Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr have been photographed with a dead elephant and a water buffalo during their ‘trophy’ hunts in Zimbabwe.
After Donald Trump signed a law that makes animal cruelty a federal crime, a photo of the president’s eldest sons holding a leopard they killed has resurfaced, along with other photos from their safari massacres.
The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act bans abusive behaviour towards animals, including crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, impaling and otherwise injuring mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians.
Mia Farrow, a vocal critic of Mr Trump, wrote to the president on Twitter, saying “tell your sons that animal cruelty is now a crime” alongside a photo of Eric and Donald Trump Jr hoisting a dead leopard while smiling during a 2011 hunt in Zimbabwe.
The photo was circulated in a 2012 article that revealed the Trump brothers posing with several other animals they killed, including an elephant, a water buffalo, kudu, civet cat, and a crocodile that was hanging from a noose in a tree. In one photo, Donald Trump Jr holds up an elephant’s tail he removed with a knife.
Following the release of the photos, PETA criticised the Trumps in a statement saying that the dead animals “deserve better than to be killed and hacked apart for two young millionaires’ grisly photo opportunity”.
On Twitter, Donald Trump Jr fired back, saying “I’m not going to run and hide because the [PETA] crazies don’t like me.”
In tweets that have since been deleted, he also said: “Not a PR move I didn’t give the pics but I have no shame about them either. I HUNT & EAT game” and “I AM A HUNTER I don’t hide from that.”
The president, meanwhile, has called that kind of hunting a “horror show” — despite forming an advisory board largely composed of people who support hunting threatened species.
The Wildlife Conservation Council argued that those hunts are helpful in conservation efforts abroad.
The US can’t ban Americans from “trophy” hunts outside of the country but it does prohibit the import of remains from animals covered under the Endangered Species Act.
The Trumps’ photographs are among several high-profile captures that revealed wealthy Americans enjoying the killings of threatened animals abroad, including GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons, who posted a video of himself fatally shooting an elephant in Zimbabwe in 2011, and dentist Walter Palmer, who killed 13-year-old tourist attraction Cecil the lion in 2015.
More recently, social media users called for a boycott of the sandwich chain Jimmy John’s after resurfaced photos showed its CEO Jimmy John Liautaud posing with dead elephants, a rhino, a grizzly bear, and a leopard.