"Whatever you do may seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it”

Child Abuse?

Meet Max Arredondo pictured below he’s aged from which he shot this Zebra with quite a heavy firearm within the Eastern Cape of Southern Africa. Aged just six its quite hard to actually take on board that there are parents out there teaching their children to kill animals. Unfortunately Max Arredondo is not the only child that is being taught to kill animals on the continent of Africa. Data reviewed by International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa has revealed more and more parents are now taking their children on safaris thus teaching them to kill.

child1

This species of Zebra is not endangered, nor threatened.

Below is a comparison showing the legal ages to hunt and own firearms to that of the legal ages to watch films, play games

Speak up for the Voiceless.org has documented quite heavily on child hunters. Our partners International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa are now lobbying the Department of Environmental Affairs – Hon Edna Molewa head minister to introduce laws that will hopefully ban children from hunting. While its quite impossible to actually ban hunting in general, it is our duty of responsibility to now call for more tougher laws that “protect both children and animals”. Protecting children from adult violent activities and protecting animals from uneducated and inexperienced hunters that can inflict more pain and suffering to an animal. While Max may be an “educated” hunter it quite concerning to know that at such a young age his brain has been exposed to such violent activities.

In reality a mother or father teaching their child to kill an animal legally or illegally with a high powered weapon is no different to that of a parent placing their child in front of a (adult rated) television program that contains swearing, death, animal killing and more. Take a look at the following video below from YouTube like many hundreds online is classed as “age-restricted based on our Community Guidelines”. Its not just YouTube either that place these restrictions of which you require a Gmail account too log into.

YouTube state; 

Age-restricted content

In some cases, real, dramatized or fake violence may not be suitable for all ages. “Similar to movie or television ratings”, our age-restrictions help viewers avoid watching content that they may not feel is acceptable for themselves or for their children.

YouTube goes on to state;

What we consider to be agree restricted

  1. Whether the video shows scenes containing physical attacks where the injury sustained is bloody or gory.
  2. Whether the video shows the graphic aftermath of a violent act.
  3. Whether the shots of violence or gore are the focal point of the video.
  4. Whether the violence contained in the video is realistic when posted in a dramatic context.

In South Africa, a temporary firearms and ammunition importation permit will only be issued at the port of entry if the applicant is twenty one (21) years of age or older. Does this law apply to native citizens too? Of course it does. The minimum age for gun ownership in South Africa is 21 years, with some exceptions that may include the fact that the applicant conducts a business, is gainfully employed, a dedicated hunter, a dedicated sports person or a private collector. Max pictured above is not anywhere near the minimum – he is six however doesn’t own this rifle. Laws state that you have to be 16 or older to hunt within South Africa, in some provinces the laws state that you have to be 14 years of age. The hunt above was most likely on a farm of which “no laws apply” to this activity. Had it been in the wild the chances are father and mother would be in a spot of bother.

In South Africa film are classified by the Film and Publication Board.[74] All broadcasters, cinemas and distributors of DVD/video and computer games must comply with the following:

  • A: Suitable for all.
  • PG: Parental Guidance
  • 7–9PG: Not suitable for children under the age of 7. Children aged 7–9 years old may not be admitted unless accompanied by an adult.
  • 10: Not suitable for children under the age of 10.
  • 10–12PG: Not suitable for children under the age of 10. Children aged 10–12 years old may not be admitted unless accompanied by an adult.
  • 13: Not suitable for children under the age of 13.
  • 16: Not suitable for persons under the age of 16.
  • 18: Not suitable for persons under the age of 18.
  • X18: No One Under 18 Admitted; restricted to licensed adult premises.
  • XX: Must not be distributed or exhibited in public.

Films that contain violence, death or “adult” content under South African law with regards to (PG) – 7–9PG: Not suitable for children under the age of 7. Children aged 7–9 years old may not be admitted unless accompanied by an adult. 

As one can clearly see laws within South Africa are somewhat odd. Its “just reasonably” OK-ish to place a firearm within your child’s hands at the age of six and allow him or her to hunt an animal of which this is classified as “a violent and abusive act” but not reasonable to allow your child to view a “violent act[s] or abuse[s]” under the age of seven. Max in this case is 6. How does a violent video or game differ from that of a child taking a shot at a Zebra? It doesn’t of which this is in all due respects child abuse.

Exposing Children to Violence or Violent Acts

FACT – In 2011, nearly 60 percent of children (ages 17 and younger) were exposed to violence within the past year, either directly (as victims) or indirectly (as witnesses). Detailed documentation related mainly to domestic abuse, bullying, murder, animal abuse, rape, other. Regardless of what the type abuse children were exposed too, abuse is abuse no matter how much you try to sugar coat it, make it sound legal or necessary. Placing a gun in a the hands of a child at the age of six while the brain is still developing from 0-21 years of age is “exposing a vulnerable person” to abuse that can later on enact these same type of abuses out from which they see as “normal practice”.

childSCIwhoadangerVIRUS

Children are more likely to be exposed to violence and crime than adults are. An experience of violence can lead to lasting physical, mental, and emotional harm, whether the child is a direct victim or a witness. Children who are exposed to violence are more likely to suffer from attachment problems, regressive behavior, anxiety, and depression, and to have aggression and conduct problems. Other health-related problems, as well as academic and cognitive problems, delinquency, and involvement in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, are also associated with experiences of violence. Even community violence that children do not directly witness has been shown to affect negatively children’s attentional abilities and cognitive performance.

One mechanism through which early, chronic exposure to violence affects children is by disrupting the developing brain. Specific brain structures (amygdala, hippocampus, prefrontal cortex) are adversely affected by stress. Executive functions (such as planning, memory, focusing attention, impulse control, and using new information to make decisions) can become impaired. Moreover, children who have had chronic exposure to real or perceived threats may become conditioned to react with fear and anxiety to a broad range of circumstances. Their diminished capacity to differentiate between genuine threats and objectively safe or neutral situations can impair their ability to learn and interact with others, and may lead to serious anxiety disorders. Unfortunately, while fear learning happens early in life, with emotional memories that are powerful and persistent, unlearning fears depends upon brain maturation that happens only later, and requires active work and evidence-based treatment.

Children exposed to violence are more likely than those not experiencing violence to become victims or perpetrators of further violence.

In conclusion exposing children to violence does impair their own understanding of violence in itself. If a child has been taught a violent act and is educated on inflicting violence then what’s to say that child will not then inflict that violence onto another person or animal. We see this form of child abuse as one of the worst simply because the child has been in one way or the other “educated”. They know how to use a rifle, their fear of death and wrongdoings is decreased, empathy and care although still present is somewhat pushed aside. A child not exposed to violence but love will show more compassion and emotion at seeing a dead, injured of suffering being than that of a child exposed and educated of violence acts. The video below depicts how Green Mile Safari had their hunting licences revoked after many breaches of hunting activities. Children hunting, running over dead animals in cars, hunting animals from a moving vehicle and more. Believe it or not there are many more cases such as these on South African farms from which many tourists and their families visit.

Thank you for reading. To stay up to date on African wildlife affairs please visit our Facebook page here.

You can also sign petitions below.

https://www.causes.com/campaigns/34435-stop-any-kind-of-safari-hunting-in-africa

http://www.change.org/p/stop-canned-hunting-in-south-africa

https://www.change.org/p/hon-gianni-pittella-ban-lion-and-rhino-trophies-into-the-european-union

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