The media has been ablaze with news of the murder of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe, as it should.
Hopefully the outrage will continue and the despicable activity known as “trophy hunting” will be relegated to the Dark Ages where it belongs. This sort of wanton killing that was rampant in the 1800s and 1900s began the dramatic demise of so many of the world’s creatures.
There is a big difference between hunting a deer to put meat in the freezer, and killing an endangered animal to put its head on your wall. To call it a sport implies it is a competition, and that the animal is a willing participant with a chance against man’s high-power weaponry.
Its only chance is not being spotted in the first place.
Hunt supporters say it helps sustain the populations of these animals. How? Hunters want the best animals for their gruesome trophies. These are the very animals that have defined the odds and survived long enough to become the dominant breeding animals. In this age, when so many species are in steep decline and genetic diversity of surviving populations is dwindling, how can removal of the fittest specimens help the species?
They call it “harvesting” like it’s a crop that will regrow.
Another argument is that non-hunters are hypocritical if they are not vegetarians. There is a big difference between animals raised solely for human consumption. This is not to take away the fact these are also sentient creatures that should be treated humanely, but they have been bred for this purpose alone and do not belong to a natural ecosystem.
Wild animals do have a vital role in their environment, and hunters have no idea what the repercussions of removing an individual will be.
This brings us to the B.C. trophy hunting business. Google ‘B.C. bear hunt’ and you will find pictures of smiling killers – just like Cecil’s – with their “harvest”. And the number of hunting licenses is on the increase.
I know some people eat bear – but a cougar? a wolf? No, this is killing for fun… nothing else.
Surely enough top predators get killed because they have strayed into our ever-growing human territory. What gives us the right to track them down in their own territory and kill them?
If this is not premeditated murder, I don’t know what is.
How can this be condoned by our government?
Yes, some people make a living at this, but does that make it right? No, killing for pleasure is morally wrong in any situation.
Hopefully, Cecil’s legacy is the demise of the trophy-hunting business, but sadly I doubt it. Money talks and these killers are wealthy.
There are compassionate people who help the humblest of creatures, and there are those who derive pleasure from killing the most magnificent and rare. How can we be the same species?
K. Ross, Surrey