I noticed Louis Theroux’s new documentary on the BBC’s main page under their little iPlayer heading. Firstly, I wonder why this one didn’t get the publicity that the earlier episodes of this series received. Or is it just that I’m not as clued up on TV’s goings on since I lost my access to digital TV and it’s EPG.
Anyway, I’m always happy to see a new Louis Theroux, I find his films both fascinating and horrifying.
This particular film opens with a child pointing a rifle at a warthog. Louis watches on nervously as the child fires killing the animal. We then see her smiling and posing with the corpse.
Louis is spending time with an array of ‘farmers’ in South Africa who raise (what us Brits would consider) exotic animals for (mostly American) people to ‘hunt’ in fenced off parts of land. As they are paid by the animal, the ‘farmer’ is forced to make the ‘hunt’ as easy as possible. This is usually achieved by placing the hide next to a watering hole, preferably with some food near.
The hunters we see along the way are exclusively American. They talk excitedly about how much they want to shoot a Rhino or an Elephant or a Lion. There is no emotion there. They standing laughing and drinking whilst their children laugh and play among half a dozen dead animals being skinned and dismembered.
This is their idea of a holiday in Africa. This is how they interact with the continents stunning animals. Some people go on safari, these people go hunting endangered species.
One moment that worried me above all was when we find ourselves watching Louis pointing a crossbow at a warthog. He takes the safety catch off and you genuinely think he is going to shoot. Thankfully he backs out.
We meet some odd people along the way. One farmer is particularly fond of his giraffes. He forbids anyone from hunting them. There is also a real sense of sadness when he realises that one of his animals may have been shot and not killed – only injured and in pain. I don’t think he will be in the business for much longer.