Empire's coverage of hunt was tasteless

Posted: Monday, July 02, 2007

I hadn't read more than a paragraph of Korry Keeker's vacuous piece of puffery, "Skinning a cat the hard way," (Outdoors, June 17) before deciding I would no longer buy Bullwinkle's pizza.

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I was happy to see the letters by Sherrie Jans and the Crosbys publicly calling out these great white hunters and the Juneau Empire for its tasteless, overblown coverage of their story. I've followed the ensuing exchange of letters and have read nothing that persuades me to change my mind.

Simply put, I refuse to spend money to support, even indirectly, activities I find ethically offensive. I don't buy meat from an industry with a long history of inhumane and environmentally damaging practices. I can easily forego the pizza and medical treatment offered by a couple of people who kill animals for sheer fun.

I don't expect my boycott will put either man out of business, but I hope the public discussion will encourage people to question a mindset that went out of fashion a hundred years ago.

Dr. David Miller's attempt at justifying his and Bill Adair's recent trophy hunt is the perfect companion to Keeker's article. Keeker breathlessly recounts the tale as the mighty hunters set out through the thorny brush, fend off and kill a monstrous beast, and triumphantly return home to splashy headlines in the local paper. Why would mere men undertake such dangerous tasks? Keeker has no idea.

But Miller has the answers. We must kill the leopard (by blasting it to pieces) to save the leopard (from poisoning). We're helping poor sharecroppers by eliminating the big cats that prey on their livestock. What's more, we donate our kills to these hungry unfortunates. And the hapless Africans can't manage their resources, so we're helping out with predator control.

It's a sorry 19th century tale. The reality is a simple economic exchange between a wealthy landowner with a wild animal for sale and a wealthy outsider willing to pay thousands for the bizarre pleasure of killing it.

If Miller and Adair truly want to help Africa, they might consider donating the full cost of their next ego trip to a responsible conservation or famine relief organization. Otherwise, they can bear their white man's burden without my support.

Anita Martin


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