Trophy hunting, and its companion, canned hunting, are forms of killing wild animals where hunters shoot animals for pleasure and collect their bodies or body parts to display in their homes. Trophy and canned hunters claim they pay hefty fees for killing the animals they profess love for and that the money is plowed back for saving the same creatures in their natural habitat, with local communities benefiting from the hunting operations.
Student, Ines Beyer Ferreira (Character, Huntress) explained, “Animals don't make me cry, however what humans do to animals does. This quote just makes me realize how humans are selfish toward animals."
The ongoing debate on trophy hunting
It so happens in life sometimes that in the midst of facts, statistics and scientific pursuits, we forget the basic moral plinths on which our lives are based upon, ethical precepts that guide our everyday existence without which we would be bankrupt, no matter how many facts or cold reasoning we can bring to the debating lectern. The ongoing debate on trophy hunting, that is still considered respectable in some sectors of the traditional conservation lobby, is one example where a completely morally bankrupt activity still clings on to facile notions of sustainable use. Trophy hunting, and its companion, canned hunting, are forms of killing wild animals where hunters shoot animals for pleasure and collect their bodies or body parts to display in their homes. Trophy and canned hunters claim they pay hefty fees for killing the animals they profess love for and that the money is plowed back for saving the same creatures in their natural habitat, with local communities benefiting from the hunting operations. Whilst there are a few examples where some benefits might have accrued to some local communities in some African countries, with Namibia being touted as the most outstanding success in this regard, it remains crystal clear that the means do not justify the ends. What would the reaction be if we allowed some child abusers to get on with their sodomy as long as they put back some money into children’s groups or if wife-beating were allowed in specific instances if the men involved in the physical assaults donated to women’s rights groups? We would be appalled, is it not, and rightly so. However, we seem to apply a different standard when it comes to applying the same principles to animals that are victims in the trophy and canned hunting operations, businesses that are so sordid that even some sections of their own hunting communities have spoken out against some of their ghastly practices. Of late, there have been several investigations that have exposed the true nature of trophy and canned hunting and films like, ‘Blood Lions’ and ‘Mia And The White Lion’ have portrayed the depths of moral destitution that these industries have sunk into.
A heartfelt video on trophy hunting
A new awareness took over the world after the shooting of a magnificent male lion in Zimbabwe in 2015 by a trophy hunter and slowly and steadily, public opinion is shifting against the specious logic offered to defend trophy hunting. It is in the background of this raging discussion that a group of ten-year-old, grade 5 students of Podar International School in Mumbai have produced a heartfelt video on the trophy hunting debate.
An important message for several capitalistic societies of the world
Chrome Pictures associated itself with this noble cause since it holds an extremely important message for several capitalistic societies of the world. The students of this film were supported and mentored by Ms. Aleya Sen, Founder, Writer, Director and Producer, Chrome Pictures. Commenting on this special association, Aleya quoted, “Such young minds researching and empathizing so deeply on a subject of trophy hunting was motivating enough for me to help them create a voice and to reach out. Mentoring and involving the kids through the entire creative process of conceptualizing up to giving it a shape of a film was an immensely satisfying experience. Many thanks to the educators, the professionals and the technical team who volunteered their support towards this very important cause. My deepest regards to Mrs. Vandhana Lulla (Principal, Podar International School, Mumbai) and the teachers in enabling these kids to feel, think and act at such a young age.”
The education revolution
Mrs. Vandhana Lulla, Principal, Podar International School, Mumbai, says: “I strongly believe that real-life application of knowledge and skills is the hallmark of the education revolution and unless you are a passionate educator and recognize every child’s spirit, the path to this revolution cannot be defined. The UN sustainability goals day at Podar, celebrates real-life learning and application, and this was taken up another notch when our grade 5 learners ideated and conceptualized the idea of a movie for their exhibition, that sends out a strong appeal for each one of us to stand against animal cruelty. Home-school partnerships are essential for a child to flourish and when Ms. Aleya Sen stepped in to help give wings to their concept, it definitely translated into magic on screen. I am so proud of my children and we will continue to create such opportunities for them to evolve into caring, empathetic and clear-sighted, responsible global citizens.”
What humans do to animals make us cry
Student, Ines Beyer Ferreira (Character, Huntress) explained, “Animals don't make me cry, however, what humans do to animals does. This quote just makes me realize how humans are selfish toward animals. While talking about animals, everyone promises they will take action but they just don’t. But my friends and I wanted to actually do something and we did it! We were going to make a short film about trophy hunting. And we went to Chrome Pictures to make it happen. And I am glad we did it. If I had a word to describe how we achieved it, it would be through "teamwork" because without teamwork we couldn't have done it. I would just like to say thank you to Ms. Aleya Sen and her wonderful team that helped us make this short film come alive!! After a lot of hard work, we achieved it. What I loved the most was the detailing of the makeup and the costumes since they helped me feel so much in character. PUT AWAY THAT FUR COAT. THANK YOU SO MUCH CHROME PICTURES, I WILL NEVER FORGET THE DAY WHEN I AUDITIONED.”Ayaan (Character, CEO: Safari Club) said, “In all the shots continuity has to be maintained and action props must be kept carefully.”
Why are we doing trophy hunting for economic benefits?
Each and every student, teacher and technical expert played a crucial role in raising awareness on a subject that makes India stand out as a country, given that India does not allow trophy hunting. Some neighbouring countries do allow legalized trophy hunting for economic benefits but India’s driving ethos for conservation has been and remains compassion, an ethos that places morality above economic benefits. There is good reason to cherish this philosophy and there is magic in seeing images of Bishnoi women breastfeeding Chinkara and Blackbuck Antelope alongside their own children in Rajasthan as if the baby creatures were their own offspring. It is true that there are some scientific arguments in favour of trophy hunting, however, one must bear in mind that science without ethics is dangerous. As Albert Einstein stated, “Humanity has every reason to place the proclaimers of high moral standards and values above the discoverers of objective truth.” The students, teachers and Chrome Pictures have ensured that high moral standards that define our relationship with our fellow travelers on planet Earth remain intact and are not sullied by morally bankrupt activities like trophy hunting, no matter how lucrative they may be.