Cecil the Lion: Guilty Til Proven Whatever

Let’s begin by reminding ourselves just how detached from nature we have become. We (excluding vegans) are completely detached from the death of the animals we eat. I myself have read Jonathan Safran Foer’s “Eating Animals,” a detailed explanation of how cruel, immoral, unhealthy and unsustainable factory farming (99.9% of all our meat’s origin) is, and I still eat meat. I am a part of the problem, and I myself am detached from nature.

That being said, when I heard that people were insulting the sport of hunting and issuing death threats to a man who shot a Lion in Zimbabwe, I was outraged, as I always am by the court of Twitter opinion. Let’s get all the details down, as far as we currently know:

Walter Palmer, the hunter from the US who went to Zimbabwe, hired guides to set up the hunt, and paid them roughly 65,000$ CAD.

Palmer and his guides lured Cecil the lion, apparently a known Zimbabwe attraction which no one issuing death threats knew existed until after his death, by strapping a dead animal to their vehicle and drawing Cecil out.

While this is a known tactic to dodge the rules within the parks like the one Cecil was inside of, the men Palmer hired apparently did not have a hunting permit to do this.

His guides are being charged for not having a permit, while Palmer has not been charged with a crime.

Cecil was 13 years old, and the average life span of a lion is between 10 to 12 years.

Keep in mind that animals, these lions included, are shot every hour of every day by hunters around the world, not to mention the billions of factory farmed animals living lives so horrible that Cecil’s last few days look enjoyable in comparison. Yet there is no push to end factory farming, and we only hear about people’s hateful opinion on hunting when a “special” or “endangered” one is killed.

Here are some journalists hypocritically saying they don’t “usually” support mobs, but they encourage people to mob this man:

Here is Glenn Greenwald, who’s anti-government messages I approve of, insulting the man who he has never even met or spoken to:

Palmer’s neighborhood and business are on lockdown. This man’s life has been changed forever.

I do not know Mr. Palmer. I do not care to worry that he has apparently gotten into legal trouble because of his hunting in the past. These personal attacks (and death threats…), towards a man who by all logic attempted to legally shoot an animal like so many other hunters do, highlight the cruelty and violence within the anti-hunting community. How ironic.

I want to quickly turn to a story from just a few months ago. Corey Knowlton, who you can see explaining all of this in detail with Joe Rogan here, bid 350,000$ US to shoot an endangered black rhino.

Holy fuck, Knowlton not only paid 7 times as much as Palmer to kill the animal, but it’s endangered! Oh my god! Queue the insults and anti-hunting, anti-Knowlton mob:

Yes, Knowlton did kill the rhino in the name of conservation. The fact is that the specific rhino that he bid on and killed was a huge alpha male killing the other males, females and calves. It may sound counter-intuitive when you read a 50 character tweet by an angry member of the court of public opinion, but believe it or not, not all endangered animals like to peacefully co-exist as we would like them to.

Add to this that the money he bid, which Knowlton received from sponsors, has to go through many checks to make sure the money went towards the conservation of these animals. Rather than asking all the angry people on twitter to raise 350,000$ so they could then try to peacefully remove this rhino somehow, we instead had a solution in which the country auctions the life of the problematic animal for as much as they can, so they get more money for conservation, while simultaneously fixing the current problem that really has no other solution.

Oh, and the rhino was fed to the local villagers, who were extremely thankful. I highly recommend the Joe Rogan podcast he did which I linked above, as it is mind-blowing to see how these issues are poorly presented in the mainstream media, and even to this day if you google Knowlton’s name you will only see negative, hateful content.

I presented the facts for Palmer’s lion case in detail, and it’s clear that these are two different cases. That being said, a quick google search on Knowlton’s black rhino still yields incredibly one-sided, hateful, slanderous results. This means that the information we have is biased, and drawing an opinion, trying to ruin someone’s business, insulting their manhood and other qualities, and threatening their lives is something no one should be doing.

Cecil was going to die in the wild soon anyways. If you don’t think this is a good argument, or if you think that what Palmer did was cruel, I dare you to watch this for more than a few seconds:

The screaming is the deer. Try to finish the video. It’s very difficult for most people, and that’s because we have been so removed from nature that witnessing some of its aspects is shocking to us. If we spent money putting the faces of animals on buildings every time one died in nature, we would have no money for things we actually need.

Cecil’s fate is just like our fate. We make death as comfortable for us as we can (at a huge cost, mind you), and we simply can’t expect that for every single last beautiful animal on the planet. I mentioned that Knowlton was sponsored for his 350,000$ bid. That’s because the man is an expert in the field of hunting. He had his own TV show about hunting. He is trained to kill an animal as quickly and efficiently as possible, in an unarguably less torturous way than in the video above.

The court of Twitter thinks these men are trying to bolster their manliness. Even if they are, it is ridiculous to judge them, to threaten them, to try to make their lives worse, just because you read an article that frames this entire situation from the perspective of an ill-informed child.

5 thoughts on “Cecil the Lion: Guilty Til Proven Whatever

  1. I can’t help but agree with most of what you say here. I don’t know anything about the man personally, but I am sure he doesn’t go out of his way to run over kittens or tear the wings off of butterflies. What he did do was try to legally hunt big game in Africa, much like other rich white men have done for centuries. I believe a few of our past Presidents even partook of that particular pastime. His mistake was falling in with disreputable guides and shady characters. He should be fined some ungodly amount of money and allowed to move on with his life.

    What this story should really be about is the rampant failure of institutions in Africa due to the extraordinary amount of graft and corruption in their governments.

    1. Very well said! That is a great point. I had more to say about this, but honestly, what I chose not to say is really my opinion, what I think, and not as backed up by facts as what I wrote down. I totally agree with you that the focus on how Africa manages its wildlife would be important, interesting, and actually productive for humanity instead of this counter-productive twitter shaming.

      I’m trying not to tell people what to think as much as possible. I want an audience that thinks for themselves, and your comment is a great example of this 🙂

  2. I do agree with the fact that the general population isn’t looking at the greater picture of what’s going on, in the sense that animals are killed in much more cruel ways than this one lion. Having said that, all animal life should be protected, and this was in fact a useless death. If events like this one can spark an interest in animal life protection for some, then all the better. Some might be so effected by this story that they will then turn to the problem of animal farming, who knows? Is it wrong to insult the guy directly? It’s childish that’s for sure.

    1. Glad you finally read it buddy!

      I have to disagree about you or anyone pretending they can call the death of Cecil a “useless” death.

      Adult male lions kill the cubs of others all the time to maintain dominance. It can be seen as preservation based on this fact alone.

      Also, theoretically, investing more money into these countries will lower poverty and in turn lower the number of people desperate enough to resort to a life of poaching.

      We have no idea how the money paid to kill lions is spent, nor do we know how the preservation money is spent, but the notion of paying a large sum to shoot a single lion potentially holds a better outcome for more people than letting the lion live and not injecting that money into their economy.

    2. I don’t know where the money for the lion hunt went, but the money spent on the above-mentioned rhino hunt went to a rhino conservation organization that is respected and good at what they do. The rhino that was killed was an old male, had already passed on his DNA to the next generation, and was aggressive and violent toward the younger males. At that point in his life, that rhino was a possible danger to the next generation, and the money the organization got for his killing went toward keeping his descendants alive.

      Killing this rhino was the most rational thing to do, to help rhino conservation.

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