(This post is in honour of Cecil, and many of his fellow-animals slaughtered by monsters)
|Courtesy - Clipart|
I’ve more or less given up reading news. Not because the human situation is so dire and depressing – but because I’ve stopped feeling anything. Be it beheadings, bombings, depravity in the name of religion, or the extraordinary agony of millions of refugees and “illegal” immigrants escaping the frying pan and falling into the fire.
Despite my alarming levels of apathy, there are certain kinds of news that do manage to push my rage button instantly. Not anger – but blinding, livid, blood-boiling rage. For example, the news about Cecil the lion. That majestic, royal, beautiful beast. Tricked into its death by a lowly coward. Cecil was lured into a trap, struck down by a modern bow and arrow weapon, thereafter, beheaded and skinned.
The perpetrator of this heinous hunt is a doctor no less, a millionaire dentist living in Minnesota – Dr Walter Palmer. When he’s not filling up cavities, this vermin has an expensive hobby to fill the cavity in his soul. He throws about money for the thrill of big-game hunting. From beautiful rhinos, to kingly cheetahs – he’s slaughtered them all. You can see him flashing his porcelain veneers as he stands over the bodies of all these magnificent animals – as if he’s done something great.
Unfortunately, this man came to light only because he hunted down a popular lion – otherwise no one would have heard a peek. Indeed his assertion that he did everything legally, despicable as his “regret” is, might just be true. Big-game hunting is an old blood sport. Trophy hunters pay serious money to hunt exotic animals, and as their title suggests, carry back the “trophy”. There are regulated, legal safari operators who can arrange the entire trip. The tour operators will provide you with a team – professional hunters who know the lay of the land, who’ll advise you on the kind of weapons to carry and so on. One of the tour operators have listed all the game you can hunt on a safari (I’m not sharing their website). For example, a “trophy” of an elephant that you’ve shot will cost you $35000. The trophy could include the head of the animal, tusks...perhaps its limbs...anything. I’m guessing that’s what happened with Dentist Dracula. He’s paid $50000 for the lion hunt. He was provided with professional hunters. They allegedly tied a dead animal as bait on their vehicle and headed out in the night. Unfortunately, Cecil caught the scent and bam! He was shot with a deadly arrow by the devil dentist. Despite being horrifically injured, Cecil managed to evade his killers for more than forty hours. But an injured animal is as good as a dead animal. Cecil had been shot in the flank – maimed and in terrible pain. His hunting days were over. The poor beast must have suffered so much – hungry, thirsty, in unbelievable physical pain as the arrow stuck out of his body. When the bastards reached Cecil, one of them shot him, mercifully ending his suffering. They then proceeded to get their trophy for the satanic doctor – they skinned Cecil and beheaded him.
But the doctor is not alone – obviously, if it’s a bloodthirsty sport and it involves loads of money, there has to be a club. Introducing Safari Club International – their tagline reads as “First for hunters”. They have instituted awards for hunting – check out this one – Grand Slam awards. It gives you a checklist of how many animals you have to kill to win an award – you can do “just” the Big Five or...if that has not quenched your blood lust, you can go for “African 29”. Going through this website is stomach-churning.
It’s not easy looking at the tour operators’ offers either. For example, if you want to hunt “dangerous game” then you obviously pay more. One of the websites has proudly advertised that you can hunt a fully grown crocodile. The entire body can be a wall-mounted trophy. Or, you can hunt down a rhino and keep the rhino horn as a memory of the “wonderful” hunting experience. This magnanimous operator goes on to add that you can only hunt male rhinos, and that if male rhinos die of old age, it does nothing for conservation... but if you kill a young male, then you are contributing to the conservation of the species. Huh? If you can get you head around this logic...please do explain.
Indeed all exotic trophy hunters mask their bloodthirsty hobbies behind the mantra of ‘conservation’. In reality, according to this report, the repercussions of trophy-hunting a male lion, usually the leader of a pride, is far-reaching – right down to weakening of the gene pool. When the dominant male is killed, the next dominant male takes over, and as programmed by its instinctive behaviour, it kills all the offspring of the previous leader. It is estimated that every time a sick human hunts down a dominant male, it results in the death of at least 6-8 others in the pride.
Looking at the despicable dentist’s photos – I could not help wonder – does this fool really feel brave? Indeed all the so-called “grand slam” winners of Africa 29 or Big Five – do they really think this killing hobby of theirs enhances their masculinity (and I’m also talking of the women hunters here)? There is nothing brave in sitting in your vehicle, luring and tricking an animal, blinding it with a spotlight and shooting at it. Or, shooting from a helicopter. Or, more disgustingly, going on a canned hunt where the game is in an enclosure and you only have to adjust the crosshairs on your weapon and shoot. If you really have the balls – then you have to put your gym-exercised feet on the ground. Stand beast to beast; match movement to movement, cunning with cunning. Chances are these idiots won’t last ten seconds. Cowards!
To add insult to injury, these cowards claim trophy hunting contributes to the GDP of the poorer African nations. In reality, it is a very small percentage, even though it runs into millions. Mostly, it is the tour operators’ profit and the money hardly trickles down to the communities. But if you really want to give an ethical contribution to the GDP – why not actually put your money in serious conservation? Fund research, infrastructure? The key word here is “ethical”. Someone who finds pleasure in killing can never be ethical – they reek of dangerous narcissism and psychopathy. Maybe we should use these people in the brutal terrorist-inflicted areas of the world – they can hunt to their hearts content. We’ll all be very thankful.
Whenever the topic of killing animals comes up, there’ll always be some moron who talks about non-vegetarians. As a vegetarian, and as someone who believes in right of life for all animals – I find these morons as frustrating as the hunters. There is no comparison between maiming and killing an animal for fun, and humanely killing an animal for food. Even so, as a friend of mine pointed out, humans have reproduced exponentially, destroying the balance of our ecosystem. To feed ourselves, we have no choice but to farm animals in a massive scale for the meat. Well, when I say feed, nowadays this is not about sustenance – it is more of gluttony.
Even if you are a non-vegetarian, you still have an ethical responsibility towards your food. Some animal had no choice to life – it died to fill your plate. The least you can do is be aware of where your food came from. Was the animal allowed to live and die in dignity? You owe this to the food you eat. If an animal was made to live in the most despicable conditions, and was killed mercilessly – as is the case in most slaughterhouses in our country – then perhaps you should make serious choices about your food.
Don’t even get me started on killing animals in the name of religion.
As far as those hunters go – all I can do is curse them in my native tongue and hope the curse comes true - ತು! ನಿಮ್ಮ ದರಿದ್ರ ಜನ್ಮಕ್ಕೆ ಬೆಂಕಿ ಹಾಕ.
© Sumana Khan - 2015