Gun lobbyist who shot elephant in the face compares critics to Hitler, calls them ‘animal racists’
If you were online Thursday you probably caught a sneak peek of this week’s episode of NBC’s NRA-sponsored TV show “Under Wild Skies” in which NRA gun lobbyist Tony Makris proudly shoots an elephant in the face in Botswana.
Makris discussed the controversy on NRA talk show “NRA News” with host Cam Edwards and fired back (so to speak) at critics, comparing them to Hitler and calling them animal racists. Here’s the logic he used to get there:
When people ask him how he could possibly shoot an elephant in the face, he says, “The short answer is because hungry people eat them and because I’m a hunter. You know, I’m not an elephant hunter. I’m a hunter. I hunt all things.”
See, Makris is an equal opportunity killer, just a humble hunter in the food chain, playing his small part to feed the hungry from the bounty of the earth. He points out the hypocrisy of people who are fine with hunting birds, ducks and deer but not elephants: “So I can shoot all of those, but not an elephant?”
That’s “a very unique form of animal racism,” Makris says. “You know, Hitler would have said the same thing.’”
But here’s the thing: Not once in the TV segment do Makris or his guide mention elephant meat or feeding the hungry. You know what they do mention? Lots? Ivory. “To harvest the elephant and bring the ivory back to camp is a very, very special occasion,” says the guide after assessing the tusks as he and Makris triumph over the dead elephant.
What’s more, hunting elephants for ivory in Botswana, where the episode takes place, has decimated the population there to the point where the country just banned it—hunting elephants there is illegal starting in 2014.
What’s double more is that even good ol’ Fox News pointed out in a report a few years back that in the rare cases elephant meat is actually consumed as food it’s sold as a delicacy, commanding almost as much as the ivory itself. “In the markets of Bangui, ivory earns a poacher about $13.60 a pound. Smoked elephant meat brings $5.45 a pound, considerably more than any other kind of meat, including beef or pork,” writes Fox.
Host Cam Edwards agrees with Makris (duh) saying that animal rights conservationist and hunters alike want to uphold ecosystems and neither want to see populations decimated. That’s just plain wrong. The elephant-shooting Makris did on NBC’s show is the exact activity that caused Botswana to ban elephant hunting.
“If these people get what they want,” Makris says of animal rights activists, “people go hungry.” You know, because so much of the world is fed by rich white guys with elephant guns.
Pretty unconvincing stuff all around. But also: Hitler? Come on man, you can do better than that.