I must make it clear that I am in no way an animal rights activist.
However, I recently have reopened my personal inquiry into the nature of the human-animal relationship. I was brought up with the belief that animals were, well, animals, and humans were a superior breed of species. We always had pets as I was growing up, treated them well -though make no mistake, our dogs or cats never received the types of amenities reserved for humans. If a cat needed an expensive surgery that we could not afford, well, it was time to start looking for a new cat.
At some very rudimentary level I believe in the human as the superior species as evidenced by our reaching the top of the food chain. I believe this because if I were starving to death, I would have no qualms about killing an animal in order to survive…as I am quite certain said animal would eat my ass if it were dying as well .
I guess we still do live in a dog eat dog world.
As the victorious members of the top-of-the-food-chain sweepstakes we can now not only enjoy the benefits of such victory, we can also extend assistance to those on the lower chain rungs as well. As the champions we now have a responsibility to live in harmony with all the creatures -when and where possible- with whom we share this planet.
How far do I go in my beliefs to treat animals with respect? I do not believe animals have souls nor human like qualities; and while not there yet I am certainly open to the discussion.
All this provides a context from where I come from as I find the following picture repulsive, disgusting and making me sick to my stomach; all thanks to TV personality and killer of an African lion, Melissa Bachman, who posted this picture on Facebook on November 1 of this year:
Really? Ted Nugent can’t even like this picture, can he?
Human being has a gun and shoots and kills an ultimately helpless African lion? I have yet to see any animal win versus the hunting rifle. A majestic and beautiful creature that poses no threat to our existence? Or does it? Let the tension begin. I needed to do more research before my visceral reaction took over and seized any shred of reasoning and logic.
According to an article first posted on Facebook from an African conservancy in support of this killing:
“We do ethical hunting and all meat from animals hunted is distributed to the local community….funds generated from hunting goes towards fixing the border fence that was washed away in the 2013 floods, combating poaching, which is excessive in this area due to close proximity to Zimbabwe, and running a sustainable conservancy. We are not apologizing for facilitating the [Bachman] hunt. If you are not a game farmer and struggling with dying starving animals, poaching, and no fences in place to protect your animals and crop, please refrain from making negative derogatory comments.”
The argumentative fallacy in this article is quite simple: “If you are not a game farmer and struggling with dying starving animals, poaching, and no fences in place to protect your animals and crop…” you are disqualified from having an opinion, thus effectively shutting down the argument.
I disagree with the premise.
Not everyone is a speech professor yet you all know a bad speech when you hear it.
I may not be a game farmer, associated with poaching or one having no fences to protect animals…though I have a brain and, perhaps more importantly, a heart.
There are two sides to every story, hence, Jimmy is always in tension. I do not want to make an ignorant rant against this killing and I do want to educate myself -yet why does this seem so damn wrong at every level? It is this response within myself that intrigues me…and I think I may have figured out why.
The conservancy does make a valid point and I acknowledge it. If this wonderful, beautiful, majestic creature had to be shot and killed in order to save dozens of other animals and perhaps people, I understand. I am a utilitarian at my core; that is, whatever brings about the greatest good for the greatest amount of people or animals, I will generally support –even if it includes killing a majestic creature. Does this hunt qualify as such? I have no idea yet for the sake of discussion let us assume it does.
What I absolutely do not support -justified killing or not- is the cheering, smug, happiness associated with this tragic event. Why would anyone be happy or feel a sense of achievement by killing one of the most beautiful creatures on earth? Why would you smile? Why would you put on make-up and have your hair done? Why would you even want your picture taken? If you must kill it, kill it. Then grieve, don’t cheer. The animal did nothing wrong as it only followed its basic natural instincts.
If humans have indeed won the battle for survival-of-the-fittest and we are the superior species, with this superiority must come a moral and ethical responsibility.
It has been noted that in some cultures people would mourn -then honor- the animals they killed and consumed in order to survive.
Can we at least have the common decency and respect for the earth and all its inhabitants to grieve such acts, perhaps even necessary acts, that must be done in order to achieve the greater good? Have we not evolved at least that far? Hell, forget grieving the act -just do not celebrate it like a real animal.
I don’t know, maybe I am animals rights activist at some level. I at least know I am a humans-should-behave-decently-and-respect-the earth activist.
The real animal? You be the judge.