The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages a hideous warehouse of over 1.5 million illegally obtained animals and animal parts that would have even mortified Edgar Allen Poe. It's not for the faint of heart (or even anyone who has a heart), but it does demonstrate the cruelty of humans to the other occupants of this planet.
I have recently penned several articles on Walter James Palmer, the detested dentist who allegedly exterminated Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe. He is just one depressing and graphic example of this epidemic of wealthy Americans flying to Africa to get their thrills by slaughtering innocent creatures, followed by macabre smiling photo-ops with their carcasses.
The Associated Press has recently reported that "Zimbabwe's National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority accused Jan Casimir Seski of Murrysville, Pennsylvania, of shooting the lion with a bow and arrow in April near Hwange National Park, without approval, on land where it was not allowed."
Seski, a doctor, disputes the charges; his attorney claims "During this trip, Dr. Seski did lawfully hunt and take a lion." He also alleged that it happened in July, not April. Dr. Seski's attorney is also quoted as saying "Dr. Seski urgently wishes to return to his medical practice and to continue serving his patients." Hmmm. The dead lion also urgently wishes to return to his practice of being a lion and to continue serving his pride.
"Taken" is sanitized word hunters and their lawyers usually use instead of "killed" or "slaughtered." Seski is being "taken" to task on Yelp. A similar thing happened to Dr. Palmer. Lots of folks think these healers are heels.
Perhaps as a result of the brutal killing of Cecil the Lion, we may be seeing the beginning of the end of trophy hunting. Social media is a powerful tool. The hunter may have killed the roar, but he fueled the uproar. Today the peasants with pitchforks are online, outing, shaming, and shunning serial animal killers, and signing petitions such as this one. To update an old cliché, the keyboard is mightier than the sword. One such petition just got Delta Airlines attention; they will no longer ship animal trophies. Other airlines also are now refusing to transport such body parts, including American, United, and Air Canada. Sadly, UPS will still do so, taking the morally low road stating "We avoid making judgments on the appropriateness of the contents." Twitter users have not avoided making judgments on the appropriateness of UPS: #boycottups
Donald Trump's sons are being provided their own lesson in social shaming. Grotesque photos are now resurfacing from 2012 of Don Jr. and Eric, showing them joyfully posing next to a variety of kill in Africa. Don Jr. is pictured with a dead elephant while holding a knife and displaying the animal's amputated tail. Good times. Sometimes bored rich boys in New York simply need new thrills, and there are plenty of profitable hunting safari websites to accommodate their desires to turn descendants of Noah's Ark into decedents. I wish daddy would take away their guns -- he can let them keep their cameras for shooting photos of live animals, a much more wholesome pursuit. These boys are receiving a well-deserved spanking on social media.
Don Jr. has tweeted "@iamGenteel I am not going to be gracious when attacked 4 doing what I do when it is legal. People can disagree w it but i will attack back "
I wouldn't expect Don Jr. to be gracious or not to attack back. In this regard, it's like father, like son -- the old apple and tree metaphor comes to mind. Those who claim their killing was legal miss the point. Legality is a human concept. The animal doesn't care whether the kill was legal or illegal -- either way, he's dead.
There is a moral issue that seems to elude those who get their satisfaction from killing animals at their whim. There are all kinds of atrocities that are legal in some parts of the world that most of us would find appalling. Mahatma Gandhi observed "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." And Charles Darwin taught that "There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery."
The so-called "Conservationist Hunters" claim the big bucks they spend feed the economy and conservation efforts in poorer nations. Sounds like a bit of a catch 22 to me. Here's a novel idea --why not just make a charitable donation to animal welfare causes or go on a photo safari?
In 2011 GoDaddy founder, former CEO, and current board member, Bob Parsons, killed and butchered an elephant in Zimbabwe. He claims he flew there to protect a village from this elephant and to allow them to eat what he just slaughtered. As I watched the video below, the term "colonialism" came to mind. I can tell this GoDaddy founder where he can go. If someone like Parsons really wanted to help Africa, he could do what Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and his wife Cari Tuna recently did -- they made a $25 million dollar donation to help the poor in East Africa.
The GoDaddy website shows a photo of Parsons under the heading "Meet Our Team," and includes the statement "Don't let their smiling faces fool you..."
Not to worry. We are not fooled.