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General News    H3'ed 8/14/18

Is Animal Violence Approaching a "Me Too" Moment?

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John James Audubon loved to paint birds...and shoot them.

Charles Darwin described the natural world"while blasting away at it. ("I do not believe that anyone could have shown more zeal for the most holy cause than I did for shooting birds. How well I remember killing my first snipe, and my excitement was so great that I had much difficulty in reloading my gun from the trembling of my hands," he wrote.)

Theodore Roosevelt founded the National Wildlife Refuge program...while killing rhinos, hippos, elephants, lions and leopards.

Teddy Roosevelt Loved to Kill Animals
Teddy Roosevelt Loved to Kill Animals
(Image by Martha Rosenberg)
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Some say we are approaching a "me too" moment in which public figures' love of animal violence will be no different than their abusing a partner or committing rape. It will no longer be ignored or condoned as "boys will be boys."

For example many were sickened when the King of Spain thrilled at killing an elephant in 2012. Bob Parsons, the CEO of Godaddy.com, videotaped his own killing of an elephant. Who wants to patronize Go Daddy after that? Jimmy John's founder and CEO Jimmy John Liautaud proudly posted photos of himself with murdered elephants, a rhinoceros and a leopard and some began boycotting his chain. And who can forget Trump's sons posing with big cats they killed?

Then there's David Huckabee, brother of press sec Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who hanged a dog at camp when he was 17. Dad, then Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, tried to bury the news by pressuring law enforcement, but multiple accounts placed the son as involved in the dog's death. Huckabee made a "conscious attempt to keep the state police from investigating his son," I. C. Smith, the former FBI chief in Little Rock told Newsweek , and seemed to be obstructing justice.

Hunters and anti-hunters alike condemned the late Troy Lee Gentry of the Country and Western group Montgomery Gentry for making what fans called a bear snuff film in 2006 in which he killed a penned pet bear named Cubby on videotape to appear the tough guy. Gentry pleading guilty to "falsifying a hunting tag."

"Your career is over unless you take drastic measures to save it, and by taking drastic measures, I mean you need to fight a wild bear," wrote one former fan on a web site. "No guns, no bows, no cages, no 'Cubbies' this time. Just you and a big, angry, wild bear."

Did Cubbie roll "on his back expecting his usual belly rub that followed his afternoon nap," when you killed him asked music critic Peter Grumbine calling Gentry a "sad pantywaist" who "shoots caged animals."

And let's not forget Michael Vick, former American football quarterback who played 13 seasons in the National Football League, primarily with the Atlanta Falcons and the Philadelphia Eagles. He hung and electrocuted helpless dogs in his love of dog fighting.

Most people remember Dick Cheney's love of canned hunting. But few remember that President George H.W. Bush, former Vice-President Dan Quayle and the late Retired Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf Jr. were proud members of Safari Club International (SCI)--the bloodthirsty group that sponsored dentist Walter Palmer's murder of Cecil an African lion in the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe in 2015.

Bush, Quayle and Schwarzkopf actually demanded that the Botswana government keep lion hunts available for trophy hunters and they are widely believed to have killed lions themselves on safaris.

Many predict the day is approaching when "he kills elephants" will carry the same stigma as he "sexually abuses women"----careers will be over and the sad pantywaists will be exiled.

(Article changed on August 14, 2018 at 18:33)

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Martha Rosenberg is an award-winning investigative public health reporter who covers the food, drug and gun industries. Her first book, Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health, is distributed by (more...)

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