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SCI/F CEO W. Laird Hamberlin at One With Nature: The Conflict Between Hunting and Society around the

SCI/F CEO W. Laird Hamberlin at One With Nature: The Conflict Between Hunting and Society around the World

Full remarks from One With Nature, World of Hunting and Nature Exhibition, Hungary: Thank you for affording me this opportunity to deliver Safari Club International’s message of hope for the future of wildlife and hunting around the world. Even if allowed to proceed unincumbered, our tasks are daunting, due to human encroachment in wild places as well as organized, criminal and indiscriminate poaching of wildlife resources. We are also challenged to counter the lies of the anti-hunters who misuse the media in racist, anti-human eco-colonial offensives to brainwash the masses into thinking that true conservation is a bad thing and that deliberate human neglect is the best thing for wildlife in wild places. We in the hunting and wildlife conservation world are targeted by the anti-hunters but our true enemy is ignorance – the ignorance of the masses whose minds can be channeled to believe erroneously that right is wrong and wrong is right. Only with their greater understanding of natural reality comes an appreciation of meaningful human input in wildlife matters. This opens the door for effective laws and cultures that can safeguard wildlife in wild places forever. Regulated hunting as a result of sound conservation science truly is the hope for the future. We live in an information age in which misinformation and disinformation can be camouflaged more easily than truth can be exposed. These anti-hunters use cunning manipulation of electronic and printed media to manipulate the uninformed and uneducated. Anti-hunters have weaponized terms like “threatened,” “endangered” and “extinction.” Their fear mongering can be effective only if it goes unchallenged by truth and facts. SCI is engaged fully in the fight to save wild things in wild places through communication and education based on sound conservation science. We are expanding our efforts worldwide as quickly as we can because failure to protect wildlife is not an acceptable option for us, for hunting or for mankind itself. We need wildlife as much as wildlife needs us. Anti-hunters suggest that we hunters only want to slaughter game animals into extinction solely for machismo gratification. Even if we were as abusive as they suggest, their excuses would still be false, because we would quickly put ourselves out of business – we would have no animals to hunt. Such lies by the antis are preposterous. The truth is that wildlife thrives in direct proportion to its humanly perceived value. Hunters value wildlife tremendously and our monetary contributions to effective conservation oftentimes are the only things separating the survival from the demise of wildlife in wild places. Anti-hunters contribute virtually nothing to help wildlife. They spend their ill-gotten treasuries to finance a propaganda war in which they are perceived as having greater numbers and more influence than they deserve. Their emotional campaigns are designed to exploit the misguided instincts of the underinformed who find it counterintuitive that individual animals are killed in order to save entire species. Granted, our truths can be a hard sell. That’s why it will take all of us, working in unison, to get the crucial job done. SCI cannot do it alone, although SCI will never surrender the health of the planet to those who would take us back to the stone age. SCI, along with its sister organization SCI Foundation, put both money and boots on the ground around the world to conserve wildlife. And SCI, oftentimes alone, defends hunting and its role in wildlife conservation before voters, elected political bodies and courts around the world. This two-pronged effort is necessary to assure a bright future for both hunting and wildlife in wild places. We invite everyone who truly cares about the future of Planet Earth to join us in this noble cause. In today’s urbanized society a majority of people have no direct tie to the land and the wildlife that depends on it. They have no way of knowing what needs to happen to save the planet if we don’t tell them. Certainly, they will be misled by the lies of the anti-hunters if they are provided no valid information to the contrary. At the same time that the anti-hunters are poisoning the minds of people in the developed world, they are misleading decision makers globally about heroic efforts by those in many of the wildlife range countries. Africa is a prime example. Scientists, communities and governments in Africa are doing a magnificent job in their efforts to balance the human needs of their people with the needs of the wildlife with which they live on a daily basis. Yet publicly, the anti-hunters summarily discount the noble efforts of those in the range countries, alleging corruption and other malfeasance in what is nothing short of flat-out lies, past colonial thinking and racism. As much as the global pandemic has altered human behavior and has cost millions of human lives, it also has harmed wildlife by interfering with ongoing conservation efforts. Easily, we could view this as a dark time in modern history. SCI views it as an opportunity to hit the reset button and put the best of humanity on more solid footing. The pandemic has forced us to look introspectively at ourselves in ways we never would have done otherwise. We see that things do not have to continue as they have been simply because they were. We must change the world for the better. And we must for all of the right reasons. Let us agree to go forward from this place at this time into a new world where humans and wildlife can coexist in healthy and sustainable numbers forever, just as nature planned in the first place. This can be the beginning of a true renaissance in which the ignorance of the past that has allowed anti-hunters to trick the world is spotlighted, resulting in a bright future for both mankind and wildlife. If we do not take advantage of this rare moment in time, we may squander our last best hope to save everything that is near and dear to us in this world.Again, I invite all of you to join me and SCI in our efforts to make the world a better place for now and for the future. Together we can and we will make a positive difference.

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