Cecil the Lion style murders happen in Florida every week

Wild_Boar_TrophyThe world has rightfully expressed scorn and outrage the last few days over the murder of Cecil the Lion. Celebrities as diverse as Sir Roger Moore and Speaker Newt Gingrich have expressed anger about the  unsporting killing of a captive and virtually domesticated animal. If you think this only happens in Africa or some third world country, you are unfortunately wrong.

“Canned Hunts” are the most cowardly and unsporting action imaginable. Here in Florida sadly, it is big business which attracts big money. Florida permits Canned Hunts thanks to our Republican legislature even though the practice has been banned in the neighboring and equally (if not more) conservative states of Alabama and Georgia.  Both states banned the practice when Democrats still controlled the legislature (with a Republican Governor Bob Riley signing the law in Alabama) in the 2000’s. But despite some shocking reports from CNN and a strongly worded editorial from The St Petersburg Times, the Republican-led legislature and Governor Jeb Bush failed to act.

This barbaric practice involves confining an animal, often times raising it similarly to a pet, luring it towards food and blowing its head off. Often times the animals are raised in captivity in order to be a sitting duck target for trophy hunters (who must be distinguished from actual sport hunters) or are trapped and fenced in a hunting ground. Large sums of money are charged by the owners of the ground to lead “hunters” to the virtually captive and often unsuspecting animal and the to bag the kill.

One such canned hunting facility in Martin County was reported on in 2009. Even after the public criticism the County Commission approved the authorization of the impacted land for canned hunts. Several other such hunting grounds are able to openly advertise services on the web thanks to lawmakers indifference to this issue. Rumors have even been abound for many years that several Florida politicians themselves have used facilities of this type though no hard evidence could be found. To see the large number of facilities operating canned hunts simply type “trophy hunting in Florida” into your search engine.

It should be noted that many zoos around the country sell surplus animals or older creatures to canned hunting facilities, rather than humanely euthanizing the impacted animal. According to a report in the 1990’s Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa and Busch Gardens also in Tampa sold surplus animals to canned hunting grounds. I recall seeing a list in the mid 2000’s that listed more Florida zoological parks as sellers to trophy hunting grounds, but cannot find that list online any longer.

Pressure must come from animal lovers and progressive individuals throughout the state to force our legislature to outlaw this barbaric practice. Otherwise Cecil the Lion will be a one week story of a beautiful creature who died in vain.


  1. Dems in Action · ·

    This is the Jeb Bush legacy. How could anyone vote for him.


  2. I wonder how many GOP legislators have done canned hunts? A bet I guess. Cowardly but somehow “manly.”


  3. Jonathan · ·

    Anyone who engages in canned hunting should be arrested. It’s the most cruel and inhumane action that people could take part in.


  4. Few over the Many · ·

    Not only is this disgusting but according to CNN Cecil’s brother was shot today! HORRIBLE.


  5. I find it appalling also! I also use to be pro choice until the latest technology and the sonogram. I saw a friends and you could definitely see the living fetus, and it made me sick that I used to condone this killing. When I was young, there were no birth control pills, morning after pills or free clinics that gave out contraceptives, not that it made it right but we really didn’t know. Now we do. If you are against this terrible hunting incident, then you should be against all forms of killing, including the death penalty. Are you? No, I’m not a republican.


  6. Sue Black · ·

    I find it appalling that anyone could be lured into using the words ‘sport’ and ‘hunting’ in the same breath. Sports involve willing participants, with clear rules, and a reasonable chance of winning. The difference between a canned hunt and wild hunt is zero in terms of the ethics. The score is a billion to 0 either way. Is it worse to disrupt wild populations or shoot them like fish in a barrel? Either way it is murdering beautiful, sentient beings for perverted fun. We have no right what so ever to do any of it. It is plain wrong. These guys are serial killers and there is something seriously wrong with wanting to slaughter the innocent. A brutal anachronism. Terribly republican.


  7. Does anyone know where these facilities are? Other than Seminole Prairie Safari’s (formerly Brady Ranch Hunting Preserve in Okeechobee).


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