Wealthy Westerners on the hunt make me sick

COMMENT BY CAROLINE HUTCHINSON: IS IT just me or does everyone accept there are some things they will never understand?

This week, Glenn McGrath fired up social media after pictures emerged of him posing with guns and dead animals, including an elephant.

McGrath, who played 124 Tests and won three World Cups for Australia, issued a statement saying his hunting safari in 2008 was "in hindsight highly inappropriate".

I'm torn by this.

I've been to Africa and almost everywhere we went animals were treated better than humans.

In some places, where villages sit inside national parks, rogue elephants can create havoc.

Older bulls and young males can be aggressive even when not provoked.

Elephants eat up to 450kg of food per day.

They are messy eaters, uprooting and scattering as much as is consumed. They can be absolutely devastating to subsistence farmers if they get into crops.

In Kenya alone 200 villagers were killed by elephants in the past seven years.

While many people in the West regard elephants with affection, you can understand people who have to share their land feel differently.

So they cull them, just like we cull kangaroos.

This week I've read numerous articles claiming Western hunters pay big money to "take" large game.

Numbers quoted ranged from $5000 to $10,000 per animal. That money is apparently invested back in to African communities.

I have to admit to some scepticism about the supposed altruism of the recreational hunting outfits.

I'd be interested to know how many companies are owned by white-skinned city dwellers and what they are paying the local guides. But that's another story.

The simple truth is that tourists willing to pay big bucks to shoot an animal that needs to be culled anyway benefits everybody.

But now we get to the bit I don't understand.

What type of person wants to kill stuff?

Even the deadliest rogue elephant is just an innocent animal trying to make his way in the world. A beast known to aid other animals, including humans, in distress. An animal that cries real tears for dead family members.

Wealthy Australians flying across the world to stalk and shoot a living thing for a personal thrill makes me sick to my stomach.

Pretending it's to benefit Africa is, in Glenn McGrath's words, highly inappropriate.



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