In Memory of Cecil

Earlier this month, a dentist from Minnesota lured 13 year old Cecil out of his home, shot him with an arrow and stalked him until he was near death, then shot him in cold blood. Cecil was a much loved local and his death has been widely condemned. His killer remains at large despite having murdered many other locals. It is likely he will kill again. He and the men he was with attempted to destroy evidence found at the scene and appear to have removed Cecil’s head as a trophy.

It’s outrageous that this could happen and nothing can be done.

walt3_3389709bIf Cecil was human, laws would be passed to prevent anyone from such callous acts of violence walking the streets. There would be a campaign to see this man behind bars. Because Cecil is a lion, Walter James Palmer will most likely never see the inside of a gaol cell, even though this kill was (allegedly) illegal and carries a sentence in Zimbabwe of up to 15 years in prison. Palmer is reported to have used a dead animal to coax Cecil out of the game reserve into Hwange National Park because it is illegal to hunt in the game reserve. Another hunter, (presumably in the hunting party), has already been charged over the incident.

Cecil the Lion will be missed, but regardless his death will most likely be in vain.

There is a great deal of conjecture about canned hunting, the practice of disabling or drugging an animal in a hunting reserve in order to claim the beast as a prize after shooting them. Apparently, some humans still think this is acceptable practice despite the fact that some of these animals are rare or endangered and despite the fact that there is little sport in cold blooded murder.


Humans are failing the planet in so many ways. Not content with a long list of human rights violations, our race allows bulls to be tortured in Spain and South America, whales to be brutally slaughtered in oceans throughout the world and sharks to be culled because they dare to live in an area that we want to swim in. Canned hunting is just another in a long line of cruel punishments inflicted by humans on animals further down the food chain; it speaks volumes about our humanity that we continue to allow animals to be tortured for sport.

I’ve seen some outrage on social media – a little. This story has made the news and brought attention to the sport of canned hunting once again. But in a week the furore will die down and more animals will be murdered without so much as a blink of an eye from most people. The sport will continue because somewhere along the way we have decided that the human race, despite its appalling failures to date, has more of a right to life than other species.


In some cases, it’s understandable. It’s difficult to tell farmers in Malaysia that their livelihood is not as important as the habitat of an orang-utan. And I’m not suggesting that we stop searching for a cure for diseases because mice have more of a right to life than we have a right to determine what causes deadly cancers. But there is a line and canned hunting doesn’t just cross it, it sprints over it, dressed in cams and screaming the obnoxious war cry of the privileged.

There are plenty of ethical questions I don’t have the answer to – when is an act of war a defence of embattled races and when is it opportunism? When should human needs outweigh the life of a non human animal, or more than one animal? Is there a justification for killing when there is a chance it may save hundreds of lives?

Though I have my opinions, I am not qualified to answer these questions on behalf of our race. But canned hunting? An absolute no brainer. There’s no benefit, just death. And we should maintain this outrage until it stops.

There is no sport in killing, and only when we stop these types of horrendous practices will we regain some of our lost humanity.

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