It’s impossible to hear about Cecil the lion, or look at his pictures without wishing he was still alive. Why, though, does this bother us so much?
Cecil, a 13-year-old collared lion, part of an international research study & a well-loved, protected resident of Hwange National Park in Zim was shot & killed.
Reports say he was lured from the reserve by paid locals, and killed by a big bucks bow hunter from the USA for a trophy. Conservation groups say around 40 hours elapsed from the time he was bow shot, until he was tracked down and finally gun shot. His cubs will be killed by the male lion who takes over the pride. Heartbreaking.
This incident is tragic, but what about this worries us the most?
Is it because:
He was a cat – not killed to provide meat? We kill for fashion & torture for fragrance
He had a name? Racehorses have names & we don’t have a great track record for caring for them when they stop earning.
Cecil was killed for sport? See racehorses above, add greyhounds.
He was shot with a bow & suffered before he died? There is no humane way to take a life.
Cecil was killed for profit? We condone animal testing for pharma companies, they are killed for profit. Profit is gain, hope of health for us, funding for pharma. Beagles are being bred to die, now. Near you. Add horses, hounds, farm animals, fishing, seals, fur animals….
The hunt was illegal? Are we okay with killing wildlife if the permits & processes are correct?
His cubs will die? Like the masses of calves killed during our milk production?
I cry for Cecil, the rhino, the leopard, the badger, the bee & all of the animals we kill for profit or pleasure (clothing, loss of habitat to fuel our technology) Hell, we wipe out entire ecosystems for gum, coffee & perfume.
I am not saying that Cecil should not make the news, that the case should not be heard & punished. Our legal systems do not deal in justice though, only in law enforcement. Our council could not deny a beagle breeding permit on animal welfare concerns, they could only ensure traffic & environmental laws are followed.
We should feel sad about Cecil, but before we throw stones & apportion blame we should take a moment to be thankful for the precious lives we grant & take every day. We are part of a machine that hurts, injures, maims & kills animals every day, directly & indirectly. Sadly, many suffer a lot more than the 40 hours poor Cecil endured.
It is a lot easier to tut & cluck about industries that have grown in poverty inflicted areas of the world, but as despicable as these activities are, we should accept our share of the guilt.
What’s your main pleasure today? A leather purse (dog from China), watching a military parade (love the big bearskin hats), a glass of milk, a cleaning chemical, a glass of water, perhaps?
It’s right to defend, but it’s even more important to be as respectful as we can to the fellow life forms that share our planet. Throwing stones eases tension, but often kills the very ideals that it aims & claims to defend.