Monday, April 27, 2009

Louis Theroux's African Hunting Holiday

Louis Theroux journeys to the centre of the controversial South African
hunting industry. It's big business, attracting thousands of holiday hunters
annually. Keeping wild animals fenced in on farms has made it cheaper and
easier to hunt than ever before, but Louis discovers that this industry,
instead of endangering species, has actually increased animal numbers.

Staying at a safari hunting lodge, Louis hears that each kill has a price.
The potential shopping list is endless, ranging from $250 for a porcupine to
$100,000 for a rhino. It's a hunter's paradise.

This is a very popular tourist attraction – particularly among Americans.
Louis meets such visitors and tries to understand their motivation to kill
for pleasure, joining them as they go hunting.

He meets novice hunter Ann-Marie, who originally only came to accompany her
husband but gets caught up in the excitement and decides she wants to try to
hunt an animal herself. She tells Louis that, apparently, your first kill is
a total rush – although she would worry about killing a zebra as it's too
much like a horse.

Two of the local landowners, Piet Venter and Piet Warren, breed animals for
hunting and have a perhaps surprising sensitivity towards the animals
they've raised. They take particular care to try to ensure any animal is
killed swiftly so they suffer minimal trauma. Former vet Lolly Fourie, who
allows hunting on his land, explains how he no longer hunts as he gets no
pleasure from it nowadays.

Hearing their arguments in favour of the industry, Louis arranges to go on a
hunt of his own. Unsure if he really can pull the trigger, as he looks at a
wart-hog down the arrow of a crossbow he faces his beliefs head on and must
make the decision...

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