Stan Kroenke, Arenal’s majority shareholder, has come under fire after launching a new television channel in the UK dedicated to the bloodsport of wild animals such as elephants, lions and other protected species.
Dubbed the “Netflix of the hunting world” the television channel ‘My Outdoor TV’ will include a variety of shows following trophy hunters across the globe, predominantly in Africa.
My Outdoor TV has been in the US since 2016. For just a small fee of $9.99 per month, subscribers become voyeurs to “Big-Money” “Big-Game” hunting trips where vulnerable animals such as elephants and lions are killed for souvenirs.
“There’s no other feeling in the world quite like walking up on your bull elephant” said one of the show’s hunters after shooting of a critically endangered African elephant.
Another show follows Jana Waller, professional hunter, killing a South African hartebeest with an arrow – her guide, John Faul analyzed her work upon approaching the dead animal “It’s a good shot. Definitely, some liver and some lungs hit” . Once the antelope had completely bled out, Jana held up the “beautiful heart shaped horns” complaining that the shot was a little too far back for her.
Phillipa King, chief operating officer of the League Against Cruel Sports said: ‘Most people won’t agree that trophy hunting is in any way ethical’ and has condemned the launch of the channel entirely, warning the group to ‘tread carefully”. King further explained that “We’re living in a world now where most people can see how brutal and shameful trophy-hunting is, yet the Arsenal boss is choosing to launch his sick TV channel in the UK.”
With this in mind, it is to be expected that the channel will be widely protested by the public, however the group claim that the shows are ‘ethical, fair chase and legal’ hunting and even go as far as describing themselves as “conservationists”, despite the graphic methods of killing the animals.
But can killing for entertainment ever be ethical?
Many hunters claim that their blood money goes back into wildlife conservation, however expose documentaries such as Blood Lions (set in South Africa) reveal that this is not ever really the case. On the topic of canned hunting alone, it has been shown that “almost 8 000 predators are being held in cages or confined areas, and none of this has anything to do with conservation.” This number is estimated to reach 12 000 within the next few years.
Very few facilities holding lions in South Africa are involved in conservation and “none of the animals being kept in captivity can be used in relocation programmes. These captive lions are tame, human-imprinted and genetically contaminated.”
My Outdoor TV spokesman Simon Barr told the Independent: “MOTV will present ethical, fair chase hunting and as long as it’s legal it will be on there. If you like hunting elephants, there will be legal elephant hunts, ethical elephant hunts, shown in that context.”
In light of this launch, a PETA spokesman said ‘Unlike footballers, who spend years mastering their sport, there’s no skill required to kill an animal who’s simply trying to survive: it involves only the movement of a finger. Except for those dead in heart and head, everyone understands that lions, elephants, deer, and other animals are feeling individuals, not simply bodies waiting for their heads to be shot off and displayed on a wall.”