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Facebook removes photos of safari dead animals killed by Texas cheerleader

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Animal advocates are praising Facebook for removing photographs of dead wildlife killed by a 19-year-old Texas cheerleader from Texas Tech University in Lubbock during a safari at a canned hunt in South Africa reported Reuters via The Chicago Tribune.

A firestorm of criticism resulted in over 20,000 posts and 130,000 people signing an online petition, asking Facebook to remove the objectionable photographs audiences claimed promote animal cruelty. In part, the petition reads:

“Kendall Jones is an American-born hunter who has entered the continent and has been hunting African wildlife under the facade of conservation. She has publicly stated that she hopes to have a television hunting show and she is using endangered and helpless African animals as a stepping stone to further her popularity on social media platforms.”

Jones began her career of hunting at age nine, but explained her hands were too small at the time to handle a gun. By age 14, Jones bragged about her trophy kills which have included a white rhinoceros (near threatened status), elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard, hippo, impala, kudu, and mountain reedbuck.

"Her Facebook page serves as bravado at the game ranches she visits for her trophy kills and obvious attention," stated one poster.

Jones stated she was inspired by former United States President Theodore Roosevelt who was a hunter and conservationist.

The majority of comments summed up Jones' hunting as a violent recreation where hunters pay to kill exotic animals. According to humane organizations, many of these "canned hunts" are on a "no kill-no pay" agreement. The animals are hunted in small enclosures with no hope of escape, and even more often are so accustomed to humans, they don't even try to escape.

Facebook stated Jones violated the policies which in their Terms of Service states:

"We remove reported content that promotes poaching of endangered species, the sale of animals for organized fight or content that includes extreme acts of abuse."

Perhaps a recent post on Jones' Facebook page sums up the feelings of many as supporters rally the wagons around Jones:

"What every one seems to miss is that whether you are fore (sic) her or against her, posting the photos of the said dead animals with a cheesy grin showing you enjoy the kill is what is getting peoples' backs up. When culls take place around the world whether they are deer, seals, badgers etc. not once do I see a photo of the person doing the cull, posing with a big cheesy grin on their face next to the dead animal. You would be better off removing the photos and making a statement of intent instead of looking like you are doing this because you can and enjoying it at the same time. Remove the photos, put a statement in defense of the subject and it may go better for you... however I do not think you will so as it says as you sow so shall ye reap enjoy the fame the photos brings you.."

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