Sport is sanitized war, and some say that the definition of any “sport” is the inherent potential for personal injury or death. Going by that standard, you could make a case that big game hunting 170 years ago might have been considered a “sport“; guns misfired, they weren’t accurate, and took forever to reload. So there was a real possibility of death at the pointy ends of charging rhinos, elephants and lions. By comparison, then, the modern Big Game “hunt” is far less “sport” than it is an organized “execution.”
But say the words “execution for sport” nowadays, and they’ll always bring you back to one organization: the National Rifle Association. You may recall that the NRA drew some fire from the sane world recently when gun lobbyist Tony Makris lived out his big game fantasies on an episode of the now cancelled NRA-sponsored “Under Wild Skies,” shooting a standing elephant in the face twice and celebrating with the “special” act of bringing the murdered animal’s pointy teeth (ivory tusks) back to camp.
But bringing ivory back to the United States for sale has been illegal for some time now. These laws were designed to take a dent out of the heavy toll ivory poachers were taking on the elephant population, driving it ever closer to extinction. It hasn’t stopped it, though — even now, poachers kill some 35,000 elephants every single year, primarily for their immensely valuable ivory.
And that’s in addition to the lives legally claimed by licensed hunters; a survey of African nations found that over a thousand permits a year are issued to Americans alone to execute elephants for fun. America is currently the world’s second largest market for illegal ivory behind China, where it (along with seemingly everything else ever imported into China) is thought to cure impotence with dragon power. Or something.
Recently, the Obama administration unveiled a set of initiatives designed to curb illegal ivory trade in the world’s second largest black market, imposing a one-year, blanket ban on all ivory and elephant trophies imported from prime poaching and elephant-killing nations Zimbabwe and Tanzania. The ivory embargo stated that the degree of legal and illegal pachyderm liquidation in these nations is
“…not sustainable and is not currently supporting conservation efforts that contribute towards the recovery of the species.”
But that isn’t the legislation that has the NRA up in arms. Again. No, the NRA’s latest Freedom Tantrum involves another set of laws passed on February 24th, 2014, banning the sale of elephant sport trophies, ivory or ivory-containing firearms that were newer than 100 years old, or imported following the ban. That, predictably they say, is a violation of the Holy Amendment, an example of “overreach of authority” and proof that Obama’s coming to take their guns. According to a release from the NRA, “honest, law-abiding American citizens” should be free to sell guns as they see fit.
(Well, then we should definitely start incorporating compressed Bolivian cocaine into gun grips. Imagine the two-for-one market on that!)
That’s the standard response, but interestingly, it isn’t the end of the NRA’s statement on the matter. The last line in an alternative bill backed (read: “written”) by the NRA and sponsored by Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Steve Daines (R-MT) reads thus:
“Your actions today may determine if the sale and trade of firearms that contain ivory, as well as the importation of sport-hunted elephants, will be banned.”
The Bill (S.2587 — The Lawful Ivory Protection Act of 2014) aims to amend existing laws so as to negate Obama’s ban on ivory and elephant parts imported on and prior to the February ban. Ostensibly, the complaint involves firearms with ivory inlays — but it also includes the sale of any other elephant trophy harvested by any of the thousand-per-year American “sportsmen” who paid good money to travel abroad, and bring home proof that they shot an elephant in the face.
After all, what’s the point in playing out your fantasies of Allan Quartermaine if you’ve got no more evidence of your execution than Tony Soprano? But you have to appreciate the irony: For once, the NRA is actually concerned about protecting animals…as long as they’re dead.
h/t: Huffington Post
More from AATTP about Americans killing animals in Africa for sport:
- Watch Sick NRA Lobbyist Shoot Elephant in the Face, Celebrate With Champagne (Video)
- Photo Of Smiling Woman On Slain Giraffe Stirring Up Outrage (GRAPHIC IMAGES)