Comment on the use of Paintball guns against animals.
Increasingly we, Monkey Helpline, come across people who tell us that their neighbour or someone they know shoots at monkeys or other animals with a paintball gun. And on a number of occasions when we have done public presentations, so-called animal-friendly people, nearly always males, have told us that they chase away Vervet monkeys or other “ troublesome” animals by shooting at them with a paintball gun. They are adamant that the paintball does not hurt too seriously and certainly won’t maim or kill the animal! We beg to differ, seriously differ!
My response to these Neanderthals is to challenge them to let me shoot them with their own paintball gun from a ten meter distance, and I’ll set the speed at which the paintball is fired. You guessed right – NO TAKERS!! Can’t understand though, because Mr Macho has just told me that the paintball doesn’t really hurt the monkey! We have on more than one occasion rescued monkeys splashed in paint from the paintballs shot at them. We rescued a young monkey (see pic ) with severe concussion after a witness actually saw him being shot against his head with a paintball. He later died from a brain hemorrhage!
The question I always ask is, “Then tell me why, when people play their paintball games, do they wear such serious protection gear”? I see special-impact-lessening vests, helmets, eye protection and much more. I also see the painful injuries people suffer during these games when a paintball hits a less protected part of their body. Looking at those injuries I can only imagine the impact with which the paintball strikes the body of a small animal like a monkey, cat or bird. It must be phenomenal, and both terrifying and excruciatingly painful!
It’s definitely time to introduce restrictions on the random use of paintball guns in residential areas and also as a means of chasing away animals. Most metropolitan by-laws allow for prosecution of anyone doing anything, or acting in a manner, that could cause damage to property or injury to any person. The malicious use of paintball guns would in all likelihood fall under the control of such a by-law. But it is time to act more directly against paintball violence and specific laws are urgently needed. As more and more people claim that they have purchased their paintball gun for self defence in our crime-ridden country, so the nature of the objects used as paintball ammunition become more dangerous, and so the effect on animal targets becomes more lethal.
It’s a simple fact borne out by visible evidence: paintball guns are not toys – in the wrong hands they are dangerous weapons that are being used to perpetrate terrible acts of cruelty against monkeys and other animals!!