition of this archaic pastime has never been made in such a compelling manner.” – DAILY MIRROR
“Britain should ban the import of animal trophies. The UK is a nation of animal lovers, and should not tolerate their persecution. The idea of killing for fun those animals most at risk of disappearing from the wild in our lifetimes is an abhorrent one.” – THE TIMES
“If this book doesn’t get trophy hunting banned I don’t know what will. This is an incredible investigation that reveals everything the industry would rather you didn’t know.” – JUDI DENCH
“A society which allows sentient creatures to be killed for entertainment has serious questions to answer. ‘Trophy Hunters Exposed’ asks those questions and then answers them in devastating fashion.” – PETER EGAN
“If there’s one book to buy about animals this year, this is it. Trophy hunting is legalised animal abuse on an industrial scale. ‘Trophy Hunters Exposed’ tells us why we must abolish it. Now.” – JOANNA LUMLEY
ORDER YOUR COPY HERE (UK) or HERE (US/Rest of World).
Thousands of animals threatened with extinction were shot by trophy hunters last year. Attempts to protect dwindling lion and elephant populations have been thwarted by hunters. They are now allowed to shoot twice as many critically endangered black rhinos. How has this happened?
‘TROPHY HUNTERS EXPOSED – Inside the Big Game Industry’ is an explosive investigation into the trophy hunting industry, its key players and donors, and how it is stripping endangered animals of the protections they need.
It reveals how a top fundraiser for Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin’s right-hand man, the head of a paramilitary death-squad and a former WWF Director have shot record-breaking lions, elephants, rhinos and leopards.
It exposes the identities of over 500 hunters who have won industry awards for shooting all the ‘African Big Five’; the leading figures in the UK industry including a salesman who helps hunters shoot juvenile lions in enclosures; and the extraordinary kill tallies and trophy collections of hunters around the world.
It also lifts the lid on how household brands – and our taxes – are funding lobbyists, how the Boy Scouts and Salvation Army in the US are helping the industry recruit a new generation of child hunters, how lobbyists are posing as ‘conservation’ groups … and how the industry boasts it ploughs more money into US elections than some of the world’s biggest corporations.
Read how psychologists and criminologists fear trophy hunting could be fuelling violent crime, and how the industry could spark devastating outbreaks of diseases in local communities …
“A powerful call to action” – Jeremy Cooper, ex-CEO RSPCA
“A hard-hitting and uncompromising expose” – Prof John Cooper QC
“The handbook for campaigners against Trophy Hunting has arrived” – Carrie LeBlanc, Worldwide Rallies Against Trophy Hunting
“An excellently researched book” – Linda Park, Voice4Lions
“A stunning guide about Trophy Hunting and who lurks behind it” – Mark Randell, Retired Senior Police Detective, UK
“The industry hates Eduardo Gonçalves. Which is perhaps reason enough to own ‘Trophy Hunters Exposed’” – Charlie Moores, The War on Wildlife Project
“Gonçalves has inspired mainstream media outlets to back a ban on trophy hunting imports into the UK.” – The Canary
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Eduardo Goncalves is an award-winning campaigner, journalist and conservationist. He has been a consultant to WWF and CEO of a major national animal welfare charity. In 2018, he founded the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting, which is today supported by some of the world’s biggest names in music, sport, film and TV. In 2019, the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting persuaded the UK government to support a ban on imports of hunting trophies.
Eduardo was awarded the Animal Heroes Award for services to wildlife in 2019. A short film about Eduardo’s work – with endorsements from Kevin Pietersen, Stanley Johnson, Lorraine Kelly, Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Daily Mirror editor Alison Phillips – can be viewed HERE.
Proceeds from the sale of ‘TROPHY HUNTERS EXPOSED – Inside the Big Game Industry’ will be donated to the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting
Charlie Moores, The War on Wildlife Project
The Daily Mail has described Eduardo Goncalves, founder of the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting (CBTH) as “Britain’s most prominent anti-hunting activist”. Whether they mean that as a compliment is difficult to tell, but it does show just how busy Eduardo has been given that he only set up CBTH two years ago. Prior to that he was chief-executive of the League Against Cruel Sports of course (which, not that disclaimers are needed, is where I first met him), but Eduardo – it seems – has indeed become one of the most recognisable faces and voices in a movement arrowing in on one of the most cruel, wasteful, and disturbing examples of humanity’s war on wildlife.
In a remarkably short time Eduardo (who is seemingly everywhere and knows everyone) has brought together a broad coalition of supporters and researchers, become an almost permanent fixture in the media, and – it turns out – has also somehow found time to write a book. Or at least, written the sort of minutely-detailed, reference-packed work that an organisation like Ethical Consumer might produce if they were to write a book. Stripped of anything superfluous, of anything subjective or gratuitous (there are no images – can you imagine the hunters writing their manual without including selfies of dentists with dead lions?), “Trophy Hunters Exposed: Inside the Big Game Industry” slams into trophy hunting with the force of a meteorite.
Published today and presented in three parts, ‘THE’ precisely dissects the Industry (“one of the world’s most powerful political lobbies”), dispassionately lists the worst of the world’s self-glorifying hunters, before finally detailing exactly why these apparently sexually inadequate, delusional, ‘freedom fighters’ only feel alive when they’re killing something (in the name of ‘conservation’ of course). It’s all done so forensically. Fact after fact delivered like charges in an indictment. Page after page of condemnation of an industry that shouldn’t exist, that is built from an alt-right shopping list of God, money, gun rights, and machismo, a skewed eighteenth-century vision of white men sorting out the wilderness, and a biblical ‘dominion’ belief that animals are just there for us to do what we want with.
Eduardo doesn’t go in for such rhetorical flourish though, and ‘THE’ is all the better for it. There is a noticeable absence of opinion or personal pronouns. It is in essence a distillation of factual material, minutely researched and referenced, that brings together absolutely every good argument against trophy hunting. Trophy hunting’s proponents will seize on that last point as the book is unconcerned with presenting any of what they would see as the good arguments for trophy hunting. But, I would hazard a guess, that was never the intention. Eduardo’s response might be to point out that the industry has had years to lobby, obfuscate, blur, and lie, so why should he give their arguments (which revolve almost entirely around land-use) another airing, but I think it’s more likely that he simply neither respects nor agrees with any of them.
And why should he? Anything trophy hunters might trot out about respect for wildlife, local people, or conservation is undermined by their own words and actions. While ‘THE’ is not filled with what Eduardo thinks, feels, or has experienced, it does collate the most apposite quotations of others. There are damning lines picked from, for example, hunting forums, from unguarded discussions at hunting shows, and from the tone-deaf posturings of hunters on social media. There is an enormous amount of material in the public domain. Much of it no doubt resonates with fellow psychopaths, but to the rest of us it is just revealing. From glorifying trophy rooms (external representations of an individual’s total lack of empathy with the natural world) to organ-swelling gun porn (“…[the gazelle] swayed back and forth a bit and then turned and I saw the blood pouring out of his nose”), the appalling world of treating sentient life as the urinal wall in a pissing contest is laid bare.
Will ‘THE’ end trophy hunting? For all its gimlet-eyed focus on this ego-stroking ‘sport’, the answer is no, of course not. As the book details, heads of industry, the uber-wealthy, and sons of presidents and royalty fill voids in their lives by blasting holes in animals. Hunting has shored itself up with vast bank accounts, infiltrated legislature and conservation organsations, and is now chasing children to ensure the flow of emotionally-stunted gunmen doesn’t dry up. It sells itself as freedom, and uses an image of masculinity that appeals to a primal desire to slaughter that many of us acknowledge but have turned away from in disgust. More than all of that, it is about making profit. Corrupt officials have made absolute fortunes selling wildlife to the vainglorious. Trophy hunting will not simply lie down and go away, but much like how Dr Mark Avery’s ‘Inglorious’ stripped away the veneer of tradition and glamour that the grouse industry had wrapped itself in, “Trophy Hunters Exposed: Inside the Big Game Industry” does exactly what it sets out to do: expose, strip bare, shine a light that trophy hunting will at first sneer at but – as the evidence piles up – will ultimately be desperate to shrink away from.
Another question might be, where does ‘Trophy Hunting Exposed’ sit in our post-Covid world? Is it a perfect post-Covid book, arriving bang on time as we seek to re-examine our relationship with the environment and with nature? I don’t think so. Not because ‘THE’ is not an invaluable resource or primer par excellence (it definitely is), but because none of what ‘THE’ exposes is made worse by global pandemic. We already knew that habitat and biodiversity loss was destroying nature, that we’re emptying the planet of large mammals (especially large carnivores), and that unregulated trophy hunting (and Eduardo has plenty to say about CITES incidentally) is slashing-and-burning its way through whole populations of supposedly protected wildlife. Trophy hunting was horrible and self-serving long before the virus emerged, and the seeds of this book were surely planted almost as soon as Eduardo began gathering his facts and statistics for the launch of CBTH. There was simply so much damning material that it had to go somewhere, and a book that all of us can use as a reference or guide to silence or infuriate trophy hunters is the logical format.
Like all campaigns that tackle such complex issues it will take a huge, multi-agency effort to end trophy hunting, but those of us that love wildlife should be incredibly grateful that there are campaigners like Eduardo Goncalves prepared to stand so visibly on the front line. Genial and all smiles on the surface, he is like a human cruise missile, powered by cold fury and laser-locked on the appalling trophy hunting industry. I suspect the industry hates him. Which is perhaps reason enough to own ‘Trophy Hunters Exposed’, but more importantly it’s all the information you need to marshal your thoughts, talk persuasively to your family and friends about trophy hunting, and to rebut the claims of pro hunters that they do no harm, love animals, and are true conservationists. It’s important to note, too, that any profits from ‘THE’ will go straight back into funding the work of the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting.
As stated above, no single book, no single effort, can stop something as embedded and well-financed as trophy hunting. But have no doubt that each barbed fact, each truth, each honest analysis will unpick the threads holding this disgusting edifice together and convince more and more of us that it is dishonest, untruthful, and bereft of legitimacy. And that – in the end – is how it will be brought down.
Charlie Moores – May 25, 2020
EDIT: Interestingly The Times newspaper has today published an editorial (the same day as ‘THE’ becomes available of course) that blasts the trophy hunting industry and says that Britain should ban the import of animal trophies. This is undoubtedly an important ramping up in efforts to ban the import of ‘trophies’ (bits of dead animals) into the UK. An import ban is something the trophy hunting ‘conservationists’ have always fought against – which seems odd, given that they would still be able to ‘conserve’ the animal by travelling overseas to kill it. Or is it the impact of a ban on hunters egos that really troubles them? That’s a rhetorical question of course, to which we all already know the answer…
“A new book could be the final nail in the coffin for the trophy hunting industry” – The Canary
The Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting’s (CBTH) founder Eduardo Gonçalves has released a new book. Called Trophy Hunters Exposed: Inside the Big Game Industry, the book aims at the hunting industry and – to adopt the target’s vernacular – ‘takes’ it.
This is how human hunters describe killing (other) animals: taking. That’s one the many discoveries in Gonçalves’ book. How much effort the industry is putting into encouraging children to take up hunting is another. It details who the major players are, such as Safari Club International (SCI), in terms of industry advocacy. It also documents how these groups get their vast sums of money and what they’re spending it on.
Critically, the book looks at the relationship international wildlife watchdogs like the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) have with the industry. The relationship is an intimate and consequential affair. Because these watchdogs shape and set the rules on what humans can or can’t do with the other animals on this earth.
Due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, and rapidly depleting global biodiversity, many are questioning whether CITES is fit for purpose of late. After all, CITES’ purpose is to regulate the very trade – the wildlife trade – that it’s thought has just brought human societies across the globe to their knees with the coronavirus pandemic. Gonçalves’ book answers that question with a resounding ‘no’.
In the introduction to his book, Gonçalves describes CITES’ founding in 1973. He explains that the UN-backed body drew up “strict rules” to stem the collapse in wildlife populations. Gonçalves writes:
Threatened species were named in a list of three appendices ordered by their vulnerability. Trade in Appendix I species, it said, “must only be authorized in exceptional circumstances.”
Currently, approximately 25,000 plant species and 5,000 animal species are in these appendices. CITES lists around 600 animals species in Appendix I.
But Gonçalves says these ‘strict rules’ are, in practice, quite weak. Because trade appears to be happening regularly, including trade in highly endangered animals. The CBTH founder writes:
For instance, in 2017 (the most recent year for which reliable data is currently available) “exceptional circumstances” were granted for more than 75,000 animals and body parts of species which CITES classes as the most endangered in the world.
Gonçalves also provides some examples of what CITES deemed “exceptional circumstances”:
cosmetic products extracted from the Irrawaddy dolphin, fur and bones from leopards, tusks from Mediterranean monk seals, and leather products from giant pangolins – the latter were given the green light to enter the US.
“The law today is failing wildlife”
As well as granting “exceptional circumstances” for trade that doesn’t appear to merit such a label, CITES also provides effective exemptions within its rulebook. This allows certain industries more freedom from its restrictions. Trophy hunting is one such industry. As Gonçalves explains:
In 2017, as many as 35,000 bodies and parts of animals [from Appendix I, II and III] that are at risk of extinction made their way into the trophy rooms of hunters around the world, all with the implicit blessing of CITES. In fact the multi-million dollar trophy hunting industry is to all intents and purposes largely exempted from CITES’ rules. This is on the extraordinary grounds that trophy hunting holidays – which can sometimes cost $100,000 or more – are considered to be a ‘non-commercial’ activity.
Because human hunters aren’t supposed to sell on the ‘trophies’ of other animals they kill, CITES deems it a non-commercial and personal trade. This is despite the fact that CITES defines ‘trade’, i.e. what it’s duty bound to regulate, as:
Any export, re-export, import and introduction from the sea
Nonetheless, at most all hunters have to do is arrange an export or import permit for their ‘trophies’. Of course, the hunter can do very little without the safari company they pay to arrange their kill, or the travel company they pay to transport their ‘trophies’ from one country to another. That’s not to mention the taxidermist they pay to display the parts of the other animal they ‘took’, or the gun manufacturer that sold them the machinery with which they killed her. There is a varied, vast, and lucrative trophy hunting industry, as Gonçalves details in his book. Yet CITES is failing to adequately police it because of the “extraordinary grounds” on which it exempts that trade. As Ranulph Fiennes wrote in a foreword to the book:
Far from protecting endangered species, the law today is failing wildlife. As many as 1.7 million animals have been killed by trophy hunters over the past decade. Hundreds of thousands of these are from species protected by law because scientists say they are at risk of extinction. We are frequently told that we face a biodiversity crisis every bit as serious as the climate crisis. Yet the slaughter, inexplicably, continues unabated
The Canary contacted CITES for comment. None had been received by the time of publication.
A complex issue
Despite appearances, the debate over trophy hunting is not a simple one. It has split the conservation community, with some standing in support of it as a so-called ‘conservation tool’. Others robustly challenge this notion, arguing that’s it deeply damaging to wildlife. The fact that hunting advocacy groups have managed to embed themselves in global wildlife watchdogs – as Gonçalves highlights in his book – by brandishing the supposed conservation credentials of killing for fun, muddies matters further. Because that means they have the ear of the decision-makers within these bodies. Add in the fact that pro-hunting proponents argue hunting provides income for communities in areas where hunting happens, yet anti-hunting proponents argue that income is a lot less than communities could have if they implemented alternatives to hunting, and it’s nothing short of a minefield.
This has largely led to a state of inertia or paralysis in policy change on trophy hunting on a national and international level, with some small exceptions. Such inertia is a hunter’s dream. Because, as Fiennes says, it allows the killing to continue unabated. Meanwhile, trophy hunting advocacy groups are less than inert themselves, securing the downlisting of species on CITES’ Appendixes – or fighting the uplisting of them – in a way that ensures hunting of them can continue, while in their positions of influence.
‘Shattering the stillness’
With his book, Gonçalves is dragging authorities out of that inertia. CBTH’s work, and Gonçalves’ book, has inspired a number of mainstream media outlets to back a ban on trophy hunting imports into the UK. The UK government is currently considering bringing in such a ban. Given the spotlight CBTH is shining on the inner, troubling workings of the industry, and the support the ban has among politicians, it may very well pass.
In his book, Gonçalves shares hunters’ accounts of their killings. One of them is from CJ McElroy, the founder of SCI. He describes killing a jaguar:
I moved the rifle, found the cat’s chest across my open sights, and triggered an explosion that shattered the stillness. The jaguar reeled back, the same way any animal will recoil when hit in the chest at close range. But he didn’t go down. He staggered, then recovered and started running across the small clearing, heading for thick jungle to my right.
Essentially, Gonçalves’ book is ‘shattering the stillness’ too. But rather than smashing the societies and lives of other animals to smithereens, the CBTH founder is blasting through the inaction on trophy hunting.
McElroy eventually ‘took’ his kill. After McElroy shot the jaguar four times, “he collapsed in a spotted heap”. In the UK at least, it’s possible the hunting industry is about to suffer the same fate.
Are trophy hunters serial killers?
By Don Pinnock, Daily Maverick 4 June 2020
Supported by wealthy and powerful organisations like Safari Club International, the Dallas Safari Club and the National Rifle Association and egged on by countless awards and record book listings, trophy hunters have gunned down 1.7 million wild animals in the past decade. About 250,000 were endangered species. This is detailed in an alarming book, Trophy Hunters Exposed, by environmental activist Eduardo Goncalves.
Trophy Hunters Exposed is a book that’s bound to cause fury and denials by hunting organisations. But, with the names of trophy hunters, the exact tally of their kills, their cruelty and their Facebook boasts forensically detailed, it will be hard to rebut.
The book, just released, essentially throws down the gauntlet to the so-called sport of killing animals for fun and prestige.
Goncalves profiles some of the world’s most prolific (or, depending on your view, notorious) hunters and lists their kills, which run into many thousands. They may be heroes to hunters, he says, but given their desire to kill again and again, their bloodlust needs to be analysed in the light of serial killers.
These include Malcolm King, a British businessman who has 125 Safari Club International (SCI) Record Book entries and dozens of awards for killing hundreds of wild animals; Carl Knight of Take Aim Safaris in Gauteng who has taken part in more than 400 hunts in every African country open to hunting, and Paul Roberts, a British hunter who has one of the world’s biggest collections of trophies.
Also listed are Jacques and Micheline Henrijean who have logged 240 kills in six continents, Spaniards Tony Sanches-Arino with 4,044 kills (1,317 being elephants) and Marcial Sequeira with 2,000, Trump fundraiser Steven Chancellor with 428 and Zimbabwean Ron Thomson with 5,930.
Thomson told The Sun newspaper: “I didn’t have any sentiment. I’m totally unrepentant, a hundred – ten thousand – times over for any of the hunting I’ve done. I happen to enjoy it.”
In the book’s foreword, adventurer Ranulph Fiennes says: “We are told that we face a biodiversity crisis every bit as serious as the climate crisis. Yet the slaughter, inexplicably, continues unabated. The time has come to decide whether or not to close this chapter of our history. The choice is now in our hands.”
“There are no more than 20,000 African lions left, 7,000 cheetahs, 5,000 black rhinos, yet it is still legal to hunt them for trophies,” he says. “It’s not about killing for food or human necessity. This is about vanity. It’s killing for enjoyment. They want to boast about it, post a picture and stick the animal above the fireplace.
“Trophyism is hunting for dominance and status, flaunting your wealth.” Killing sentient creatures, he says, is nothing less than murder. “It is done with premeditation and without provocation or biological justification. The animals are entirely innocent creatures killed for ego-gratification and fun.”
Quoting conservationist Gareth Patterson, he says repeated shooting of wild animals is serial killing for gratification and no different from killing innocent people. “Like the serial killer, the trophy hunter plans with great care where and how the killing will take place, in what area, with what weapon.” He refers to Graham Collier, writing in Psychology Today, who says “thrill killing” is a mark of both serial killers and trophy hunters.
“What prompts some people to kill animals for sport and souvenirs?” asks Goncalves. “Some scientists believe trophy hunting is a form of sexual gratification.” He quotes Dr Joel R Saper of the University of Michigan, who says: “Hunting may reflect a profound yet subtle psychosexual inadequacy.” It’s also what’s described as “costly signalling”, a form of exhibitionism.
Among the many quotes from hunters is an article by a hunter’s wife who accompanied her husband: “My heart was pounding at an excessive pace, my clothes were soaked through. How the human body jolts to life when all senses are simultaneously alive. To say I was fevered with excitement would be a vast understatement.”
The general public, however, clearly has no taste for trophy hunting. In two UK polls, 80% and 86% said it should be banned. In the US, nearly 70% of survey voters opposed it and almost 80% were against imports of trophies from species such as lions and elephants.
Both Montana and Texas wildlife departments found wounding rates to be 51%. In Michigan it was 58% and in Vermont 63%. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources found that shot deer travelled an average of 74 yards in agony before dying.
These rates are higher for traditional weapons, yet SCI awards prizes for killing done with archery arrows, crossbows and muzzle loaders.
The hunting industry – its clubs, its gun merchants and its political bribery – comes in for withering criticism in the book. For many years, but particularly under the Trump administration, hunting organisations have campaigned for “liberalisation” of wildlife laws, to strip back legal protections which restrict sport-hunting of wildlife – and they’re succeeding.
Since 2000, SCI has spent $140-million on protecting the freedom to hunt through policy advocacy, litigation and education for federal and state legislators in the US.
Amid the coronavirus outbreak, the Trump administration unveiled plans to open 2.3 million acres of land at wildlife refuges and fish hatcheries for hunting and fishing.
The SCI also spends millions of dollars and pounds each year on lobbying and has poured large amounts of money into campaigns of candidates at election time, including that of Trump’s Interior Secretary when he ran for Congress.
The industry receives, in turn, money by auctioning off hunts for animals like polar bears and from sponsorships that are often surprising. Many are from household brands and manufacturers such as Yamaha and the Boy Scouts Association. It has partnered with the Salvation Army to provide “shooting programmes” for thousands of children.
The SCI’s Records Book, says Goncalves, encourages hunters to shoot the biggest animals of each species by stipulating a minimum “score” of size or weight for a trophy to be eligible. “In so doing it has driven a process of artificial selection within species which has left many – including lions and African elephants – fighting for their survival.”
When defending trophy hunting in the media, says Goncalves, hunters often claim it has conservation or job-creation benefits. However, when describing the hunts in industry journals and online forums, there is rarely any mention of this.
“Instead, hunters’ accounts often include graphic details of the shocking injuries and suffering experienced by animals and focus on the sheer thrill of the hunt.”Blame for the mass killing of wild animals is also attributed to the UN wildlife trade organisation CITES, which lists species that the international community has determined are threatened with extinction.
“CITES currently allows [wild animals] to be killed for no other reason than to provide sordid entertainment for a privileged few. Trophy hunting is exempted from many of CITES’ restrictions on wild animal trade because it is – somewhat bizarrely – not considered to be a commercial activity.”
In Goncalves’ view, Oasis rock star Liam Gallagher got it about right when he asked: “What century are we living in? How can we call ourselves a civilisation if we think murdering animals for a laugh is OK? Trophy hunters are spoilt little brats. Haven’t they got enough toys to play with? They’re wiping out wildlife. Soon there will be nothing left. How are we going to explain that to future generations?” DM
Don Pinnock is a freelance environmental writer who works with the Conservation Action Trust.