Donald Trump and Ban on Trophy Hunting Imports

Week 2

Hall, Carla. “Trump's best decision so far: Doubling down on banning elephant trophies.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 20 Nov. 2017, www.latimes.com/opinion/opinion-la/la-ol-trump-tweets-elephant-trophies-20171120-story.html.

This opinion piece, written by Carla Hall, published on November 20th, 2017 to the Los Angeles Times, outlines (and commends) U.S. President Trump's decision to preserve the Obama administration's legislation that curbs trophy hunting, especially on elephants. The article briefly mentions Trump's angle on the practice (i.e. horrific), discusses illicit kills and methods by poachers (e.g. using drones to scour elephant territory), touches on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's initial intention to rescind the previous president's embargo, the animals' recurring plight, and cites Lara Trump's (whose husband, Eric, Donald's son, has been an avid hunter himself) potential advocacy against the activity. Furthermore, the article conveys bias, which evidently censures poaching and speaks out against the notion that poaching facilitates conservation. Though not laden with significant detail, these points provide prompts for depth into the politics, involvement, discord, and advocacy of the differing standpoints on the matter. 

Lowry, Rich. “Trump Is Right about Trophy Hunting.” National Review, National Review, 21 Nov. 2017, www.nationalreview.com/article/453926/donald-trump-trophy-hunting-ban-trump-right-keep-ban.

This opinion piece was written by Rich Lowry, published on November 21st, 2017 for the National Review. It accentuates the predicament of African elephants in Zambia and Zimbabwe regarding their ensnarement in endangerment and proximity to extinction. Lowry cites the substantial scope in the decline of the species' populations (i.e. from approx. 10 million to around 350,000 today). It briefly discusses (or rather questions) the view that endorses hunting as a means of conservation, and touches on the Zimbabwean government's involvement. Being an opinion article, it is gravitated towards forbidding poaching and importing the animals' body parts, deplores the practice, asserts that elephants are intelligent and emotional creatures, and favours economical alternatives of profit, such as wildlife tourism. These are viable prompts to investigate the nature of the topic in depth, political influence, respective convictions of opposing parties, and matters on ethics.

Week 3

Patel, Neel V. “Lifting the Ban on Elephant Trophies Will Probably Help Save Elephants.” Slate Magazine, 16 Nov. 2017, www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2017/11/lifting_the_ban_on_elephant_trophies_will_probably_help_save_elephants.html.

This article was written by Neel V. Patel, published on the State magazine platform on November 16th, 2017. This article attempts to posit that trophy hunting, in the context of Donald Trump's contemplation on reversing the Obama administration's ban on trophy kills from Zimbabwe and Zambia (preceding his subsequent decision to keep the ban), can potentially contribute to elephant conservation practices. Evidently backing the nature of the commerce, the article cites the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which suggests that hunting that is meticulously regulated can accrue revenue that can be put back into conservation. Patel contends that hunting can control the elephant populations (despite studies expounding the critical decline of the species), and claims that bureaucratic procedures enacted by the Zimbabwean and Zambian governments (such as hunting quotas and regulatory mechanisms) can help facilitate the revitalization of healthy elephant populations.

Pacelle, Wayne. “Interior Department to allow imports of elephant and lion trophies from Africa, reversing Obama policies · A Humane Nation.” A Humane Nation, 16 Nov. 2017, blog.humanesociety.org/wayne/2017/11/interior-department-allow-imports-elephant-lion-trophies-africa-reversing-obama-policies.html.

This blog post was written by Wayne Pacelle for his blog A Humane Nation, on November 17th, 2017. The post discusses the situation of the African elephants being threatened in Zimbabwe and Zambia, with the animals listed under the U.S. federal Endangered Species Act (which stipulates that hunting trophies can be imported only if the federal government deems their killing as conducive to the species' survival). Pacelle addresses the corruption that pervades the Zimbabwe government, touches on the erstwhile president Robert Mugabe's condemnation, and enumerates a few problems with Zimbabwe's elephant management plan. The blog calls out the Department of the Interior, who overlooks the scientific evidence substantiating that much of the elephant endangerment status is attributed to trophy hunting. Pacelle also mentions the subtexts of trophy hunting, of how the usual perpetrators are affluent, white people, and he contrasts their intentions (premised on ego and greed) and the local people who hunt the elephants as part of their livelihoods, which are undermined by the former group who hunt animals solely for trophies.

Week 4

Cruise, Adam. “Is Trophy Hunting Helping Save African Elephants?” National Geographic, National Geographic Society, 17 Nov. 2015, news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/11/151715-conservation-trophy-hunting-elephants-tusks-poaching-zimbabwe-namibia/.

This article for Natural Geographic was written by Adam Cruise on November 17, 2015. The article argues the point that trophy hunting endorsed by governments does not facilitate the elephant conservation campaign. The premise that trophy hunting will help alleviate elephant endangerment is elucidated by organizations, such as The International Union for Conservation of Nature, saying that hunting that is well-managed can generate revenue that can be used for conservation purposes, as well as for subsidizing poor local communities in African countries. However, some rural villages in Zimbabwe attest that community projects like CAMPFIRE, do not give them any money.

Paterniti, Michael . “Should We Kill Animals to Save Them?” Poaching and Conservation, Natural Geographic, 20 Sept. 2017, www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2017/10/trophy-hunting-killing-saving-animals/.

This magazine article was written by Michael Paterniti for Natural Geographic. This online piece discusses the morals people hold regarding trophy hunting. People, such as government bodies, demonstrate support for the activity due to economic revenues. People who are for trophy hunting may express indignation towards people who are against trophy hunting, saying it is not fair for people from another nation to criticize how people manage their wildlife. Others suggest that there should be a middle ground for hunting. The article also mentions certain practices, codes of honour, and policies that have been upheld by hunters, such as not hunting certain female animals. This article is a viable start to delving deeper into the ethics surrounding trophy hunting.

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Week 4

Peter A. Lindsey, et al. “Trophy Hunting and Conservation in Africa: Problems and One Potential Solution.” Conservation Biology, vol. 21, no. 3, 2007, pp. 880–883. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/4620884.

This is a conservation biology journal article written in 2007 by Peter A. Lindsey, L. G. Frank, R. Alexander, A. Mathieson and S. S. Romañach. This article argues the point that trophy hunting in African nations, such as Mozambique and Zambia, accrues revenue, which can be poured into local communities in order to provide incentives for conservation. The article contends that managed trophy hunting can contribute to the conservation and rehabilitation of endangered species. The article also asserts that other alternatives of tourism may not be as effective in the context of conservation, since more resources are exhausted. Problems, however, emanate from irresponsible and corrupt governments and institutions that do not give back to local communities or permit these communities ownership of wildlife.

Gunn, Alastair S. “Environmental Ethics and Trophy Hunting.” Ethics and the Environment, vol. 6, no. 1, 2001, pp. 68–95. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/40339004.

This journal article on ethics and the environment was published in 2001, written by Alastair S. Gunn. In abstract, the paper discusses the general discourse surrounding the ethics of trophy hunting. It provides perspectives pertinent to those who are against hunting and those who are for it. However, this article seems to veer more towards the justification of properly managed trophy hunting, but posits that killing animals is generally viewed as acceptable only if the context is not meant to kill indiscriminately. Given this, the article suggests that hunting in general does not threaten biodiversity and trophy hunting, if it contributes to circumstances like population control, has a degree of merit. The article does mention how people who wish to kill for pure enjoyment may have desires for control, power, and a chance to boast, which is regarded as reprehensible, even by the hunting community.  

Week 5

Cousins, Jenny A., et al. “Exploring the Role of Private Wildlife Ranching as a Conservation Tool in South Africa: Stakeholder Perspectives.” Ecology and Society, vol. 13, no. 2, 2008. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/26267980.

This ecology and society journal article was written by Jenny A. Cousins, Jon P. Sadler and James Evans, published in December of 2008. This journal article discusses how public park dealing with wildlife ranching are faced with a dearth of funds and must resort to private landowners. The article focuses on the advantages, obstacles, and limitations with regards to private wildlife ranching as an agency of species conservation in South Africa. The article provides arguments that are premised on the idea that maintained game hunting can be a viable means of conservation if done properly. However, the article also talks about limitations that the industry faces concerning such conservation practices. There is also discussion of how many businesses espouse the approach that is inclined towards profit as opposed to bona-fide conservation. 

Cruise, Adam. “CAT - The effects of trophy hunting on five of Africa's iconic wild animal populations in six countries – Analysis.” Conservation Action Trust, 12 Feb. 2018, conservationaction.co.za/resources/reports/effects-trophy-hunting-five-africas-iconic-wild-animal-populations-six-countries-analysis/.

This article was written by Adam Cruise for the Conservation Action Trust company. The article touches on the premise that well-managed trophy hunting can be used as a means to accumulate revenue and engender incentives for people to engage in campaigns for animal conservation so that lands can be maintained, populations can be restored, and species can be safeguarded from the harms of poaching. The article does point out that trophy hunting can be a contributing factor to the decline of species such as elephants, lions, cheetahs, rhinoceroses, and leopards. It also expounds that there is a correlation between legal hunting and poaching. The piece also discusses how trophy hunting does have the potential to be a driving force for corruption and that there is unfair distribution of the profits generated, which are purported to be allocated for communities in order to spur conservation awareness.

Week 6

Weisberger, Mindy. “Hunting Big Game: Why People Kill Animals for Fun.” Scientific American, 28 May 2017, www.scientificamerican.com/article/hunting-big-game-why-people-kill-animals-for-fun/.

This article was written by Mindy Weisberger for Scientific American, on May 27, 2017. The article touches on the incentives that galvanize proponents of trophy hunting into paying exorbitant amounts of money to shoot down animals, especially large ones, for recreational purposes. Weisberger expounds that among such hunters, there is an impulse for power and to flaunt status. Also, there is the idea that trophy hunters who travel to foreign lands (which entails costs of travel and other expenses) want to assert that they can handle financial costs, which ties back to status. Evidently, there are subtexts of insecurity among practitioners. Exploring the mentality and reasons behind trophy hunting can further develop the discourse of the general ethics surrounding the activity.

Mallet, Xanthe. “Why we may never understand the reasons people hunt animals as 'trophies'.” The Conversation, 27 Feb. 2018, theconversation.com/why-we-may-never-understand-the-reasons-people-hunt-animals-as-trophies-45701.

This article, categorized under health and medicine for The Conversation was written by Xanthe Mallet. The gist of the article is not meant to provide a conclusive or concrete exposition as to to exactly hunters hunt for pure sport, for the reasons are disparate and apt to subjectivity. The article does present several points that constitute a trophy hunter's mindset through a more psychological standpoint. Mallet posits that sometimes, the need to kill animals in adulthood emanates from early childhood experiences of hurting animals. The article mentions that many infamous killers, such as Jeffrey Dahmer, attributed a portion of their sadistic behaviour to abusing animals in their childhood. Asides from this potential and tentative reason, it is suggested hunters kill for the sake of power and dominance and possess three distinct traits: narcissism, Machiavellianism, and, psychopathy. These set of traits should be scrutinized more in order to conclude if trophy hunters meet this profile.

Week 7

The Humane Society of the United States, and Humane Society International. Trophy Hunting by the Numbers; The United States' Role in Global Trophy Hunting. Feb. 2016, www.hsi.org/assets/pdfs/report_trophy_hunting_by_the.pdf

This is a journal authored by the Humane Society of the United States, as well as by the Humane Society International. The journal provides statistical data and information pertaining to how American hunters influence certain wildlife in global contexts. The study gleaned data from countries such Canada, South Africa, Namibia, Mexico, Zimbabwe, New Zealand, Tanzania, Argentina, Zambia, and Botswana. The journal encompasses scrutiny on sundry animal species from their respective homes, such as elephants in Africa, which the population of the animal has substantially declined (around ten million in the thirties and there are around 433,999-683,888 as of 2016). The journal also discusses policies of trophy hunting practices in the indicated countries. Statistical information is an effective agent that is conducive to broadening the scope of perspectives, because it is too simple to make allegations of animal population decline, increase, or equilibrium. However, data, undoubtedly, can corroborate such claims. In the context of ethics, numbers bolster insight and demonstrate if trophy hunting practices, regardless of legitimacy, takes a toll on animals or not.

“Issuance of Import Permits for Zimbabwe Elephant Trophies Taken on or After January 21, 2016, and on or Before December 31, 2018.” Federal Register, Office of the Federal Register, 17 Nov. 2017, www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/11/17/2017-24974/issuance-of-import-permits-for-zimbabwe-elephant-trophies-taken-on-or-after-january-21-2016-and-on.

This is a U.S. government document issued by the Office of the Federal Register, which provides an overview to the premise, postulated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, that a systematic killing of trophy animals in Zimbabwe, most notably African elephants, can demonstrate prospects of species survival (which is referred to as enhancement finding). In order for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to retain trophy hunting legislation, they must substantiate the claim that sport-hunting can serve as a mode of conservation. They also must review the status of the elephant population and the total management program for the elephants in each country to assure it is advocating conservation. The document in general delineates policies and organizations that seek to reconcile trophy hunting demand and conservation. For example, the Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE) discusses the source and amount of revenue that is accrued through programs and the revenue used in communal areas. There is also the Zimbabwe National Elephant Management Plan (EMP) and the Tourism Receipts Accounting System (TRAS), which tracks revenue obtained via trophy hunting. TRAS registers authorized hunts and captures data such as client information and origins, the value of the trophies, and the area of the hunting. The document also suggests that the collaboration between organizations, NGOs, land owners, and safari concessionaires can ameliorate elephant management and anti-poaching campaigns. This document provides some context to claims of policies and management alleged to be conducive to helping the crises met by endangered animal species, such as African elephants.

Lartey, Jamiles. “Trump Sons' Hunting in Focus as US Lifts Import Ban on African Elephant Trophies.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 16 Nov. 2017, www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/nov/16/trump-sons-us-lifts-import-ban-african-elephant-trophies.

This is a news article written by Jamiles Lartey, published on November 16, 2017 for The Guardian. The article discusses how the Trump administration's initial decision to revoke the ban on importing sport-hunted animal commodities incited backlash from vocal vox populi. People who were against this decision resorted to dredging the U.S. president's son's (Eric and Donald Jr.) penchant for trophy hunting. People on twitter including celebrities like Mia Farrow, reproached the Trump family by posting photos of the sons posing with dead animals, including an African elephant and an African leopard. This article demonstrates a modicum of the outcry faced by both the Trump administration and family, which is indicative of the conviction of animal welfare proponents. This provides further context for Trump not lifting the imports ban and provides subtexts of the ethical debate of trophy hunting. 

Bale, Rachael. “What the Ban on Elephant Trophies Means.” National Geographic, National Geographic Society, 18 Nov. 2017, news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/11/wildlife-watch-trump-trophy-hunting-ban-tweet-elephants0/.

This article was written by Rachael Bale, published on November 17, 2017 for National Geographic. It discusses President Trump's decision to keep the ban on importing game trophies from Zambia and Zimbabwe. Days prior, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under Trump's administration opted to lift the Obama administration's ban on imported trophies. This was announced on November 15, 2017 at the Safari Club International event, which elicited substantial backlash. The Obama administration decided to impose this ban due to findings that the status-quo of hunting did not contribute to the survival and longevity of African species, especially elephants, whose population has declined 11% since 2005 due to ivory poaching. The article touches on hunters' claims that their hunting fees are pooled into local communities, which allegedly creates incentives for conservation campaigns. There are also concerns of people exploiting legal hunting policies and using them s alibis to hunt animals illicitly. Despite the Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke's statements that hunting can help endangered or threatened species, he said that import permits would be put on hold. This article provides context and introduces the onset of this whole issue. This initial issue will segway into the broader topics of trophy hunting and the sentiments held by certain people.