Teen's big-game hunting photos spark outrage
One Texas teen's hobby is stirring up controversy among animal rights activists by posing with big game she killed in Africa. Here's how KHOU introduced to her: "So 19-year-old Kendall Jones is a cheerleader at Texas Tech and an avid hunter. She's posted a lot of pictures on her Facebook page of the big game she has killed in Africa - everything from lions to elephants."
But it doesn't look like Jones has earned herself many fans on Facebook. The first two comments featured when we went to take a look read, "You are contributing to the extinction of beautiful animals," and from another user, "I think we should dress you and your crew up like the animals you've killed and will use are (sic) guns to hunt ya'll."
She says her interest in hunting began when she watched her father shoot his so-called "Big 5."
The "Big 5" are five African animals, according to SouthAfrica.net: the lion, elephant, buffalo, rhinoceros and leopard were all commonly hunted by professionals in the 19th and 20th centuries. They quickly became known as "the most dangerous animals to hunt on foot."
To her critics, Jones says hunters are conservationists in that they put value on the animals, which gives local populations an incentive to work with and maintain the animals.
Still, her critics have gone to online petitions to protest. One on Avaaz.org has more than 50,000 signatures. It asks Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to remove Jones' page on the grounds that it "promotes animal cruelty."
In looking around at the reaction in media coverage, we were struck by how much many focused on the fact Jones is a cheerleader -- as if that were particularly relevant to the story.
But perhaps the thinking is the tidbit helps sell a narrative. The New York Daily News' first line read: "Pretty in pink. Deadly in camo."
Jones says as of January 2014, she has signed a development contract with a producer for an eight-episode show to premiere on the Sportsman Channel in early 2015.
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