Is The “Cecil the Lion” Controversy Just Another Liberal Outrage Campaign?
Okay, I am going to preface this by saying I am not fond of the idea of paying thousands of dollars to go hunting for “trophies,” personally. However, I am not against hunting in general. That being said, I have been watching the “Cecil the Lion” story play out on social media and on the news over the past week.
It’s a story that seems to have gotten more airtime on mainstream media outlets than the Planned Parenthood videos that were released at the same time, which show dead baby body parts being sold in a manner that would make most people’s stomachs turn.
I don’t know about a society that gets frantic over the story, sad as it is, of a dead lion halfway across the world, but chooses to ignore babies killed on a daily basis here in the U.S.
Cecil, a 13-year-old lion in Zimbabwe was killed in an organized high-dollar game hunt by Dr. Walter Palmer, 55, a Minnesota dentist. Palmer has now gone into hiding, after the outrage surrounding his story and death threats from anti-hunting and animal rights activists.
Palmer left a note for his patients that read, “I understand and respect that not everyone shares the same views on hunting.” He also added that he would “resume normal operations as soon as possible.”
Hundreds of protesters gathered Wednesday outside of his dental office with signs that said things like, “Let the hunter be hunted!”
Twitter was also bursting with people wanting to do violent things to the hunter.
I want to shoot a particular American dentist with a crossbow #CecilTheLion
— Mark Lewis (@MarkLewisLawyer) July 28, 2015
I always find it a bit odd that people who are so against killing animals have no problem issue death threats on humans, but whatevs.
They also carried signs calling him a “murderer.” These are probably the same type of people that, ironically, defend Planned Parenthood.
Absolutely disgusted that in 2015 a so called educated man would kill for fun. Let’s hope Karma gets him pretty quick! #LionLivesMatter
— Laura Featonby (@LaurasTravel) July 29, 2015
We have all this extreme outrage over Cecil’s death on social media and in the news, including Twitter hashtags that read #LionLivesMatter, but it seems like the residents of Zimbabwe are kind of oblivious to it and really don’t care all that much. To them it’s just another dead lion.
The Acting Information Minister of Zimbabwe Prisca Mupfumira was asked about the death of Cecil and responded, “What lion?”
Even though local authorities opened an investigation into whether professional guides who led the hunt followed the rules and regulations in place for such an event, the government of Zimbabwe has yet to give an official response on the matter.
Authorities in Zimbabwe have not even announced any charges against Palmer, they only say they want to speak to him. My guess is to see if their local guides broke any of their own laws regarding the way the hunt was conducted. The U.S. embassy said it was not aware of any extradition requests for the dentist either.
They have charged the hunter who supervised the hunt, Theo Bronkhorst, for killing a lion that was not authorized to be hunted. He faces up to 15 years in prison, if convicted. A second local suspect, farm owner Honest Ndlovu, was also arrested. Both are currently free on $1000 bail each.
But, it seems the people of Zimbabwe have bigger problems to deal with then Cecil, and don’t much care about another dead lion. They live under a mostly corrupt government, insane inflation and have an 80 percent unemployment rate.
Because of an economic meltdown over the last few years, many companies in the area have closed and people are out of jobs and battling water and electricity shortages. Many of the people in downtown Harare had not even heard about the lion, as they were too busy trying to deal with their own problems.
According to a story in the Minnesota Post, here are some statistics on Zimbabwe and it’s residents:
In 2012, Zimbabwe ranked 172nd out of 187 countries and territories.
Life expectancy is about 52 years — lower than it was in 1980. It has rebounded since the middle of the last decade, when it fell into the mid-40s — one of the lowest, if not the lowest in the world.
According to the U.N. agency coordinating the global fight against HIV/AIDS, there are more than half a million AIDS orphans among Zimbabwe’s roughly 15 million people. Almost 1.7 million of people between the ages of 15 and 49 are living with the disease.
Then, there’s the economy. In 2008, inflation hit 500 billion percent, and according to this report, the biggest bill printed — with a value of 100 trillion Zimbabwe dollars — wasn’t enough to get you to work and back on the bus for a week. The next year the country started using foreign currencies instead of its own.
Last month, Zimbabweans were allowed to start exchanging local currency they still held in bank accounts for a few U.S. dollars. Very few. A bank balance of 175 quadrillion Zimbabwe dollars will get you $5 U.S.
Many people of the country feel Cecil had a better overall life than they do. “Why are the Americans more concerned than us?” said Joseph Mabuwa. “We never hear them speak out when villagers are killed by lions and elephants in Hwange.”
Seems that residents of Zimbabwe actually welcome the big game hunts that Westerners come to their country to do. The high prices they pay for the privilege of doing so pumps money into their economy.
They have been debating for years about whether hunting can be justified if the fees they collect from it help fund conservation efforts that their government would not be able to afford otherwise. They also seem to feel that fewer, wealthier visitors of this type, like Palmer, actually causes less wear-and-tear on a fragile environment.
Also, large animals, such as lions, are generally seen as dangerous by locals, and if they aren’t hunted, their populations could explode and bring on increased attacks of people.
“I don’t understand the whole fuss. There are so many pressing issues in Zimbabwe — we have water shortages, no electricity and no jobs — yet people are making noise about a lion?” said Eunice Vhunise, a Harare resident. “I saw Cecil once when I visited the game park. I will probably miss him. But honestly the attention is just too much.”
“Are you saying that all this noise is about a dead lion? Lions are killed all the time in this country,” said Tryphina Kaseke, a used-clothes vendor on the streets of Harare. “What is so special about this one?”
Hey, I love animals. Anyone who knows me knows that I simply adore them. I think lions are gorgeous and I love looking at them. But, I am also bright enough to realize they are dangerous too. I am not necessarily anti-hunting, but I am not a big fan of stuffed and mounted heads on walls either.
And, please understand I am not real pleased with the manner in which this hunt was conducted and I am not defending Palmer. According to reports, the lion was lured out of a protected area by the hunters, where he was shot with a bow and suffered for 40 hours before finally being killed with a gun.
No animal, even a wild one, should suffer a slow death and there was no reason to lure an animal out of a protected area when there were other animals outside of the park that could have been hunted.
But, my question is, is this whole outrage really an outrage from the local area it affected, or is it just another way to let the anti-gun, anti-hunting animal rights activists get their voices in the news?
Or, is this outrage orchestrated in an effort to divert attention away from videos showing dead baby parts being sold by Planned Parenthood and PP officials talking about how to break the law to do so?
It sure would be great if the same people that are outraged about Cecil were as outraged about babies being butchered throughout the U.S. on a daily basis, and at the now proven fact that people are selling their little baby body parts. 🙁