Hunting (Game and Witch)

The need to post about this subject has been growing steadily since the story broke. I am of course referring to the American dentist and his murder of Cecil the lion. This event like a number before it (see Kony and his children army) has enraged the majority of people leading to a whole lot of tweets and Facebook rubbish. While this outcry is commendable it is sadly misplaced, self-righteous and self-serving, the murder of Cecil was wrong and you should be angry about it. However before posting "we should hunt the dentist see how he likes it" there are perhaps a few things to consider. (The below statements accept that no-one is perfect)

The State of Animal welfare.

Are lions more valuable than cows? Yes? No? Why because there are fewer of them? Anyone who holds themselves to the idea of equality cannot accept that one species is more valuable than another. So why does the murder of one lion upset you more than the brutal industrial murder of millions of other animals every year? The answer for most people has two parts firstly: the "out of sight out of mind" concept and secondly "We need food" argument.

I am going to attempt to address these two ideas from a neutral position, with the assumption that humans do and should (if they want to) eat meat. Ok so animals have to die in order for us to eat (ignoring the fact that the production of meat uses up more food than it produces) fine, but surely if you care about Cecil your empathy can stretch to caring about animals bred for food. The meat industry is frankly an affront to all things decent, slaughter on a scale that would make the most tyrants of the 20th century blush. The scale of death isn't even the worst part but rather the pre-slaughter conditions, I won’t go into the details now but there are plenty of documentaries which you can find on YouTube if you really want to see. Earthlings is a particularly powerful one in which the film quotes Isaac Bashevis Singer in his book Enemies a love story “As often as Herman had witnessed the slaughter of animals and fish, he always had the same thought: in their behaviour towards creatures, all men were Nazis. The smugness with which man could do with other species as he pleased exemplified the most extreme racist theories, the principle that might is right.” It is clear that most people agree that the meat industry is bad but they ignore it as they are busy or don’t want to think about it, this is not good enough. If you are truly angry about Cecil you must see what you can do to improve the welfare of all animals. 

Witch hunt and scapegoating

Classic media/government tactics, scapegoating, it’s because of the Jews we lost the war, it’s because of the immigrants you don’t have a job. If the monetary interests that control the meat market can get you worked up about a single lion that led a great life for 13 years then your conscience is soothed and you don’t question the practices of their cash cow. Better conditions for animals would eat into their profits and they can’t have that!  So before you call for the blood of a hunter, question if there is blood on your hands for not speaking out against the meat industry. 

This is not a criticism of everyday working people but rather a call for social responsibility. Most of us now care where our rubbish goes perhaps we can start to care where our food comes from.


CecilfairnesshuntinglionsmeatvegetarianWelfarewitch hunting

◄ On the universe, thinking and string theory.


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Matthew Rutter

Fri 31st Jul 2015 23:41

Thanks for all the comments I guess the nature of these things are very complex and aren't going to be put to bed tonight. It may have been a mistake to address so many points without giving enough time to each. I guess the overarching message was towards bettering how our society works. Night all

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Tommy Carroll

Fri 31st Jul 2015 21:19

f a c t a l e r t...f a c t a l e r t...f a c t a l e r t...

The lion was killed not murdered.

If the lion was called 'Robert Mugabe'
I doubt that there would be as much objection.
As it was it was named after an English gangster.

And while the 'world weeps' for a lion, millions of Zimbabweans live in abject poverty.

All trophy hunting should be banned.

Dentist's shouldn't be able to afford such luxuries as trophy hunting.

<Deleted User> (13762)

Fri 31st Jul 2015 20:18

Hello Matthew, my apologies if my previous comment came across as slightly terse - perhaps 'rant' wasn't the best word to use.

Animal welfare in all its guises is such an emotive issue that, in my opinion, it doesn't help to lump them all together under a rainbow umbrella that aims to solve all the problems with one magic pill. It simply will never happen.

I actually agree with a lot of your points but at the end of the day it is a criticism on people for not believing in your point of view wholeheartedly. Sadly change often only comes about when one headline grabbing event happens that draws a particular problem to the world's attention. Let's hope that this is the positive outcome and legacy for Cecil's death.

As Graham pointed out, 'your piece covers so much ground it doesn't scratch the surface of any of it.' Using Nazis, Jews and immigrants as reference points in a discussion about animal welfare is perhaps not helpful.

(I've been called various names today for no good reason so maybe next time I'll just keep my trap shut!)

That said, I did go on to read your previous entry titled 'On the universe, thinking and string theory' which I quite liked and, yes, I think would read great as a poem or in a more poetic form.

Don't let me or anyone else put you off posting what you want to write in whatever form you choose - but I reserve the right to comment if I feel so inclined!

All the best.

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M.C. Newberry

Fri 31st Jul 2015 17:15

An emotive subject in today's muddled climate about
"animal welfare". We owe it to our world to keep the
balance of nature as we alone have the mental attributes
to contribute or destroy beyond that of any other species.
In the wild, unless suitably armed, we would be meat for
any passing predator like a lion blissfully free from any
programming about morality and more interested in meat
for survival. That can be a lesson for humanity: eat only
for survival and, if possible, for the sake of keeping the
balance previously mentioned. In the latter case, I refer
to all species whose actions and proliferation can
threaten the existence of others and put at risk that
essential balance.
Big game hunting has, perhaps, sounded its own death
knell unless it restricts its activities to that balance,
whilst a bigger problem is killing certain species for
their ivory/horns etc. - for reasons that are either
centred on profit or inane belief in erotic enhancement
- or both, originating in less thoughtful and intelligent
lands that paradoxically suffer from over-population.
Back in the day, in Africa, two man-eating lions terrorised those engaged in building a railway and no one
minded when they were eventually disposed of. We need
to find a balance between what is necessary and what
is NOT - especially when our increased global awareness
brings its own reward of knowledge of how to address
and deal with the dangers to our world and its vast variety of inhabitants. We alone have that knowledge
and power. Let us use it responsibly and hope that
the hunting of the lion Cecil marks a turn towards
hunting with a camera rather than lethal weapons when
and wherever the opportunity presents itself.

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Graham Sherwood

Fri 31st Jul 2015 15:13

Sadly Matthew your piece covers so much ground it doesn't scratch the surface of any of it.

Of course you are right who would want to kill a lion, who would want to kill a whale, an elephant, a rhino etc.

Even worse is the fact that young lions are now bred just for the sport of hunting (heard on radio 4 programme) which is doubly deplorable.

Trying to make people feel the same empathy for mass produced, grown for food animals as that of majestic wild ones is a little ludicrous.

Keep to the real tragedy here. A magnificent beast has been needlessly slaughtered by a rich twat! For what!

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Matthew Rutter

Fri 31st Jul 2015 11:01

You see them as separate issues, I see them as intrinsically linked under the rainbow of treatment of animals. Its not a criticism of people and it is good people care about game hunting. As for inflicting it upon you here I can only apologize if it doesn't fit within the remit of what can/should be posted. If it was a poem about the subject would that be acceptable?

<Deleted User> (13762)

Fri 31st Jul 2015 10:45

you make many presumptions in your rant - not sure why it's been inflicted on us here btw - and you make the common mistake of mixing arguements - farming and hunting are two different issues and many of us who have expressed dismay on Facebook with Cecil's death have also quietly campaigned for other forms of animal welfare. If nothing else, Cecil's death at the hands of a rich American dentist has made a lot of people aware of trophy hunting, regardless of their views on factory farming. Is that a bad thing?

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Matthew Rutter

Fri 31st Jul 2015 10:41

You caught me, I thought writing under a fake name would work but heaven knows i'm miserable now.

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