Dear Mr. Kheireddine,
I was shocked and saddened to find out that the front cover of “hunting & safari” features none other than you, Marwan Kheireddine, lecturer in Finance at AUB and minister of state, posing with a freshly killed lion. I cannot begin to express how outraged I was upon discovering that such behavior is being encouraged.
Let’s get something straight. You are hunting for the love of shooting and killing. Let us please save some time and admit that the reason why anyone would go pose in front of their murdered victim and smile a smile of victory is because they enjoy the very act of hunting, of killing, of watching an animal die of its wounds. You’ve killed lions, leopards, crocodiles, bears, ibexes, and whatever looks big and majestic. You enjoy the very act of murder and the power that comes from it. Let’s remember that if people like you had any compassion in their hearts, they wouldn’t kill in the first place – not killing is an actual option. If killing an animal was not about the joy of killing, hunters like you wouldn’t display so much pride in their kill; they would show some humility and not advertise death. No, this is about showing your masculinity. It is about feeling equipped with gigantic balls pumping testosterone until nothing is left but a shell of an adrenaline-filled man dedicated to kill and smile while doing it.
I expect your apologists to use the traditional arguments used to justify such barbarity, namely the money gained (“it can be used to help people!”), and the ‘environmental’ and, dare I say it, ‘moral’ pseudo-argument (“we only hunt really old animals who are about to die anyway and we probably made its death less painful”). These arguments don’t hold water. The conservationist’s biggest obstacle is precisely the expensive price of these magnificent beasts – we’d have a much easier time doing our job if they weren’t. And I don’t think I should bother debunking the second one.
I’d truly love to believe that any post I write would make a difference. Imagine a post like this one converting a hunter into someone who likes deathless sports – too good to be true. But what I can do is urge all those who are already appalled by this to join and support NGOs such as BETA – Beirut for the Ethical Treatment of Animals-, Animals Lebanon, ESMA – Egyptian Society for Mercy for Animals-, SPARE – Society for the Protection of Animal Rights in Egypt – and all the other NGOs in our region working, often with extremely difficult obstacles to overcome, to fight cruelty towards animals. Although they do not directly address the issue (yet) at hand – I suspect it being not that common compared to other acts of cruelty; just common enough – they oppose wildlife trade and would support discouraging and condemning the murder of lions and other wild animals. Only when enough people are actively participating in improving the condition of living beings would blood ‘sports’ like ‘sport’ hunting be considered unacceptable.
Update: I found another person who also wrote an open letter.