Is Texan Teen Kendall Jones A Conservationist Or An Animal Killer?

Attractive young women doing unexpected things is a sure recipe for attention. Case in point: 19-year-old Kendall Jones, a Texas native, has recently attracted plenty of eyes online by posting pictures and stories about her hunting hobby on Facebook. In so doing, Ms. Jones (who claims to be a conservationist) has predictably drawn the ire of animal welfare advocates who think she materially harms animals and sets a bad example besides. They're trying to stop her from hunting, and to get Facebook to remove her content, but I'm ambivalent.

On the one hand, it's true that conservationism and hunting are not as deeply at odds as they appear. When hunting big game is regulated but legal, private business people have a profit motive to keep the animal population healthy and breeding. So, ironically, popularizing hunting can be much more effective in "saving the animals" than relying on the government to stop and punish poachers. For this reason, I hope that efforts to stop Ms. Jones (and others) from hunting fail.

On the other hand, there's no reason to believe that Jones has thought through these philosophical matters deeply, or has tried to explain them to her growing audience. And this blatant bid for attention (Jones allegedly wants a television show...) is hella annoying. Although the animals we eat for food are mostly very badly treated by industrialized farms, at least we don't take pleasure in their deaths per se. Jones insists that her catches received a "fair chase," but there remains something viscerally disgusting about the celebrations of modern hunters, whose hobby has become more like playing a video game than running a dangerous mission among one's animal equals.

However, petitioning Facebook to take the pictures down is a waste of time at best, and counterproductive at worst. Facebook is merely a platform, and if you don't like what you're being shown, then there are ample opportunities for feedback from within your feed and pages. People's values and interests are so different that surely there is someone who'd like to have your stuff banned, too. Even if Kendall Jones's detractors succeed in their quest for Facebook censorship, they will only be boosting the safari-loving cheerleader's chances of landing even more media attention in other forms (such as this one, oops). As with most things you don't like, it's best just to ignore this situation entirely.

Images: Kendall Jones / Facebook