A role model refers to any "person who serves as an example, whose behavior is emulated by others".
Olympic athletes are obvious role models and their conduct is important. Sometimes poor conduct is a one time misstep which we all do, but it can also be in how one lives their life.
Although they deserve a lot of credit for their Olympic and other shooting records, this petition is in regards to the trophy hunting and training practices of our Olympic Shooting Team.
Glorifying the killing of so many beautiful animals is something to be taken very seriously. When these animals are so easily destroyed with little respect given to their lives, our future generations will give little respect to those animals who are left. Taking trophy photos with your recent kill demoralizes our humanity. What message does it send to the youth of our world? Do we want them to believe that murdering animals in the name of sport is okay? How do we teach them to respect our world and all species in it if we also turn a blind eye to hunters who pose with a big grin next to the fallen animal?
Corey Cogdell and other team members have killed many large trophy animals like the threatened Alaskan Brown Bear. The main threats to brown bear are loss of habitat and hunters.
Hartmann's Mountain Zebras which are found in Namibia are listed as "vulnerable" according to IUCN. The main threats to the species are from loss of habitat to agriculture, hunting and persecution. Mountain zebras are becoming extinct because they are being hunted for their skins.
And the list goes on to include: Springbok, Black wildebeest, Blue wildebeest, Greater Kudu, Blesbok, Red Hartebeest, Impala, a large number of pheasants, doves, deer, elk, moose, caribou, canadian geese and others.
Granted, some of these animals are used as food but others are only for the sake of the kill. Trophy hunting is a game to hunters, certain animals are more highly prized over others and worthy of a death photo. It's all about the ego.
We demand that our Olympic shooting athletes be held to the high moral standard that is expected of them. They have a great platform in which to educate the youth of our country about animal conservation and animal rights. This platform should not be used to encourage trophy killings of the beautiful beings that we share our planet with.
We believe that true Olympism includes ethical behavior in regards to all life and that the Olympic spirit is tarnished with the blood of these animals who are killed in the name of sport.
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated…I hold that, the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by [people] from the cruelty of [human kind]”—Mahatma Gandhi