African trophy-hunting show in GTA sparks protest

Roughly two dozen demonstrators stopped traffic outside a convention centre in Vaughan, Ont., on Saturday to protest an African trophy-hunting show.

See Full Article

African Events Canada hosted The Africa Show at the Premier Place Banquet Venue, which was expected to draw hundreds of hunters from across the globe.

But Saturday's demonstrations weren't the event's first hurdle.

The gathering was originally supposed to be held at the Borgata Wedding and Event Venue, also in Vaughan, but it cancelled the booking on Friday, citing "threats" from animal activists.

"We arrived yesterday to start setting up, and the owners came and said, 'We can't host your event’," one of The Africa Show's organizers told CTV Toronto.

At the time, nearly 30 of the exhibitors had been in the process of setting up their booths after flying in from Africa.

Protests by Animal Justice -- a non-profit that advocates for the humane treatment of animals -- also resulted in the cancellation of a booking at a Holiday Inn near Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, where the show was originally scheduled to take place.

The Africa Show -- which has been in operation since 2009 and offers attendees a chance to book trips to Africa to hunt animals such as lions, leopards, elephants and hippopotamuses -- has never attracted protests before.

But organizers say this year's show has been targeted because of the death of Cecil the lion last summer, which incited a worldwide uproar. The famous animal was killed by an American, after it was lured out of a national park.

But attendees of Saturday's event said there are positives to legally sanctioned hunting in Africa.

"Absolutely no part of (an) animal is wasted,” said one attendee.

"I've personally hunted in Zambia. I've hunted a buffalo … and that buffalo got put in a vehicle and we delivered it to a village that was all but starving."

Big-game hunting is estimated to be a $1-billion industry in Africa. And supporters say a lot of that money goes towards conservation.

"We use the funds we get in Tanzania, for instance, to do a lot of anti-poaching," said Helga Zeinali, an exhibitor at the show.

"The poaching there is a huge problem and the funds that come into the government for the hunting, which is all legal, goes towards that."

Birgit Johnstone, the owner of African Events Canada, said that she used to be against hunting, but living in the countryside for 30 years changed her mind.

"You're entitled to your opinion, but understand and educate yourself on the importance of the value of hunting, (and) the economic contribution towards these African countries.

Protesters said money isn't the issue, and people can contribute to African nations in ways that don't involve hunting.

"If they wanted to contribute to the economies of Africa, then they should just be paying out amounts, or go visit there and be tourists, and act ethically when they're there," said Remington Latanville, a member of Ban African Trophy Hunting.

Despite the protests, The Africa Show is expected to continue to run on Sunday. The event is also scheduled to make stops in Saskatoon on Jan. 23-24, and Calgary on Jan. 30-31.

The Saskatoon show was also forced to find a new venue after a petition by Animal Justice prompted a cancellation by the Saskatoon Inn.

With a report from CTV Toronto's Scott Lightfoot and files from The Canadian Press


Latest Canada & World News

  • Confusion over electoral reform may skew P.E.I. referendum: professor

    Canada News CTV News
    CHARLOTTETOWN - A prominent political observer says the P.E.I. government has intentionally confused voters ahead of a provincewide referendum on electoral reform, voting for which begins Saturday. Prof. Peter McKenna, chairman of the political science department at the University of Prince Edward Island, says the Island's Liberal government has placed no less than five options on the ballot, a move he says has left voters so befuddled they are unlikely to abandon the existing first past the…
  • Woman who falsely claimed rape gets 15 months community service

    Canada News CTV News
    LONGUEUIL, Que. -- A former Quebec woman who falsely claimed she had been sexually assaulted has been sentenced to 15 months to be served in the community. Carole Thomas will be under house arrest for the first eight months but will be allowed to go to work and attend medical appointments. Source
  • Quebec government unveils $200M plan to tackle sexual assault

    Canada News CTV News
    MONTREAL -- The Quebec government has released its long-awaited plan to fight and prevent sexual violence. Five provincial cabinet ministers were on hand in Montreal this morning to announce the new measures. These include a police unit to specialize in sexual crimes as well as video-conferencing tools to help victims keep contact with authorities. Source
  • New FBI inquiry reinjects Clinton emails into 2016 race

    World News CBC News
    The FBI will investigate whether there is classified information in newly discovered emails related to its probe of Hillary Clinton's private server, reinjecting a toxic political issue into the presidential campaign less than two weeks before election day. Source
  • Convicted killer and aviation empire heir Dellen Millard is broke, court hears

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- A convicted killer who is heir to an aviation empire has told court he has no money to pay for his defence in two upcoming murder trials. Dellen Millard, who was convicted of first-degree murder along with Mark Smich in the death of Tim Bosma in June, told court Friday he has filed for legal aid. Source
  • 9 Quebec soldiers injured in training accident

    Canada News CBC News
    Nine soldiers from the Royal 22nd regiment in Quebec were injured in a training accident at Base Gagetown in New Brunswick on Friday morning. As of 3 p.m. AT, one soldier remained in hospital with injuries that are not believed to be life threatening. Source
  • Newfoundland town prepares for Broadway musical based on their 9/11 experience

    Canada News CBC News
    The musical Come From Away is headed to Broadway, but this weekend the production is in Gander to perform a benefit concert in front of the people it's based upon. Members of the cast are preparing for Saturday's big shows by meeting some of those local characters. Source
  • Santos says 'everything on the table' in revived peace talks

    World News CTV News
    BOGOTA -- Colombia's president says "everything is on the table" in efforts to revive a peace pact with rebels that voters narrowly defeated on Oct. 2. And he says a new deal could be reached "in a matter of days. Source
  • Soda tax 'more powerful than anything I've ever seen'

    World News CBC News
    Move extra-strength acetaminophen behind the counter to prevent overdoses, mom urges Kitchener, Ont., woman's daughter hospitalized for 2 weeks after overdose Source
  • North Korea nuke threat awaits next U.S. president

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — If North Korea has been a foreign policy headache for Barack Obama’s presidency, it threatens to be a migraine for his successor. The next president will likely contend with an adversary able to strike the continental U.S. Source