By Zack Briggs | KVOA.com
he issue of trophy hunting remains a global issue, which officials with Safari Club International (SC) view as necessary to enhance animal populations.
Richard Parsons, SCI CEO views hunting as a way of life.
“Since the time there was man-kind, we were and still are hunters. It is a way to be in touch with the natural world that you cannot do in any other way,” Parsons said. “The trophy is a byproduct of the activity just like the meat that everybody eats from what is hunted.”
SCI’s mission is to protect people’s right to hunt and advocating for wildlife conservation.
The organization has invested more than $60 million since 2000 to provide education and humanitarian services on the topic.
Parsons noted hunting equals population control.
“When you conserve the wild land, the water and wild plants that it takes for game species to survive, you conserve everything else that goes with it,” Parsons said.
On Saturday, SPEAK Tucson, an animal rights group, organized a rally downtown.
SPEAK Tucson is one of many entities in support of the statewide campaign to ban trophy hunting in Arizona.
The proposed ballot measure focuses on the protection of five wildcat species including mountain lions, bobcats, jaguars, lynx and ocelots.
“There’s not this built-in need for us to go in and control every aspect of nature,” said Gary Vella, chapter coordinator for SPEAK Tucson.
Animal activists believe trophy hunting serves no legitimate purpose for conservation other than providing a chance to brag, showoff and mount prey.
The goal is to gather a minimum of 150,000 signatures by July.
“If passed, this initiative will spare thousands of Arizona’s wild cats from a cruel death at the hands of trophy hunters and trappers, who chase down these animals with packs of hounds, and trap them with barbaric steel-jawed, leg-hold traps and snares,” said Kellye Pinkleton, campaign director for Arizonans for Wildlife and the Arizona state director of The Humane Society of the United States.”
“If somebody is going to slaughter a mountain lion and put its foot on its head and take a selfie or have their buddy take a picture as far as we’re concerned that’s pictorial trophy hunting,” Vella said.
“It’s not a matter of enjoying the killing. That’s not the right way to put it. Yes, a hunter intends to take his prey but you hunt for the experience of the hunt,” Parsons said.
To learn more about Safari Club International and Arizonans for Wildlife, click: