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.