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Alas, Poor Cecil…and All of the Animals We Kill, Eat, Wear, House, Cage, and Leash!

September 18, 2015 by Herbert Daughtry

One of the strangest inconsistencies I have witnessed in all of my 85 years is the international furor over the killing of a lion named Cecil. The killer is a man named Walter Palmer, a 55-year-old Minnesota dentist, who is known to have brought back the trophies of the skins and heads of many animals from his hunting trips. Cecil the lion has gotten more publicity, anger, and sympathy than Black unarmed civilians, including children and women, killed by the police.

Poor Cecil was killed in Zimbabwe while wearing a GPS collar. He was part of Oxford University’s research project. He was lured away from his protected area in Hwange National Park, and shot with a bow and arrow. Then, 40 hours later, he was hunted and killed with a bullet, which meant that he suffered for hours before his death. To add to the horror of the deed, Poor Cecil leaves to mourn six cubs which will probably be killed by other lions.

As for the killer, his exploits earn him international publicity and hatred. On the front page of one newspaper, Mr. Palmer and a friend are shown standing above Cecil with his bow and arrow leaning against the animal. They have the widest grin –  obviously, pleased with his bloody accomplishments.

There is a glaring inconsistency regarding the anger over and the concern for Cecil that would be amusing if there were no cruelty involved. Why does killing one lion named Cecil generate such sympathy and wrath, when killing animals goes on all of the time, and has been around a long time? In response to the world’s outcry, Mr. Palmer responded that he “didn’t know that Cecil had a name and was important” as if to say he would not kill elite lions, but has no problem killing plain, unnamed lions. Mr. Palmer paid $50,000 for his opportunity to kill Cecil.

Again, why is there an outrage over the killing of one animal when we know that killing animals is a sport? It is a deep culture and big business. It has special apparel, weaponry, expert guides, trainers, and training classes even for children. It is acceptable to start children early to eat and kill animals.

Why confine our concern for just one animal? Why not for all animals? It seems we just can’t leave animals alone. We are driven to kill, eat, wear, house, cage, jail, and leash them. If the animals are not bothering us and living in their own habitat, why this obsession to hunt and fish – yes, fishing for the fun of it is no different than hunting for the fun of it. One is on the ground and in the air, and the other is in the water. They are all living creatures.  To perfume up our bloody exercises, we call it a sport. I wonder what the animals call it. I know what the entrepreneurs call it – “big business.”

I know I’m going to lose a lot of friends and probably stand alone, but what is this obsession with dogs? When we are not killing animals, we are corralling/imprisoning them. How is it being kind to dogs to keep them in the house all day, taking them out with leashes around their necks for a brief walk to relieve themselves, and to be so enamored as to wait patiently while the animal urinates and/or execrates, and when they have finished, unashamedly, bend over – with plastic-gloved hands – pick up the excrement, look for a garbage can to dump it, and then proudly walk away as though nothing has happened, and back into the house or prison the animal goes until the next time for a street visit?

If anybody would have told me that there would come a time that humans – men, women, and children of every status and station in life – would follow dogs around and wait for them to do their thing, and pick it up and carry it away for proper disposal, I would not have believed it. I confess I find it puzzling and amusing that some dog lovers even put sweaters on their animals as if to accuse God or mother nature of not properly preparing the creatures for their environment. Well, big business benefits. You have to buy “pooper scoopers.” Medical bills can run high, and even dog sitters can be costly.

Finally, the professional football player, Michael Vick, admitted to dog fights. He served 21 months in prison followed by 2 months in home confinement. Recently, Mr. Vick was given another chance by the football team, the Cleveland Browns. Multitudes of animal lovers across the world were furious. They denounced the Cleveland Browns in no uncertain terms. How unsympathetic!

Here we have these animal lovers so deeply in love with their animals that they have no sympathy for a fellow human being. Mr. Vick did his time, suffered humiliation, and bankruptcy, but that was not enough. Animal lovers wanted his blood. Probably, their stomachs are the burial grounds of countless dead animals. They probably have animal skins on their back and feet. Yet, they love animals so much.

I don’t know if anyone has been to Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn, NY lately. It should be named Dog Town or Dog Park. Spike Lee calls it “The Dog Pound,” which poses some questions, “What is the consideration for people who have no dogs, or are even allergic to some animals? Will there come a time when we have to fight for a dog-free zone?”

Let me hasten to add, less it be viewed that I dislike animals. No, quite the contrary, I love them so much. I don’t want to kill, eat, wear, house, cage, leash, nor corral them in any way. Nor do I want to purposelessly, cruelly, and murderously encroach upon their space, and I don’t want them to encroach upon my space.

Now, where animals serve a purpose (i.e. protection, in hospitals, etc.), and are treated humanely, I can understand and appreciate that arrangement. It’s a kind of a quid pro quo.  I would hope and pray that those animal lovers, eaters, incarcerators, and killers would at least extend the same kindness and consideration for their fellow human beings.