Johnny Rodriguez of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force is an heroic figure. I have known him and wife Cheryl for more than two decades. His life is under constant threat as he struggles to make the world aware of the corruption that is enabling the destruction of several species of animals. Every time I get an email from the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force my heart sinks, heavy as a rusty anchor.
In a world, already leaden with bad news and cruelty, Johnny’s emails render me limp. The latest is no exception: Cecil the Lion is the latest high-profile victim of the trophy hunting industry. American dentist Walter James Palmer was taken to Hwange National Park by professional hunter Theo Bronkhorst.
Cecil survived Palmer’s callous crossbow shot. The lion suffered unspeakable pain for the following 40 hours before his tormentors found him and dealt a brutal end to his thirteen years of life. Cecil was then beheaded and skinned.
Does Palmer even know or care that when an adult male lion is killed, the destabilization of that lion’s pride can lead to more lion deaths as outside males compete to take over the pride? Jericho will now be in the dominant position, he will most likely kill the cubs sired by Cecil, resulting in the loss of an entire generation.
Johnny, my friend, perhaps Cecil’s death will have not been in vain. It is my fervent hope that people like Jimmy Kimmel will fly you to the USA to appear on their shows.
The world needs to know the extent of the corruption at the highest level that exists in Africa, the corruption that is enabling the decimation of species. They need to see your photographs of indescribable cruelty inflicted on wild animals.
A million strong tribe of those who respect animals and deplore what the dentist did are making their voices heard. Stuffed animals and a sign outside River Bluff Dental Practice calling the American dentist a ‘killer’ have been placed at his office in Bloomington, Minnesota.
Late night host Jimmy Kimmel had to fight back tears last night during his opening monologue as he eviscerated the dentist. ‘He killed like half of Noah’s ark’, said Kimmel.
‘The big question is: why are you shooting a lion in the first place? I’m honestly curious to know why a human being would feel compelled to do that. How is that fun?’
‘Is it that difficult for you to get an erection that you need to kill things that are stronger than you?
‘If that’s the case, they have a pill for that. It works great. Just stay home and swallow it…
What are we to make of the zeitgeist – spirit of the times – that exists in which trophy hunting is still accepted? When a man wantonly destroys one of the works of man we call him a vandal.
Those who destroy the Lord’s creation, on the other hand, are called ‘trophy hunters’ or ‘sportsmen.’
What is sporting about their behaviour?
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated,” Mahatma Gandhi once said.
In a world trussed up by Political Correctness, it is impossible to believe that there isn’t a censorious word coined for those who believe that humans are the superior species.
Palmer, predictably, has retreated into aggrieved justification.
“I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion,” Palmer said.
Why does Dr. Palmer love killing? Does drilling, pulling and yanking out human teeth not provide enough satisfaction?
The man with the big strong teeth is a repeat offender.
In 2008 he was fined $3000 and given a year’s probation after pleading guilty to the illegal killing of a black bear in Wisconsin.
There was no quota or permit for lion killing in Hwange National Park. But his actions would be permissible in many other parts of Africa where the quotas and permits exist.
What society allows him to continue with his perversion i.e. love of killing?
Things that are legal are not always ethical, moral or even normal.
Animal brothels are legal in Denmark. The slaughter of dolphins is legal in Tajiki. So is the ritual slaughter of cetaceans in the Faroe Islands.
Slavery was also legal. So was apartheid.
Thankfully we have evolved past those regrettably eras.
Is it not time that we evolve into a society that views trophy hunting for what it really is: recidivist brutality against another species that is unable to defend itself.
Put another way, practicing a deep perversion dressed up in a khaki suit?
Congratulations, Dr Palmer. You are now the most hated man in America.
Best you bite the bullet with your giant, Parthenon of porcelain veneers.
This column was also published by BizNews and The Witness newspaper.