Professional hunters insist their members not guilty of tasteless advertising on social media
By Linda Machinga
The Namibia Professional Hunting Association (NAPHA) expressed its dismay with the Minister of Environment and Tourism’s hastily announced ban on the publishing of pictures of trophy animals on social media saying that it will have unintended consequences for the industry as a whole.
The publishing and advertising ban will affect the income of Professional Hunters, as well as the substantial revenues conservancies derive from trophy hunting.
According to a statement issued by the association last week, it had previously warned its members on various occasions against inconsiderate advertising on social media and the internet which can possibly lead to outbursts by animal rights groups, harming hunting in general as a consequence. The association said.
“Whilst we are cognizant of the fact that there are many hunters and outfitters that adhere to responsible marketing, a number of individuals still do not comply with the sensible use of photos of trophies hunted, even though ample warnings have been communicated,” the association stated.
Supporting the minister’s decision in a round-about way, the association said outbursts by animal conservation groups left the minister with no other option but to ban social media advertising by the hunting industry.
“Namibia can not afford any opposition to hunting, as it is dependent on responsible hunting for continued conservation through sustainable use,” the professional hunters said.
Following similar earlier outbursts by the anti-hunting lobby, the ministry started enforcing permit conditions last year, which amongst others, prohibit the marketing of trophy hunting on the internet.
“At that time, NAPHA made [the ministry] aware of the fact that advertising is critical for such businesses, and that [it] should not purposefully hinder any company from being able to advertise its services, accommodations, and experience to the clients,” stated the professional hunters.
However, the Namibia Professional Hunting Association advised its members to support the ministry in this sensitive issue. The association indicated that a meeting was due with the ministry to establish clear guidelines for acceptable advertising.
NAPHA President, Ms Danene van der Westhuyzen said their members provide the highest standard of professional service to international hunting guests. “They are expected to hunt strictly in accordance with the ethical principles as stipulated in the NAPHA Hunting Code. The professional hunter is encouraged to act responsibly to nature, wildlife and the local population.”
“We are hunters and conservationists and we hunt, unashamedly!” she concluded.