Friday, July 31, 2015

Ⓥ Cecil

I imagine, by now, you have all heard about what happened to Cecil. Just in case you haven't, the short version is that he was a lion who was a well-loved, and rather iconic, resident of the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe. He was lured away from the safety of the park and then killed, in a brutal and torturous manner, by a hunter from America, simply because the man wanted him as a "trophy". Everyone from the general public, to animal activists, to celebrities have been outraged by what was done to Cecil, and for good reason. It was unforgivable. However, I feel like everyone who is up-in-arms over Cecil's death is overlooking a very important point that ought to be addressed; namely that, as horrible and heartbreaking as this tragedy was, far worse things are happening to millions of animals every day, and for just as absurd reasons.

Please don't misunderstand me; I am very upset about what happened to Cecil, I'm just not more upset about it than I am about what happens to all of the animals raised for food, clothing, and experimentation everyday, in our society. The hard truth here is that, as awful and painful as Cecil's death must have been, it is nothing compared to the way these other animals die, not to mention the way they live. At least Cecil got a chance to live his life the way he wanted before he died. This is a luxury that the vast majority of animals never get. They never know what it is to have freedom, all they know is pain, loneliness and death. In my opinion, that is the real tragedy, to die having never know any sort of happiness. Cecil was lucky in that aspect; he had his freedom, he had the life he was meant to have, he was loved, and he is missed. No one misses these other animals; they are not given names and therefore, in our minds, might as well never even have existed. They are not mourned, and their deaths are not protested, they are simply forgotten.

I am happy to see that there are so many people willing to stand up and condemn this hunter's actions. I'm ever happier to see how many people are referring to it as "murder." Because that it what it was. Killing for no reason is murder, there is no way around that. Sorry to burst your bubble, hunters, but you are not brave, or impressive, or strong, or whatever it is that you think you are. You are nothing but serial killers with better PR. You kill those who cannot defend themselves and then you take "trophies" to remind yourselves of your own brutality. There is no honor in that.

I only hope that all of this publicity about Cecil will lead people to think a little more about what they feel makes it so unforgivable to kill this one particular animal when so many others are killed everyday. I have seen a lot of people talking about various ways to honor Cecil, and I think that the best way that we could possibly honor him is to do everything we can to stop these sorts of tragedies from happening to any other animals, not matter how famous they are, or what species they are, or whether or not we have bothered to give them names. Because, like it or not, he wasn't so different from any other animal. He was a beautiful living creature, with thoughts, and feelings, and needs, and a soul (whatever that word may mean to you. To me it means the part of him that made him an individual), just like every single other living being.
Goodbye, Cecil. I am truly sorry for what was done to you, and for all of the atrocities committed by our species, against those we see as "lesser".

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