WTF? Jimmy John’s Owner Hunts Endangered Animals For Sport (TWEET)

Jimmy John’s makes good sandwiches, but its approach to labor relations leaves a lot to be desired. For years, the company didn’t allow its sandwich makers and delivery drivers to work for a competing sandwich shop within three miles of a Jimmy John’s store for three years after leaving the company. It was only stopped by a lawsuit from the Illinois attorney general. But there’s even more outrageous going on at Jimmy John’s. The company’s founder finds it acceptable to hunt endangered animals.

Jimmy John Liautaud has been under fire since at least 2011 for going on trophy hunts in Africa, when the Website Smile Politely uncovered several pictures of his kills. Liautaud’s hunting came into renewed focus in 2015, when entrepreneur Jonah Lupton uncovered more pictures of Liautaud hunting endangered elephants and rhinos.

Liautaud has maintained that he is only helping control the animal population and help the locals get food. Well, blogger and journalist Lara Starr recently chimed in with a local view. She has spent several years in South Africa, and worked at Kruger National Park for a year. She also knows a number of rangers and professional hunters. Based on that knowledge, she thinks Liautaud is “absolutely full of crap.”

Starr writes that trophy hunting funds only two percent of South Africa’s conservation efforts. Most of the money goes into the pockets of game farm owners, and doesn’t do anything to protect endangered animals who live in the wild or in national parks. Additionally, most locals don’t eat lion, rhino, or elephant meat–so 90 percent of the meat from a hunt is left for scavengers.

There’s something else Starr wants you to know. Trophy hunters like Liautaud have killed so many lions, leopards, and other natural predators that the numbers of prey animals have spiraled out of control. As a result, they consume the available food faster than it can be replenished, causing all of the animals in the ecosystem to starve. This leaves rangers with no other option but to cull the prey in order to keep the ecosystem in balance. By killing so many big five game animals, trophy hunters make it even harder to maintain that balance.

I had actually thought about going to Jimmy John’s; there are at least 17 within driving distance of my home in Charlotte. Not anymore. Not if my money is helping fund the senseless killing of endangered animals. Trophy hunting has become less and less acceptable since the senseless killing of Cecil the Lion in 2015. The discovery that the owner of a major restaurant is killing endangered animals for sport is yet more proof this must end, and end now.

(featured image courtesy Jimmy John’s, available under a Creative Commons BY-SA license)

Darrell is a 30-something graduate of the University of North Carolina who considers himself a journalist of the old school. An attempt to turn him into a member of the religious right in college only succeeded in turning him into the religious right's worst nightmare--a charismatic Christian who is an unapologetic liberal. His desire to stand up for those who have been scared into silence only increased when he survived an abusive three-year marriage. You may know him on Daily Kos as Christian Dem in NC. Follow him on Twitter @DarrellLucus or connect with him on Facebook. Click here to buy Darrell a Mello Yello.