Wednesday, May 03, 2006

LIKE SHOOTING ELEPHANTS IN A CAN

South African officials have proposed legislation that would outlaw "canned hunting," the practice that finds rich tourists paying to enter enclosed reserves with high powered rifles to shoot large game. Environment Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk told reporters "The days of captive breeding of listed species for any purposes except science and conservation are over," noting that the law would "close the loopholes that have allowed environmental thugs to get away with immoral activities like canned hunting . . . [that] have cast a shadow on our phenomenal conservation successes, and left a stain on our reputation as world leaders in protecting and promoting biodiversity."

As might be expected, not all South Africans are clammoring in support of the proposal. Pers van Broemenbroem, Parliamentary representative of the conservative "Horns, Hide & Apartheid" Party, announced that "we do not support any retraction from traditions enjoyed for centuries by 2% of South Africans. Blowing holes in magnificent wild creatures, like brutal segregation of the races, is a time-honored ritual in our land, and weak-willed opportunists like Minister van Schalkwyk, who pander to international voices of environmental conservation and race mongrelization, will destroy our way of life forever. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've gotta shoot some elephants before it becomes illegal. Where's that damn chauffer? Did someone untie him? He's probably halfway to Soweto by now . . ."

Van Schalkwyk answered van Broemenbroem's attacks by accusing him of demogoguery, noting that hunting would not become illegal, only that it would "now be permitted only by humane methods, in accordance with strict fair chase principles, by hunters registered with recognized hunting bodies."

Extending on the Minister's comment, a member of Parliament who wished to remain anonymous added, "those guys in Horn, Hide and Apartheid are just stirring things up. Tourists and rich locals will still get to shoot lions, leopards, and the occasional wandering Black man, they'll just have to do it in a way that doesn't scare off foreign investors. Look, we still have segregation, we just don't call it apartheid. That word's bad for business."

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