Eye of the Storm: Social Media and Hunting

     They say when it rains it pours. Social Media finds a hundred new things every day to lift up onto a pedestal, and even more to tear down. This segment looks at what is in the Eye of the [Social Media] Storm at this very moment. Sound off on Twitter if you agree or disagree with how the world is handling these topics.
Social Media and Hunting
     In this day and age, having ‘haters’ is a thing people are becoming used to. However, being hated for no reason is completely different than people hating FOR a reason. Lately people have been directing much of their hatred towards hunters, particularly those who specialize in big game. Women like Kendall Jones and Axelle Despiegelaere are being criticized very publicly for their African safaris.
     Jones has been hunting with her father since she was a child, and went on her first African safari at the age of 13. Now a cheerleader for Texas Tech, Jones is becoming a public figure, and her public Facebook page became a war zone after she posted pictures from her more recent safaris.
Source: Clash Daily
     When Belgian student Axelle Despiegelaere’s photo was taken at the Belgium-Russia match at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, her face went viral on the Internet and landed her a then one-time modeling stint in an online L’Oreal commercial. The company was considering about using her again in the future when the commercial did well. Then came the Belgium-USA match, and everything changed. Despiegelaere posted a photo from her African safari last year with a caption that joked about “hunting Americans” in relation to the match, and the Internet blew up yet again. Despiegelaere was subjected to much of the same criticism as Jones was, but on a world-wide scale. To make matters worse, L’Oreal officially ended her contract.
     According to an ABCNews article, Kendall Jones claimed that the safaris on which she goes cost a lot of money, and that all of that money goes into the protection of endangered species from poachers. Typically, big game hunts – also known as trophy hunts – are just that: for the sport of it. But that doesn’t mean that they are killing these animals simply to take their horns, or their heads, or what have you. True hunters would never do that. Any part of the animals killed in these hunts that is edible is usually sent to families in the region who would otherwise not have enough to eat. Not only are they raising money to stop poaching and assisting in population control, but they are also feeding the hungry. Most people with a good Internet connection are not the same ones who are going hungry. As people come to terms with “Sustainable Hunting” as it is often referred to in the United States, the outcry over the big game hunts will die down. Severly regulated hunting is a tool that is often used while trying to control a population. It’s sounds about as backwards as getting your hair trimmed so you can grow it longer, but it is necessary in order for the endangered herds to grow stronger and more aware of the dangers in the world.
     Many people are wondering if the true cause of the hatred stems from the big game being killed, or from the fact that these hunters are teenage girls. You have to admit that you don’t see any of the big game hunters from Animal Planet or the Discovery Channel being publicly criticized and humiliated.
     Someday, the people who are in an uproar right now about a cheerleader and a model going big game hunting might feel just as silly as these people who thought Steven Spielberg actually shot this animatronic Triceratops:
Source: Fogs Movie Reviews
     So, what do you think? Should African safaris – or big game hunting in general (NOT POACHING) – be allowed? Do you think it’s alright as long as hunters are not posting about it on social media? Let me know what you think on Twitter @Ladywoods13.
Until next time,
Amanda.

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