Wednesday, July 29, 2015

It's one of those side track moments...

Over the last few days it has been reported that over in Zimbabwe, Cecil the Lion was hunted and killed by an American dentist.

What an amazingly handsome beastie he was, but, thanks to a dentist, a corrupt ranger and $55,000, Cecil is now nothing more than a wall decoration - You selfish dickhead!

Anyway, not getting on my high-horse, I was keen to understand how others had taken this news - and it ain't pretty.

I suppose by way of a disclaimer, I have never hunted for decorative purposes - hunting for food, killing for protection, pest control or to end the suffering of an animal is a completely different topic of conversation, and I am not against any of them. (Oh, I should tell you that I am no tree hugger, nor do I have hippy tendencies, and vegetarianism is definitely not something I practice).

Decades (and a lot of them) ago, long before Walmart or Tesco's, or 'The Warehouse', were established, hunting probably was a multifaceted pastime - a good feed for the family, a new coat or blanket, even a draft excluder for the cave, all from one hunt - and the head got put up to possibly act as a hat rack or coat stand, or somewhere to hide the family jewels whilst waiting for Chub to invent the safe. Today's modern hunter hunts with a camera, a way of preserving the spectacular images of these (and other such) creatures in the wild, safe in the knowledge that they 'could' have killed the animal, but intelligent enough to understand that there is no need to.

Qualifying as a sniper during my military career, I enjoy shooting, and have participated in a number of shoots inside and outside of my Army day's - but ALL with good reason. I also fish whenever possible; the same rules apply - If I'm killing it, I'm eating it. (With the exception of protection, pest control [mainly rabbits and rats] and euthanasia, I can think of no other justification.

There are a few that say it is the 'thrill of the chase' - fine, chase it, but you don;'t have to kill it; take a picture and brag to your friends how you tracked it through the outback for two days, leopard crawled through dense bush and croc infested swamps, blah blah blah. Crikey, you can even get the picture custom enlarged so it covers that blank space of a wall. Then pat yourself on the back and go and get a McD's - kudos. How is killing such a majestic animal challenging? High powered rifle (probably with scope) fired from a safe distance versus what? Where is the thrill in that?

Apparently, there are places where wild boar are herded into enclosures and shot - I am assured that this is because, in those parts of the world, they are dangerous to the locals, destroy crops and their population is in need of control, (the meat is distributed locally), This ticks many of the boxes and, although the idea will still upset some people, I am ok with it.

Now there is a huge social media backlash aimed at this American dentist, and he wonders why? I'm not an advocate of bullying, or personal attacks, and would be equally appalled should this backlash take on a more sinister form.

Just to add to the whole mess, it is reported that the shoot was illegal, something that the dentist denies. I'm pretty sure that there will be some sort of PR exercise where we're told that Cecil was old, or in ill health, and that killing him was probably a good thing! No, never! Morally, ethically and for the love of God, I am sure that the $55,000 could have been used in a far more constructive way, that would have brought greater satisfaction to the individual than robbing the planet of something so majestic - Dickhead!! -

Just my personal thoughts on this tragedy.

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