The alarm has been raised by nature-lover and bird conservationist Josef Sagemuller who unwittingly surfed into the website of the Bacolod Air Rifle Hunting Club. There, he found his worse nightmare. The site was filled with photos of gun-toting men proudly wearing garlands of dead birds, scores and scores of them, shot and killed for the joy of the hunt. The men sported gleeful faces while holding up their dead trophies as if they had just won an Olympic medal. One even proudly lined up his feathered victims on the floor alongside his two happy children. He wore a tee that proclaimed "one shot, one kill. "
You won't find these images on their website anymore because the club quickly took it down as soon as they got wind of the protest. One would think that the Bacolod Air Rifle Club would stand their ground and fight, but they opted to pack up and run. So much for the bravery of hunters when confronted with real live opposition.
It is argued that such indiscriminate killing of Filipino wildlife is like a death-knell for the already fragile ecology. The general area is considered to be one of the world's biodiversity hotspots, and hunting runs contrary to what should be the first priority---conservation. Instead, Sagemuller discovered quite the opposite, and I quote, " It was like being stabbed through the heart, hundreds of hundreds of massacred doves of all kinds, mallards. whistling ducks and snipes. It was unbelievable seeing all this. " Sagemuller has started an online PETITION to stop the killing, asking for 10,000 signatures, a petition he plans to submit to the media to raise public awareness and outcry. The press, however, got wind of this issue even before Sagemuller had collected all ten thousand signatures. Click HERE for a wonderful report by Juan Mercado of Inquirer.Net.
It is my personal opinion that, at the very least, the members of the Bacolod Air Rifle Club are in violation of the Philippine Animal Welfare Act of 1998 and this should be a police matter.
The photo above clearly illustrates that the killing of Filipino wildlife can be as casual and arbitrary as walking down the street. The argument that killing is food-base is just a convenient excuse for joyriding with the boys. Let's face it. We live in a time when we no longer have to hunt for our food.
If you would like to sign Sagemuller's petition, please click on the link provided above. Thanks for doing the right thing. Photos at the petition site.