If ever an animal could be said not to have died in vain it was poor old Cecil the Lion. His sad end at the hands of a wealthy hunter has focused attention on the plight of endangered wildlife worldwide, and not just the fate of rhinos, tigers, lions, pandas, and hippos.
The whole issue of recreational killing of wildlife has come under the spotlight as people vent their outrage at the sadistic and calculated way that Cecil was made to suffer for “sport.” In Spain and some South American countries, animals are stoned to death at fiestas, goats are thrown off high buildings, and the horns of bulls set alight.
That’s if there isn’t a bull fighting session on to amuse or occupy blood sport fans. Bears are still baited in Pakistan and Afghanistan, dogs ripping into their flesh and inflicting a slow death in scenes that Shakespeare would have been familiar with in Elizabethan England but that some humans seem to crave in the 21st century. Here in Ireland we are less than two months away from another hare coursing season.
An animal whose conservation status is deemed poor and that has all but vanished from many parts of the country is forced to serve as bait for pairs of competing greyhounds They are mere pawns in a silly game of chance, getting mauled or tossed about like broken toys on rain sodden and wind swept fields nationwide.
As a popular Irish folk song went: “All God’s creatures have a place in the choir.” None of them deserve to be tortured to death or mutilated or terrorised for a laugh or a wager, or to be mounted as a grizzly trophy on the wall of some wealthy connoisseur of carcasses. Now the spectre of Cecil, lying dead and headless and with a smiling hunter posing beside him, hangs over all blood sports.
From the mighty lion to the brooding bear, the wily fox to the humble hare, these creatures form part of the world’s imperiled wildlife heritage. Thanks to the Cecil Factor this treasure that graces our planetary eco-system may yet survive the effects of man’s inhumanity.
The campaign to protect wildlife everywhere continues:
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