Born Free USA Blog
by Will Travers,
Chief Executive Officer
What can you say about a big-hearted bloke who has rescued dolphins, tigers, elephants and more and whose parents once helped a lion cub from a department store by caring for him in their backyard and engineering his rightful return to Africa? You can safely say that he's got great animal instincts! In 1984, Will Travers joined his parents — "Born Free" film stars Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers — to form what became The Born Free Foundation. With knowledge, passion and compassion dripping from his every word, Will's blogs are sure to make you embrace our crusade to Keep Wildlife in the Wild ®.
It is amazing what excuses people will conjure up when faced with the unacceptability of their behavior.
Right now, the wildlife trophies of Houston billionaire, Dan Duncan, are on display in a Federal courthouse as the prosecution and defense consider what actually happened on a 2002 Russian hunting trip. The prosecutors claim that the trophies, festooned around the courthouse, were taken illegally — shot from helicopters, taken without permit, and illegally imported into the U.S.
Robert Kern, owner of The Hunting Consortium, is charged with knowingly importing trophies through Bush Intercontinental Airport in contravention of foreign law, but it is the excuse of Tim Heaphy, the Virginia lawyer representing the defendants, that leaps out of this sorry story.
Mr. Heaphy is quoted as saying that “This was a charitable economic hunt — a meat-gathering excursion to feed villagers in a very impoverished, remote part of Russia.” Huh! Sorry? You mean the hundreds and thousands of dollars that was spent travelling halfway around the world to shoot these animals was an act of charity??!
Russian law prohibits shooting from helicopters unless for economic purposes and therein lies the potential loophole — you can shoot the animals as long as you are providing economic help — never mind the ‘by-product,’ the trophies! I think we all know what the real purpose was. I just hope that the prosecution proves it.