Recently, a disgusting report emerged that shined a light on the exotic animal hunting industry in the United States. This is a huge industry, particularly in rural parts of west Texas where expansive ranches exist for tourists to come hunt exotic animals in captivity.
Instead of dealing with the hassle of travelling abroad during the pandemic on big-game hunting expeditions in places like southeast Asia or southern Africa, increasing numbers of tourists are opting to travel to Texas and hunt the exact same animals that are trapped in captivity on massive ranches.
At the Ox Ranch which was featured in the story, you can pay $6,500 for the right to shoot a zebra on the premises, while cape buffalos normally endemic to southern Africa are targets if you pay $80,000.
The owners of the ranch justify the exotic hunting industry, saying it provides them an income to pay off the high property taxes for the ranch in Texas, where more than 95% of the land in the state is privately owned. They also say that the vast majority of the 8,000 captive animals on the ranch are not killed, and the income brought in from hunting is used to help fund non-hunting related activities on the ranch, such as giraffe-feeding or the opportunity to drive and shoot a Word War II-era Sherman tank around the ranch!
This is a perverse example of capitalist logic, which treats animals as if they are disposable commodities available to the highest bidder. This same logic is behind the climate crisis, in which corporations view nature as just a means to obtain more profit, even if it means destroying the environment that allows human societies to exist in the first place.
The reality is we live in a system in which powerful forces are destroying our planet in various ways. In this example, animals are commodities that can just be shot and killed in captivity by the rich for entertainment.
We must put an end to this madness! But this will only happen if we organize ourselves to remove the rich from power and run society ourselves on a new basis–one where we live in harmony with the environment and animals on this planet.