Anthropomorphism means the attributing of human characteristics to animals and inanimate objects. We say that the blobfish has a frowny face and that the dolphin has a smiley face. We are human; this is the lens through which we view the world, our way of comprehending that which is beyond our range of comprehension, of empathising with that which is beyond our scope of empathy.
Late last month, the concern of the western world was drawn to the plight of “Cecil,” a Zimbabwean lion that was killed and decapitated by Walter Palmer, an American trophy hunter. The Telegraph had the scoop.
EXCLUSIVE: A Minnesota father of two is discovered to be the hunter who shot dead Cecil – one of Zimbabwe’s most loved lions.
Cecil the lion – the most famous creature in one of Zimbabwe’s national parks – was killed by an American hunter who has boasted about shooting a menagerie of animals with his bow and arrow, The Telegraph can reveal.
Walter James Palmer, a dentist from Minnesota, is believed to have paid £35,000 to shoot and kill the much-loved lion with a bow and arrow.
The animal was shot on July 1 in Hwange National Park. Two independent sources have confirmed the hunter’s identity to the paper, which has also seen a copy of the relevant hunting permit.
Walter Palmer is the villain of the week, the most hated man in the world. Does it matter if he was misled into believing the hunt was legal? Or that dozens of lions are hunted for sport and trophy in Africa every year?
And what of Zimbabwe’s ongoing violation of human rights under dictator Robert Mugabe, most recently the abduction of journalist Itai Dzamara by authorities in May? No tears will be shed for Dzamara. For Cecil was not just any old lion, he was rare, black-maned lion. He had a name. He was beloved, a national icon. His death was an outrage.
A court in Zimbabwe has since deemed Cecil’s unlawful death worthy of prosecution, which has done nothing to assuage the collective outrage of the western world. International anti-poaching laws failing to sufficiently validate our feelings, we demand nothing less than a head on a plate.
Thankfully, we can always rely on PETA to inject some sane, objective analysis.
Hunting is a coward’s pastime. If, as has been reported, this dentist and his guides lured Cecil out of the park with food so as to shoot him on private property, because shooting him in the park would have been illegal, he needs to be extradited, charged, and, preferably, hanged. To get a thrill at the cost of a life, this man gunned down a beloved lion, Cecil with a high-powered weapon. All wild animals are beloved by their own mates and infants, but to hunters like this overblown, over-privileged little man, who lack empathy, understanding, and respect for living creatures, they are merely targets to kill, decapitate, and hang up on a wall as a trophy. The photograph of this dentist, smiling over the corpse of another animal, who, like Cecil, wanted only to be left in peace, will disgust every caring soul in the world.
– PETA President Ingrid Newkirk
Lest you think Newkirk’s call to hang this “Minnesotan father of two” is just her manner of rhetorical flourish, try considering her view of the rights of man.
“There’s no rational basis for saying that a human being has special rights. A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy.”
Her view of humankind in general.
“Humans have grown like a cancer. We’re the biggest blight on the face of the earth.”
The eradication of human life is a fate from which she does not spare herself.
“I am not a morose person, but I would rather not be here. I don’t have any reverence for life, only for the entities themselves. I would rather see a blank space where I am. This will sound like fruitcake stuff again but at least I wouldn’t be harming anything.”
Newkirk’s worldview is a sick and unnecessary perversion of animal rights, in which human beings, as perpetrators of violence and death against animals, are unworthy of life. So long as we co-exist, euthanasia is the preferred option for our animals and pets.* Mankind is evil. Life is cruel. Death is the only out.
The topic of illegal poaching of lions in South Africa is ripe for outrage, and justifiably so. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, a lion is no more a boy than a rat, a pig or a dog. In our rush to empathise with our animal friends, it’s important not to lose sight of this fact, or we risk losing touch with our own humanity.
*PETA’s Virginia shelter has an abnormally high euthanasia rate, at 86%. In 2006 and 2009, it rose as high as 97%.
• Black Lives Matter More than Cecil the Lion by Matt Brown