ORA students at Balliol, St Catherine’s, Queen’s and University College came together for the renowned and highly anticipated Great ORA Debate.
Guest Speaker Dr James Borell, a conservation scientist, led the debate with an introduction. Based at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Dr Borell has spent much of his career in countries like Madagascar and Oman, with a focus on the effects of habitat fragmentation on conservation as well as climate change. Throughout his career, Dr Borell has become a well-known public speaker, with lectures for TEDx showcasing his impressive abilities.
Starting the debate with a talk on Trophy Hunting, the act of selectively hunting wild animals for entertainment and pride, Dr Borell noted the effect the sport has on the environment. The debate then began, discussing whether Trophy Hunting can actually aid conservation rather than damage it.
It is a debate that has received attention consistently in the last few years and one that has many interesting angles. Some students argued that the money paid to trophy hunt could be used to fund the conservation of the species, leading directly back to actually protecting the creatures. Other pupils commented on the fundamental cruelty of Trophy Hunting, discussing how rarer animals are often more sought after prizes, creating a dangerous game.
Throughout the event, the selected debaters on stage offered their logical opinions and attempted to convince the audience of their viewpoint. One of the consistently interesting parts about the Great ORA Debate, however, is when students in the audience get involved with questions and diverse perspectives. These challenging inputs often alter the direction of the debate, leading it into more detailed and unknown territories.
The debate was fascinating and revealed many intriguing aspects of Trophy Hunting that many students had perhaps never considered. With loud cheering and round of applause for the debaters, the audience showed their gratitude for the interesting afternoon of argument, before trophies were presented and the proud students returned to their colleges.