Cecil and the hunter

Like many others, I was first outraged when I heard about the death of the beloved lion in Zimbabwe at the hands of a hunter from Minnesota. But I then quickly realized that I am in no position to judge the man. Over the past week, I have dined on salmon, chicken, pork, tuna, and beef. Just because I don’t go into the brush to kill an animal I consume doesn’t mean that I am not directly responsible for its demise. The only difference between me and a hunter is that I do not find any sport in the shooting of animals. There are nearly a hundred million cows at any given time in the US waiting to be slaughtered. Is the life of a cow not as valuable as that of a lion? It is no fault of the cow that she is not an iconic symbol like the lion. Fish are wild animals and we are hunting them to extinction. Tuna can live very long lives and are partially warm blooded. Sharks exhibit very complex behavior and have live births. I would suggest that the death of a big fish is no less tragic than the death of a big cat.

The unfortunate hunter paid a lot of money to go on what he thought was a legal hunt. The guides he hired may have misled him and broken the law but hunting lions in Zimbabwe is not a crime. Remember that this is a country that was near economic collapse just a decade ago and could use an infusion of hard currency. I have argued before that hunting may ironically be a way to preserve wildlife and habitat. The interests of hunters and environmentalists could be aligned. Regulated hunting could be an antidote to illegal poaching. If the hunter broke a law then he should be prosecuted. Otherwise, his choice of recreation is protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

3 thoughts on “Cecil and the hunter

  1. this is a complex question.

    First i dont know about the dentist—if he was ignorant or duped by his guides or knew exactly what he was doing—getting a real trophy (a la john hinkley and ronald reagen). (People used to lynch other people in the USA sometimes for fun, and some people put cats in microwave ovens, assault others—‘batman’ out in colorado—a PhD student in neuroscience, and the son of my mom’s friend is in the same program—was on a ‘free ride’ scholarship until he too had stress problems and took a year off and now has to pay).

    I’ve seen magazines advertizing tours to kill big game in africa—its an intense luxury industry, and likely very little of the money ‘trickles down’ to the poor people like the guides in africa. One day they’ll take you to shoot a lion, next day they’ll poach elephants and such to sell to the chinese and japanese, to make ends meet. I’ve been told since i have met alot of hikers that you can hire a sherpa to carry your stuff up mt everest for 25$/day though the company you go through gets like several hundred dollars /day or more.

    To me some of this tourism is as nice as casinos (las vegas, with its affiliated porn industry), sex tourism, etc. (I’ve known ‘sex workers’ and view it as just another form of prositution, like many jobs, so it should be regulated either by government or by some sort of community control—except there is no ‘community’ which is why we have police and prisons and courts and the NRA. and gangs ). But the whole world is a spectacle—bollywood, mecca (now looks like disneyworld), kuwait, china (glass bridges over wildnerness gorges), and they have that famnous wall on the border, and there’s the taj mahal and smithsonian. .

    Should the amount of money spent on gambling and hunting tourism be more or less than what is spent on NIH, NIMH, NSF, NASA, trips to mecca, sunday services, etc ? Perhaps Hilary, Trump, and Walker , or Larry Summers, can sort this out.
    Trump is converting the old PO into luxury condos—maybe it will be ‘green’ and have alot of hedge fund managers who will trim the earnings of the working class and poor.

    The dentist also has pictures of him killing all kinds of large game. And, sure, there are all kinds of fishing trips available–my uncle in Texas was into catching big bass in the local streams and lakes—i caught one once with him (biggest fish i ever caught—the second biggest was a lake trout up in alaska—-when i was hitchiking, stopped at this little lake i could see from the road, caught one with just a line and a hook—i didnt carry a fishing pole—it was maybe. 36 inches long and heavy (lake trout can get big). I ate it too. In alaska i didnt carry food with me except in winter—and in winter i carried a 22 gun and mostly got squirrels and grouse. (But you can get cranberries and sometimes blueberries year round since they keep them in the refrigerator under the snow). I once met a grizzly bear face to face above treeline on a mountain—i had my little guitar, played him a tune and he ran away. Then i went to catch me some big grayling trouts—same kind of species as the brook trout found in the east. (There were or are some near sugarloaf mtn in mont co—the most southeastern group—there are still alot in shendandoah park) . (I also had a 30 odd 6 gun which is big enough to kill a moose or caribou, which i got in a trade for helping catch salmon—i only shot it 2 times, abnd both times fell down from the recoil, and besides there was no way i could drag a dead moose 6 miles to my cabin—that gun also dissapeared with my cabin when by mistake i burned it down when it -25 and i couldnt get my shoes so i ran the mile to town to visit people. There were 3 other people who burned down their places that winter.

    I think its disgusting to kill nice beautiful animals —-and should be illegal if they are protected or rare. But I’m not a big fan of all these NRA inspired gun ranges in the USA (though there is an amusing video of a little girl mistakingly killing her gun instructor on one of those ranges—woops!!!) But its not illegal , and maybe shouldnt be, if some of that money funds, say ‘environmental preservation’ (i think this means a new sports stadium, which will come with a grant to a medical school to study injuries and suicides among players.).

    In DC they were culling deer last fall at nite in the park near me—i go down there at nite sometimes or end up there and i ran into one of those sharpshooters—he shined his light on me but told me he knew i wasnt a deer and just to get onto the road and out of the park. I knew people ‘animal rightists’ who tried to disrupt the hunt but i basically disagreed with them since the deer, for example, are extripating ginseng and others things—they eat everything. There were no deer in my area for quite awhile but now they are back. In WV, it would be better if the locals did like they used to do—hunt year round rather than go to the store (some still do, but its called poaching, and they now enforce the law). All this factory farming i think should be downsized—i read that it might even be related to a medical condition called ‘obesity’. I personally eat eggs, some fish, and use milk in my tea, and sometimes buy cheese. )I was raised on ‘diet for a small planet’ by frances moore lappe, though it could be revised—too protein heavy i think. . .

    Many of the animal rights types i’ve met are into this ‘meat is murder’ thing and even set up farms where they let chickens live that they have rescued from big ag. They also of course need funds to cover their servioce to humanity and nature. Also, since they don’t eat meat, they need a BMW to drive to whole foods to get a veggie burger or have it delivered to them by their latino food truck delevery man—-munching on his burger. (Then they have to debate whether to pay him since he’s a murderer).

    its amazing how these videos go viral–memetrics–police shootings, planned parenthood stuff, etc. i think this is called ‘soc’—stream of consiousness or ‘self-organized criticality’ or even ‘edge of chaos’ (s kaufmann, sfi–he even had a paper on arxiv not long ago).


  2. His guides baited & lured the lion to leave a national park, where all hunting is illegal. He watched this going on for hours before he shot the lion. That is not sport.

    This is akin to hunters lining up outside the Yellowstone NP boundaries, doing to same thing to lure elk or other big game out to be shot. That is not sport.


  3. The Constitution also says there’s a right to bear arms, and that has gotten out of control in terms of interpretation by the Supreme Court. So saying he has a recreational right under the 1st Amendment may be true but doesn’t make it morally right. Hey … what about my right for recreational drugs? Why should I be restricted there? :-)

    Sport hunting is different than killing for food. The end result to the animal is the same, but the reasons behind it are very different.

    Would love to see this “hunter” go into the jungle armed with his bow and nothing else — no backup, no gun, no guides. See how far he gets. Reminds me of Palin shooting wild game using an assault rifle from a helicopter… what a challenge.


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