Exposing the Horror Show

An OpEd by Mikey Sanders

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Exposing the Horror Show

Mikey Sanders, Contributor

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President Trump is changing the politics of big game trophy hunting for the better.

A horror show. With those three words, President Donald Trump broke ranks with his agency bureaucrats, signaled a bold step to save the world’s remaining African elephants and African lions, and quite possibly changed the unsavory power politics of trophy hunting itself.

The president’s comment, yes, was in the context of only a tentative decision. He had announced he was putting on hold the Interior Department’s decision to allow globe-trotting hunters to bring home elephant and lion trophies from two African countries, Zimbabwe and Zambia.

But using this kind of direct language exposed trophy hunting for what it is: a frightful and gratuitous assault on the world’s most spectacular animals. And he signaled he wasn’t buying the tired old excuse that trophy hunters have voiced for years – that the money they pay in license fees and guiding services to kill rare and even endangered animals somehow justifies the killing and is enough to help conserve them.

In a tweet, the president said, “Big-game trophy decision will be announced next week but will be very hard pressed to change my mind that this horror show in any way helps conservation of elephants or any other animal.”

We should be hearing a big thank you from animal activists and conservationists: Thank you, and it’s about time. Stick to your beliefs, Mr. President!

By speaking out so forcefully, Trump stood up for common sense. Trump, as a businessman, then candidate, and then U.S. chief executive, has always had uncommon intuition about where average Americans stand on gut-level issues. Here, he’s recognized that nearly 90 percent of Americans oppose big-game trophy hunting of threatened and endangered species, and that includes the vast majority of hunters who have no appetite for this kind of wasteful, reckless and high-cost killing.

At the root of the matter was an Obama administration decision in 2014 and 2015 to deny trophy hunters the opportunity to bring tusks and other parts of elephants and lions from Zimbabwe and other nations into the United States. America’s small fraternity of big-game hunting enthusiasts furiously opposed these policy upgrades, and these folks were accustomed to having their way with politicians.

In this case, however, the president reportedly listened not only to his own beliefs but to millions of Americans and, importantly, to conservative opinion leaders in the media, businesses, and elsewhere. Animal welfare is not and should never be a partisan issue. Kindness and mercy for animals finds its way into the hearts of every good person, no matter their political stripes.

Perhaps the president also remembered the cries of outrage that circled the globe when Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer shot Cecil the Lion in Africa two and a half years ago, after luring the big cat out of a national park.

Source: UsNews.com

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