How Far Will You Go?

By | April 8, 2008

I make no apologies for what I am about to write. It’s not often that I am moved to write about something so controversial. But tonight I have just finished watching Louis Theroux’s African Hunting Holiday.

It made me think back to an ex-boyfriend I once had who possessed an air rifle. I was absolutely besotted by him. At the time I was probably about 15 years old, he of course was older than me. He would have been about 17 years old.

My relationship with him wasn’t based upon sex, it couldn’t have been further from my mind. I really believed that I loved him. He cheated on me. I know because I heard about him meeting other girls when I was with my friends. I simply chose not to believe the rumours.

He was the object of my attention and I would have done anything for him. You may have already guessed, I was believe it or not a very shy girl and not very confident. I suppose I thought that nobody else would feel the way he did about me. So I put up with quite a lot.

We would meet up and rather innocently just go for walks in the countryside. Hand in hand we would walk for miles. Simple times. It wasn’t necessary to shag the brains out of each other.

The one thing above all that really got to me about him was his desire to go out shooting with his air rifle. I was used to preserving life and as a youngster had raised several orphaned animals back to health and release. So to me the whole concept of killing a wild animal was quit abhorrent.

He on the other hand could not understand my disdain for such behaviour. It was a concept that I just couldn’t grasp then, as now. Why would you want to extinguish life when you can give it, or if you have to shoot it then do so with a camera. I would much rather use a camera to capture an animal than a trap to ensnare it of a gin to kill it.

I know there are arguments that we eat meat although we don’t kill it. And yes I hold up my hands and say I do eat meat but there is a difference between killing an animal for food and one for trophy, which is what the programme was all about.

It was the same principal with my ex-boyfriend. He would shoot at squirrels but not for food. He somehow got a kick out of extinguishing a small animal’s life. It sickened me the first time I witnessed it. He took aim at the squirrel and watched as it pissed itself and fell from the tree. What a big man that made him.

In some kind of weird paradox I came to both love him and hate him at the same time for this. I would nudge him as he took aim to deliberately ensure he missed his quarry. This would agitate him no end but I really didn’t care.

Yet despite all this, I still had very deep thoughts for him. I would have said love because at that age I had no comparison and that is what it felt like. Now I am older and wiser.

But tonight’s programme put me right back there. The disturbed gut wrenching feeling came out of me again. These people were able to shoot almost anything at a price, even lions. In spite of the fact that the programme had me shouting out at the screen I continued to watch to the end because Louis has a way of encouraging the worst out of people, and he did.

One breeder of the “Trophy” animals was given to an outburst which made him look such a mercenary, money-motivated man.

But I think above all I was most disgusted by the wife of one of the hunters who had allegedly cried when her husband shot a zebra…she decided that she wanted to be one of the clan and ended up killing an antelope herself?

Women are by their very nature, nurturing, loving people and she had been carried along in the pack mentality and become one of them.

Enough said…