Sales up at trophy hunting trade show after protesters claim victory in court
The best intentions of a group opposing trophy hunting may have had adverse effects as the publicity gained from a high-profile court case is being credited for increasing attendance and exposure for the event.
A crowd of roughly 70 people lined a section of Southland Drive near the Delta Calgary South Hotel on Saturday to voice their concerns with the safari hunting trade show being held inside. The demonstration was organized by Ban African Trophy Hunting (BATH), a group that recently celebrated a courtroom victory after trophy hunting event organizers unsuccessfully argued for an injunction prohibiting protests outside their gatherings.
The protesters received audible support from honking motorists on Saturday but the trade show also had its fair share of supporters. Organizers say attendance and sales are up this year and they suspect it’s a result of the publicity gained from the lawsuit.
According to David Little of Safari Club International, the group that sponsored the trophy hunting exhibition and trade show, the club promotes big game hunting, wildlife conservation and contributes significantly to the people of Africa. “The African countries depend upon safari hunters to bring the dollars to conserve large sections of land and their wildlife,” said Little. “Canadians have been going to Africa since the 1900s at least.”
The claims of Safari Club representatives did not sit well with BATH members.
“Trophy hunters will state that the money that they pay goes to conservation and goes to community support,” said Michael Donovan of BATH. “Independent studies have refuted that. There’s absolutely no conservation. In fact, it’s counter-conservation.”
Donovan says a small pittance of money generated through trophy hunting makes its way to the community. The photo safari business operator says his industry does more for the local population and is far more sustainable that trophy hunting and canned hunting.
“When you kill an animal in Africa, no one else in the future can enjoy that animal,” said Donovan. “With a photo safari, that same animal can generate revenue over and over and over again.”
“If we don’t stop the killing going on in Africa of trophy animals there’s not going to be any animals left.”
The Safari Club International Trade Show continues Sunday and BATH officials say they will return with their signs as well.
With files from CTV's Kevin Green