Friends of Animals (FoA) believes the trophy hunting industry is as grave and immoral as other things that occur because of the “almighty dollar”—from the sex trafficking industry and the illicit trade in “blood diamonds” to greedy, dishonest doctors profiting from the disease of addiction.
Money and greed may blind people to the severity of these atrocities—but those things certainly don’t make them ok.
That is the bold message that FoA’s new anti-trophy hunting campaign, “Money Doesn’t Make it Ok,” created by Chemistry Atlanta, is built upon—starting with a chilling, emotionally driven short film that confronts all of the above. The creative also includes compelling posters, which appear in Manhattan and Brooklyn, because New York is the top port of entry of trophy hunted animals. From 2005 to 2014, 159,144 trophy hunted animals were imported into New York.
Social media components include Facebook and Instagram ads and art, as well as an animated gif featuring images of trophy hunters and a counter that brings awareness to the number of animals killed regularly by American trophy hunters. (Watch the film here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSGHqoobMpU&feature=youtu.be)
The goal of the campaign is two-fold: to raise money to bolster FoA’s efforts to end the importation of threatened and endangered trophy hunted animals into the United States by 2020, and to raise awareness about one of the tools we are using to accomplish that goal—Cecil’s Law.
"Justice arrives for threatened and endangered animals one animal and species at a time,” said Priscilla Feral, president of FoA. “We are targeting the motivations of vainglorious trophy hunters with educational and legislative remedies so well-heeled cowards who feel entitled to murder Africa’s wildlife are unable to ship the heads and carcasses back to adorn their walls of shame."
Cecil’s Law, drafted by FoA, would ban the importation, sale, possession and transportation of African elephants, lions, leopards and black and white rhinos and their body parts. The legislation has been introduced in Connecticut and New York, where lawmakers became concerned about trophy hunting following the killing of the beloved African lion Cecil by American dentist Walter Palmer in 2015.
“New York is the number one port of entry into the United States from Africa. With that comes an exorbitant amount of big game ‘trophies’ being imported into the country that celebrate the unconscionable killing of the Big Five African species,” said state Sen. Tony Avella, who introduced Cecil’s Law in New York. “Cecil’s Law seeks to close off their entry into the U.S. through New York. By banning the importation, possession, sale and transportation of all Big Five African Species within New York, the state will not be encouraging or abetting the continued demise of these species by sport-hunting. It is time for NY to do what it does best and lead.”
American trophy hunters believe they are entitled to deny the world of such a grand animal like Cecil because they have plenty of cash to do so. They also perpetuate the myth that their money contributes to conservation. “But what Palmer didn’t expect was the public backlash ensued, and our campaign is meant to harness that emotion and let the majority of non-hunting Americans know that they can use their money and power to make trophy hunting go extinct,” Feral said.
The importance of Cecil's Law is that it recognizes trophy hunting remains one of the main reasons that Africa’s Big Five are heading to extinction. Americans make up the greatest number of trophy hunters travelling to Africa for the kill, particularly in countries where hunting safaris are most expensive.
“Cecil’s Law sends a strong message all around the country and those in Washington that trophy hunting needs to be stopped. Domestic legislation like Cecil’s Law is vital to any hope of the long-term survival of these animal,” said Michael Harris, director of Friends of Animals’ Wildlife Law Program. “There is no evidence that trophy hunting contributes to conservation in the natural range of these animals, but there is growing scientific evidence that the legal trade of trophy-hunted species actually enables the illegal poaching by providing poachers a legal market to launder their contraband.”
“Last year, I was proud to lead Senate passage of Cecil’s Law and look forward to once again leading on this issue,” said Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk, Conn.). “Banning the importation, transportation and possession of certain African wildlife parts will help protect endangered species who are being brutally hunted and needlessly killed. Across the continent, African nations are working to protect elephants, lions, leopards and rhinoceroses from extinction, and passing Cecil’s Law is a small step we can take to help them.”