Like most people, I find it easy to be against poaching elephants for their tusks.
But, I ask myself, am I against killing the occasional elephant if the tusks are not removed? You know, if they’re kept with the head as part of a trophy for the manor wall or with the whole carcass for a display in a big box store?
What got me asking was yesterday’s Wall Street Journal’s obituary of Richard Cabela, the co-founder of Cabela’s, a big box store chain for outsdoorsmen. “In 2013, about a fifth of Cabela’s $3.6 billion in sales came through guns and ammo.” A good chunk more came from the accessories a hunter needs to further improve the odds of successful and comfortable expeditions.
They have about 50 stores in the US and Canada that have these stunning diaramas of taxidermied deer, moose, polar bears and the like.
There’s a Disney flair to the exhibits. The stores are vast and open except for part of the gun department which is given over to a store within a store, set off and designed to feel like an elegant jewelry store. There I can see rare and antique guns for sale.
Though not a gun guy, I shop at their stores when living near one for boots and culture shock. I should be uneasy about doing so, but I’m not.
This is the end of the obit: “Recounting a recent trip to Ethiopia, booked after he heard a rumor that elephant hunting would be shut down across Africa, Cabela said in the [NRA’s 2011] videotaped interview, ‘I told Mary, we’d better go shoot an elephant before we can’t do it anymore.'”
You think poachers talk like that?
February 19, 2014