Most U.S. adults oppose trophy hunting

November 21, 2017

In October 2015, The Humane Society of the United States  conducted a survey following the trophy killing of Cecil the Lion in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, by a U.S. hunter, Dr. Walter J. Palmer, during the previous summer. At that time, U.S. adults said, by a two to one margin, that they opposed hunting for the purpose of acquiring parts of the killed animal as trophies.

Recently, the Trump administration announced a planned reversal of the Obama administration policy banning imports into the United States of elephant trophies from Zambia and Zimbabwe. After a barrage of denunciations from animal conservation groups and U.S. voters nationwide, Trump put the reversal on temporary hold—warning that he still might go ahead with it in the weeks to come.

While no recent polling results have been released, at the time of the Humane Society poll, 74%  of respondents also said they were opposed to “canned hunting,” which allows animals like lions to be bred and hunted in fenced enclosures for trophies.

Two-thirds of Americans support listing African lions under the Endangered Species Act, in order to to give the species greater federal protections; and 64% support placing restrictions on trophy hunting of native animals,such as bobcats and mountain lions.

By more than a three-to-one margin, respondents said that if they could travel to Africa, they would prefer to spend their tourism dollars in a country that prohibits trophy hunting rather than one that allows it.

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS said: “The wounding and killing of Cecil gave Americans a glimpse of the ugliness of the trophy hunting subculture.

“Killing animals as a head-hunting exercise is cruel, colonial, self-aggrandizing, larcenous and shameful.  The celebrating of the killing— as hunters sit or stand atop a bloodied yet majestic and often endangered animals—shows a profound detachment from the other species who share this planet with us.”

The survey was conducted by Remington Research Group on behalf of The HSUS among  3,668 U.S. adults.

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