Let’s go hunting – for Cecil the lion killer’s apologists

Earlier this year, Ricky Gervais found a photograph of huntress Rebecca Francis smiling like a carrion beside a dead giraffe.

“What must have happened to you in your life to make you want to kill a beautiful animal and then lie next to it smiling?’  he tweeted to his 8 million followers.

When asked why she feels the need to trophy hunt, Rebecca says ‘I’m gonna provide meat for my family, I’m gonna have an experience in nature. I’m gonna be one-on-one with the animal.”

Being one on one with the animal is getting a thrill from hearing the thwack as the arrow pierces the flesh, following the trail of blood and hoof prints of a fatally wounded beast – and then waiting for it’s death gargle.

How long is society going to allow this barbarism to continue?

As the sage said, all truth goes through three stages. First it is ridiculed. Then it is violently opposed. Finally, it is accepted as self-evident.

Let me state my truth. People who enjoy killing animals are disturbed in some way, shape or form. Their mental landscape is a delirious and warped as a Salvador Dali painting.

Cue for ridicule. Cue for violent opposition.

I am bemused by the range of people who have scolded me for joining in what they call ‘Cecil hysteria.’

Leon Louw, the executive director of the Free Market Foundation, wrote about the killing of Sophie, Kenya’s famous rat.

Twenty-five celebrities echoed the hysteria. Piers Morgan made Jeffrey Dahmer look like a rat-eating pussycat when he tweeted that he wanted to kill the hunter with a crossbow, torture him, and skin him alive so that he can stuff and mount him for his office wall.

To Louw, the outrage about the murder and mutilation of Cecil is as ridiculous as would be the trophy hunting of a rat.

Lindiwe Mlandu, a reporter from the Cape wrote that she remembers reading the story and thinking it was a senseless killing. “But I quickly moved on. The whole thing hasn’t really affected me. Earlier this month in the small town of Grabouw, a 14-year-old was raped, stabbed and buried alive.

“Not once did her story trend on social media,” said an aggrieved Lindiwe.

“In the same month, 20-year-old Bongiwe Ninini was raped, stabbed, and her body dumped in an unused drain… ‘

That story didn’t make prime-time news either.

Since a woman is raped every three seconds in the ANC-run South Africa, it is hardly surprising that horrors like these are, in the main, ignored by the media.

Besides, Lindiwe, it is possible to feel strongly about several awful and terrible things at the same time.

Compassion shouldn’t become competitive.

Perhaps Lindiwe is unaware that history is replete with serial killers whose violent tendencies were first directed at animals.

Albert DeSalvo (the “Boston Strangler”), who killed 13 women, trapped dogs and cats and shot arrows at them through boxes in his youth. Serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer impaled frogs, cats, and dogs’ heads on sticks. The deadly violence that has shattered schools in recent years has, in most cases, begun with cruelty to animals.

Acts of cruelty to animals are not mere indications of a minor personality flaw in the abuser; they are symptomatic of a deep mental disturbance.

Trophy hunting is an act of terminal cruelty.

“Murderers … very often start out by killing and torturing animals as kids,” says Robert K. Ressler, who developed profiles of serial killers for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

“Compassion for animals is intimately connected with goodness of character, and it may be confidently asserted that he who is cruel to animals cannot be a good man,” as Schopenhauer said.

In a survey which took place in 48 of the largest shelters in the United States for victims of domestic violence and child abuse. 85% of the women surveyed reported incidents of animal abuse.

In a separate study conducted in 2009 by the Utah Department of Correction, 42 men were questioned to demonstrate if there was a correlation between animal abuse and sexual violence. 33.3% of men who harmed animals admitted to committing sexual abuses. You see, dear Lindiwe, it’s all interrelated.

The Minnesota dentist, Wallie Palmer is no stranger to past legal troubles. He paid $127,500 to a former assistant in 2009, to settle a sexual harassment she filed in 2005.

Other critics of Cecil hysteria are the likes of Ivo Vegter, always excellent at doing exhaustive research to prove the point he has set out to make.

Ivo Vegter’s view is that the hatred for the Minnesota dentist is “largely misplaced.”

In a piece filled with facts about numbers of lion hunting permits, Vegter argues that ‘only 2% to 5% of lions are taken by hunting.’ (‘Taken’ is the euphemism preferred by hunters. Sounds more PC than murdered).

Like all Ivo’s stories his piece went on and on like Bayreuth and my eyes were glazing over at the statistics, measured and sensible policies and exhortations not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

I presume the baby in this case would be canned-hunting.

As one of his readers pointed out we could set up South Africa as a haven for child pornography and prostitution and encourage foreigners to come to South Africa.

This, too, could become an “industry” which provides economic benefit.

What none of these scribblers addresses is the issue of what constitutes acceptable human behaviour?

When will there be an acknowledgement that human behaviour evolves? When will we stop regarding animals as just ‘things’, which can be used for vivisection, hunting, bullfights – or carriage horses heaving heavy American around city centres until they collapse from exhaustion. (Horses, not Americans.)

Why does no-one addresses the psychological profile of a trophy hunte and.why do trophy hunters feel the need to kill?

When trophy hunting will be seen for what it is:

Rich man’s recidivist behavior.

Trophy hunters are like kids who find it amusing to poke out a puppy’s eyes.

 This column was also published by BizNews.com and The Witness newspaper.