Cecil's dead. I see you're all upset. All of a sudden you're angry about a dead lion. Excuse me; I'm going to throw up in my mouth now but when I'm done, I'm going to explain some uncomfortable militant vegan theories about this to the uninitiated. Warning: unless you are an ethical vegan, you're about to get bashed right now.
I don't dare speak for all ethical vegans, but I know I speak for many when I say that the sudden international love for one particular hunted lion is getting on our last vegan nerve. I'm no better than anyone else. I used to eat meat too, long ago, and if I could run into my former self, I'd slap me in the face. Right now, I'm talking to you from the inside of the animal rights movement, risking the ire of my fellow vegans with this piece but that's okay because there are plenty of them who will pick up the slack where I won't. There are lots of polite vegans who will sugar-coat the facts to non-vegans in the hope that someday, if we just beg them enough, nicely enough - if we genuflect just enough, kiss ass a little better, carnists, fad/trend dieters, flexitarians and animal "welfare" wimps and hypocrites just might also value the life of a pig - or, say, a billion pigs.
To vegans reading this who will bash me for bashing those who willfully ignore the cries of billions of suffering animals, I say this: the Bastille wasn't stormed by polite people with pamphlets and the Boston Tea Party wasn't a tea party with crumpets.
Let me break this down for you while I burst that sanctimonious Kumbaya, yoga, flexitarian bubble you live in and stab you with the truth.
Every civilized person in the world is up in arms about the murder of Cecil the lion by that smug-faced sadist, Walter Palmer, and boy, do you have a consensus. You feel pretty good about yourself defending a defenseless lion. It's the talk of the town! All of a sudden everybody's an animal rights activist, typing away confidently from the comfort of an armchair about the rights of lions and demanding extradition of that evil hunter. Oh, so, suddenly, millions are riding this trendy international wave of compassion for animals. This is that shining moment where we all love lions and hate the evil dentist. Evil dentist: bad! Cecil the lion: good! Punish evil dentist! We are powerful when we all rage at the same time, aren't we?
But really, where the f*ck have you been all these years?
Every hunted wild animal is a Kitty Genovese - that victim of the famously horrid crime we learn about in Psych 101 where everyone heard the screams of a woman being stabbed to death but no one did a damned thing because they thought someone else was going to do something. Come on, folks, you knew they were hunting elephants and rhinos, right? Though the murder of Cecil the lion is said to have woken up the world to the inexcusable cruelty and stupidity of trophy hunting, we know that your outrage, like your general attention span for animal rights issues, is limited and will last as long as a news cycle or a Hollywood marriage. He is, poor creature, near the end of his 15 minutes of fame.
If you're genuinely pissed off about the murder of Cecil, then you must be equally pissed off about the victims of the 55,000 other scumbag members the Safari Club International for doing the exact same thing all year long, every year. You must be pretty angry about all the elephants, giraffes and rhinos and gorillas they kill too, right? There are almost none left! These people have raped an entire continent of its most precious resource, wildlife. Excuse me, but you're a little late.
You people who are all choked up about the martyrdom of Cecil while you choke on a hot dog: We get that lions are pretty and pigs are less pretty to you. We get that chickens aren't quite as beautiful to you as eagles. But what's the difference in terms of suffering? Are all these people this upset because Cecil suffered? If it's his suffering that bothers you, then you must be really, really upset about billions of animals who are being tortured right now in factory farms.
Your ham sandwich cried out for his mother when, as a tiny baby, they cut off his tail and cut off his teeth, which is routine in factory farms. No anesthesia. Where is your outrage?
People are upset because "Cecil had a family and friends." But what about pigs? They have family and friends and they suffer a lot more than 40 hours living in a gestation crate unable to cuddle their babies in a space so tight they can't even turn around. What about the cow/steer with no name? That hamburger you're eating had a mom. He was once a living breathing sentient individual who had the exact same capacity to suffer as Cecil did. That mom gives birth over and over again so that you can steal her milk for ice cream. Big Ag steals her babies as soon as they're born to be murdered and turned into veal scallopini. Look at your hands. There is blood on your hands. (Mine too and don't think I don't beat myself up over it.)
Are some of you discussing Cecil over a veal scallopini? You betcha! But go ahead and get that dentist extradited. Yeah!
You are angry because Cecil was gorgeous and you identify as a king of the jungle.
OMG! Walter Palmer the evil dentist killed a supermodel! He killed the supermodel of the jungle! Had he shot a gazelle, he could have cut off her head and gone home and put his ghoulish trophy up on the wall of his office without raising an eyebrow.
People are angry about the killing of Cecil because they identify with the lion. People like to think of themselves as an invincible predator - king of the jungle. People love the lion because of what the lion represents: power, invincibility, greatness. So when the creepy dentist shot Cecil, in a way, he shot what we all wanted to be. So really, people love Cecil the lion in a very narcissistic way. It's almost as if the crazy dentist killed us, killed our dream.
Hunters are sociopaths.
The outcry is so huge that even hunting clubs around the world are distancing themselves from the creepy dentist, claiming that the creepy dentist is in fact a poacher, not a hunter and that hunting actually saves animals (their absurd logic is so self-serving they all deserve to be the victims of a canned hunt). These killers enjoy killing for fun and everyone allows them to use the excuse, the lie, that they are hunting for food to feed their families or that they distribute the meat to the hungry. They want to feel good about themselves while they kill. Everyone is guilty of letting them get away with murder. If you're going to give a hunter a pass for eating the meat of the victim he murdered, then give Jeffrey Dahmer a pass! Jeffrey Dahmer ate what he killed.
The #BlackLivesMatter voices are right! You've got some nerve!
I think that the #BlackLivesMatter activists are right when they say that all of America is more angry about the death of a lion then the death and possible murder of Sandra Bland who was brutalized by the police in Texas. They are correct! People are way more angry with the evil dentist than they are with racist and violent police officers who routinely get away with the beatings and murder of unarmed black people.
Just look at this list of unarmed black people who were murdered.
FYI, black lives matter to every vegan I know because to vegans, all lives matter, human and non-human. We all want to live in peace, far from violent monsters. We fight for all victims.
For 99 percent of the people who are outraged about Cecil's murder and used social media to express that rage; that was, not surprisingly, the only expression of outrage they had ever made about animals.
You either have empathy or you don't.
Empathy isn't taught; it's genetic. If you have empathy, you ought to shift your thinking and rid yourself of the harmful and violent indoctrination we have all been subjected to by the food industry. Extend that empathy to all sentient beings because it's the right thing to do. If you have compassion for Cecil, for real, then you have the capacity to extend that compassion to all sentient beings.
For starters, you can join the campaign to end trophy hunting. If you want to help end trophy hunting, contact New York Assembly members and tell them to vote yes to the African Big 5 bill. This bill would ban the import of hunting trophies through NY airports which are major point of entry from Africa, and the passage of this bill will help other states enact similar legislation.
One last thing:
Cecil was a carnivore and though you think you are too, you're not. In terms of your biology, you're a hell of a lot closer to a gorilla than to a lion. Ask the gorilla where he gets his protein. That gorilla is vegan and he could slap that cowardly little dentist's head right off.