Dear World Wildlife Fund (WWF),
It has just come to my attention that your organisation supports “sport” hunting as a viable means of wildlife conservation.
I recently read one of your quotes:
“WWF would not openly be supporting the sustainable use of wildlife for the hunting industry as a method for conservation if it did not work.”
I regret that I cannot agree with this. I am not saying this as a knee jerk, emotional reaction. I have been keeping an eye on the hunting industry for some years now and I’m afraid there is no way I can continue to support an organisation that supports hunting for any reason other than ‘survival’. I also don’t believe WWF can know for certain whether it is “a method of conservation that works”.
I would like to know why I should continue to support your organisation in light of what I have just learnt. Please don’t give me the usual tired justification of how hunters “protect” wildlife against poachers or that hunting brings in “foreign revenue” and “creates sustainable jobs”.
In the first place, in the scores of barbaric video material I have viewed of international “professional sport hunters”, I have yet to observe one hunter that shows any inkling of bravery. They are always surrounded by other “professional sport hunters” who are also armed with heavy calibre, high powered rifles ‘just in case’ things don’t quite go according to plan. A hunter who hunts with a spear or a knife could be called brave but can we really call the (generally) overweight, privileged business people who feature in these hunting videos (and have to be driven to within striking distance of their prey because they are so unfit) courageous? Please explain how hunters are contributing to the preservation of wildlife and biodiversity or helping to reduce the poaching in this country.
Then there is the argument of job creation and foreign revenue. The usual neo-liberal economic model that involves the enrichment of an elite few, coupled to minimum wages for everyone else. The amount of foreign revenue that flows into South Africa is vague and unsubstantiated and I would really like to hear a factual explanation (rather than the speculative/aspirational version provided by the Department of Environmental Affairs) as to how this income really contributes to building an equitable, humane and sustainable economy. Most of the wealth in this country is in the hands of a minority and continues to be so as the wealth inequality gap grows ever wider. If WWF is really impartial about this they should do a proper, holistic investigation which examines all the complex factors involved. The hunting industry is merely perpetuating the same business model that many other industries practice in this country which are neither interested in human or animal rights nor the preservation of the environment.
Please don’t respond to this with a whole bunch of academic mumbo-jumbo. I am myself busy with a Master’s in Sustainable Development and am experiencing, first-hand, the enormous limitations of academic study in solving complex problems. I would like to incorporate some of this in my thesis next year but I doubt I will get very far because the little contact I have had with the hunting industry always seems to illicit the same response that resonates with gun ownership lobbyists in the USA – “if you want me to give up my firearm, you will need to pry it from my dead fingers”! I am pretty sure many at WWF know what I am talking about as I have seen how some of the hunting industry players speak and behave.
continue reading please………………