Anglers who caught a huge tiger shark off the coast of Australia have been attacked with the same indignant outrage as that heaped on the Minnesota dentist who killed Cecil the lion.
Never mind that the two incidents are vastly different. That doesn't matter to the name-calling know-nothings whose comments highlight their colossal ignorance regarding wildlife and nature. What matters to these "animal lovers" is that they want to heap abuse on those who fish and hunt.
And in doing so, the implication should be clear to all of us who hunt or fish and occasionally keep what we catch: They don't want us doing it either, and, if they have their way, one day we won't be able to. They've already scored victories on this front in western Europe, where catch-and-release isn't allowed in some countries because its "cruel" and in others where live bait can't be used because it's equally offensive.
How ignorant are these people? Here's one comment on Facebook, where the photo of the nearly 1,400-pound shark and the anglers originally was posted:
"WTF is wrong with these people leave the Sharks alone without them out ocean would be a lot more polluted." (Comment is reprinted just as it was written.)
And here's an excerpt from another:
". . . you went into another's place of residence and fought an unfair battle, you were armed with a weapon that has placed this creature in an unfair situation. To me you are cowards . . . "
That's called anthropomorphizing, and that's what these people do. In other words, they attribute human qualities, needs, emotions, etc. to animals. In fact, a primary objective of the most radical is achieve legal "personhood" for animals.
The same types of comments and attacks surfaced on social media against hunters and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in the wake of last fall's bear hunt, which the agency deemed an appropriate management tool to help control the state's exploding bear population.
With the shark, meanwhile, we know little about the circumstances of the catch and why the anglers decided to keep the fish instead of release it. What we do know, though, is that their catch was legal.
And we know that they were using light line (15 kg-pound test, or the equivalent of about 30-pound). What that suggests is that they probably were not targeting sharks, and that a long fight was required to bring it to the boat. And the longer the battle, the more likely that the shark was too exhausted to survive afterward. That sometimes happens when large fish are caught on light line.
Of course, that's of absolutely no importance to the know-nothings who say things like this:
"You are just as bad as poachers in Africa."
They are relentless too, and not in the least bit troubled by their ignorance, as they are fueled entirely by emotion.
And as we become an increasingly urbanized society, where more and more people spend little time outdoors and have no clue as to how nature works, this is only going to get worse for those of us who fish and hunt.