CALGARY – A loud demonstration started in the northeast Saturday morning, aimed at stopping trophy hunting.
Dozens of people gathered at the Coast Plaza Hotel to protest the ‘Africa Hunting Events’ expo.
The expo was organized by the African Hunting Gazette and African Events Canada, as a way to connect hunters with outfitters in Africa.
The protesters opposed the event as well as the hotel for providing a venue.
This isn’t the first time the events company has had protesters show up to its expos.
“We also organized the protest in Toronto and in Saskatoon,” demonstrator Michael Donovan said. “The event had to be moved three times in Toronto, two times in Saskatoon as a result of our putting pressure on the hotels.”
Earlier this month, African Events Canada relocated its event booking in Toronto after the hotel it originally booked with cancelled, citing “threats” from animal rights activists. It eventually found a new venue to host the show.
“I know there’s been a big uproar from hunters in this province who are actually owners of big oil companies, etcetera, who are going to boycott this hotel and they’re going to lose a lot of business by refusing to host this event,” said Birgit Reprich, from African Events. “Some of our hunters have gone out to speak to them to try and explain what it is we do and that it’s not mass murder like they think it is. It would be ideal if we could have a nice open dialogue with people without any screaming or shouting.”
African Events Canada had to find a new venue for a second show set in Saskatoon that took place on Jan. 23-24 after a similar petition by Animal Justice led to the cancellation of the event at the Saskatoon Inn. Calgary is its third show this year and runs all weekend.
The Coast Hotel said, due to customer feedback, it will not be hosting the event next year. Roughly 200 people attended the event Saturday.
Trophy hunting has come under the magnifying glass after a worldwide uproar over the death last summer of Cecil the lion, a famous animal in Zimbabwe that was killed by an American after he was lured out of a national park.
With files from the Canadian Press