Born Free USA Blog
by Adam M Roberts,
Chief Executive Officer
When it comes to animals, Adam Roberts not only talks the talk, but also walks the walk. Since beginning his animal advocacy career in Washington, D.C. in 1991, Adam's ambition, tireless involvement, and profound knowledge of conservation and wildlife issues have cemented him as a go-to voice for protecting animals — and he has elevated Born Free USA to the respected and impactful organization that we know today. Adam's compassionate, informed, and forward-thinking blogs will surely motivate you to join us in our fight to Keep Wildlife in the Wild.
The international community is in an uproar, so to speak—and for good reason. In an ironic turn of events, Melissa Bachman, big-game hunter and host of an American hunting show called “Winchester Deadly Passion,” now finds herself to be the one under fire.
Bachman earned instantaneous infamy last week when she posted a Facebook photo of herself, rifle in hand, posing next to a lion she killed in a South African hunt. Along with the photo, the proud caption: “An incredible day hunting in South Africa! Stalked inside 60-yards on this beautiful male lion… What a hunt!” The juxtaposition of Bachman’s wide grin with the lion’s lifeless carcass is nothing short of jarring. The photo rapidly went viral, spiraling into a media frenzy.
And, she’s already feeling the fallout. Not only has National Geographic cut ties with the TV personality, but her controversial photo has sparked an online petition to ban Bachman from ever returning to South Africa. The change.org petition, posted by a Cape Town resident, is titled “The Government of the Republic of South Africa: Deny future entry to Melissa Bachman.” The petition decries, “She is an absolute contradiction to the culture of conservation this country prides itself on." The petition quickly reached its ambitious goal of 400,000 signatures.
Born Free, of course, shares the international community’s disgust. We work hard to protect majestic, endangered lions, and Bachman’s boastful display is callous and offensive.
The Bachman photo debacle is tragic, certainly. A lion is dead, and a ‘huntress,’ as Bachman has been called, is its unapologetic killer. But, if anything positive can possibly arise from this violent death, it’s the heightened public awareness of the fact that such a garish act is surprisingly common. This shocking story has garnered intense media coverage, capturing international attention—and international condemnation. Finally, it’s not just the animal advocates who publicly condemn a senseless animal killing; the international community shows compassionate progress in its outrage and in its united, public stand against a tactless trophy hunter.
And, let’s be clear; hundreds of American men kill lions for sport annually and bring back the trophies. Is it her gender that is causing the uproar? Perhaps. But, the attention paid to the destructive practice of lion hunting is important.
Though it may be too little too late, I find some poetic justice in the hunter becoming the target…