Shooting Leopards in a Barrel

In a perversion of sport, canned hunts offer helpless exotic animals for slaughter in exchange for big bucks

They are called "canned hunts," but by any name they are slaughter, not sport, with no vestige of a fair contest between man and beast. In pursuit of a trophy to hang on the wall or a videotape of their exploits, well-to-do hunters in the U.S. are paying thousands of dollars to shoot defenseless exotic animals at point-blank range. There is no accurate count of the number of such killings, but authorities are finally beginning to crack down on them.

Floyd Lester Patterson III, a rancher in Monterey County, Calif., was charged in April with 27 misdemeanors involving illegal possession and...

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