Cecil the Lion 2
Ethics & Morality

Cecil the Lion – a lesson in animal theology

 

A dentist called Walter Palmer has killed a lion called Cecil. Cecil the lion is now dead, and never has the world been so united in grief. Well, perhaps not since the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. But for the death of an animal, the global outpouring has been extraordinary – hysterical, even. RIP Cecil – you will forever be in our hearts.

Walter the dentist is from Wisconsin. Cecil the lion was from Zimbabwe. Walter seemingly paid $50,000 for the pleasure of killing Cecil, though it isn’t clear who granted the permit. Perhaps it was illicit, but Walter wasn’t to know. He went in search of exhilaration. He just wanted to hunt and bag a trophy. It beats filling teeth.

But now Cecil the lion is dead. He was shot with a crossbow, then beheaded and skinned. No doubt the head is off to the taxidermist, destined to gather dust on someone’s wall, and the skin will be stapled, stretched, salted and cured, eventually to grace the floor of a safari-themed bedroom, or perhaps a hunting cabin in Dallas.

Having hunted Cecil the lion, Walter the dentist has become the hunted. Piers Morgan has put a bounty on the head of the “smirking, vile, callous assassin with no heart”. He proclaims: “I will sell tickets for $50,000 to anyone who wants to come with me and track down fat, greedy, selfish, murderous businessmen like Dr Palmer in their natural habit.”

Animal rights group PETA (that’s People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) issued a fatwa:

Hunting is a coward’s pastime. If, as has been reported, this dentist and his guides lured Cecil out of the park with food so as to shoot him on private property, because shooting him in the park would have been illegal, he needs to be extradited, charged, and, preferably, hanged.

To get a thrill at the cost of a life, this man gunned down a beloved lion, Cecil with a high-powered weapon. All wild animals are beloved by their own mates and infants, but to hunters like this overblown, over-privileged little man, who lack empathy, understanding, and respect for living creatures, they are merely targets to kill, decapitate, and hang up on a wall as a trophy.

So, Walter the dentist must be hanged for shooting Cecil the lion. Notwithstanding the fact that 23,000 African elephants were killed for their tusks last year, and 1004 African rhinos were killed for their horns. And let’s not talk about shark-fin soup; or the puppies burned and boiled alive to be served with chow mein; or the 50,000 greyhounds hanged in Spain every year for no other reason than being slow hunters. In England, a dog is man’s best friend. In China, it is dinner. In Spain, it is tree decoration.

But Walter killed Cecil the lion. Cecil had a name; an identity. Cecil the lion was loved, and so must be properly mourned and buried with dignity, if not a fitting liturgy.

The Rev’d Andrew Linzey is Director of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics and the world’s leading animal theologian: “We want to put ethical concern for animals on the intellectual agenda, and contribute to an enlightened public debate about animals,” he write matter-of-factly in his ‘Welcome‘. But he gave an interview to Newsweek recently which strikes a deeper chord:

“I am not a starry-eyed idealist. We’re experiencing a gradual paradigm shift from the idea that animals are commodities to the idea that, as sentient creatures, they have dignity, value and rights. The Christian church has made similar shifts on the rights of women, and gays, and of the child. Things advance. This is where somebody like Richard Dawkins, say, gets religion so terribly wrong. He doesn’t understand that the church is like a river and changes, much as science moves on. He dwells on the worst of its history. That’s like judging secularism by Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot.”

The Rev’d Andrew Linzey would preside over a service of interment for a golden retriever or a cat, but perhaps not a goldfish – unless it had a name and was loved. “I suppose it has to do with intelligence, and the social circle frequented by the deceased,” he explains. “You have to ask what you are doing at a funeral service. You’re thanking God for the life of the animal, or human being, and commending a life into the hands of God.”

And just as he is about to be lured into advocating a liturgy for the burial of a beetle, he urges that we feel a different pulse:

“Allow me to re-orientate this discussion ever so slightly. From God’s perspective, every creature is loved or is no creature at all. I’m not saying we have a duty to pick up every dead animal and conduct a complete funeral service for them.. Death is woven into the fabric of existence. Death deserves acknowledgment.”

Some meat we eat. Some meat we kill for sport. And some meat we walk twice a day, talk to, stroke and love. The Linzey doctrine of animal theology seeks to re-orientate human apprehension toward:

“The advocation of progressive disengagement (from cruelty). If God so loves the world, non-rational creatures must have a look-in too. Human beings have a responsibility of a kind that mice or giraffes don’t. We are not the master species but the servant species. Our power should be exercised in looking after creation.”

Man is free to participate in the order of creation by knowledge and action. But he must both know and act. How can man kill without compassion? How can he consume without conscience? There is an order of creation, and man is at the pinnacle, made in the image of God. But he is unique in the application of moral inquiry. If a prawn cannot sin, how much more perfect is the nobility, dignity and character of a lion? Should it not be left free in its potency and possibility to proclaim the glory of God?

  • Albert

    Meanwhile thousands of unborn children are killed everyday.

    • David

      Well said Albert !

    • GKoH

      Not sure this is the best approach here. The two aren’t mutually exclusive. Of course, I know you’re using this to highlight a sickness in the affections and heart of humanity, however, I don’t think this approach will be effective in its aim.

      Might it not be better to seek to magnify the value of all things in truth, to the glory of God, and use the inspiration of one to add value to the other?

      • Albert

        I agree that killing Cecil was wrong. I hate hunting, to be honest, I think it is beneath us as human beings to inflict unnecessary suffering on animals. But how can you oppose killing Cecil, but not care about abortion? Can we have some consistency please?

        Support for abortion is emotional, morally contradictory and irrational. One draws attention to this by drawing attention the overall view which is obviously (once it has be pointed out) emotional, morally contradictory and irrational.

        • IanCad

          So true Albert!
          As we all weep for the loss of an unborn baby, so most are indifferent to a terminated (crunchy) foetus.

        • sarky

          If you want to be hard faced about it, humans aren’t going extinct any time soon. Abortion is not going to cause the loss of our species.
          These animals are in rapid decline and people are recognising this and coming out against people hastening this decline.

          • Albert

            So therefore a lion is more valuable than a child?

          • sarky

            Well that depends if you think humans are just animals or something more and if you consider a foetus a child. Also like I said humans aren’t going extinct any time soon.

          • Albert

            Do you think it is more wrong to kill a child than an animal?

          • sarky

            Imagine the last breeding pair of lions in the world are in an enclosure and a child falls in??
            What do you do? Shoot the lion and save the child, thus condemning them to extinction?
            Or sacrifice the child?

          • CliveM

            No one but a PETA nutter would let the child die.

          • sarky

            What if a baby chimpanzee fell in?

          • CliveM

            You know if it’s down to the last pair of viable breeding lions it’s to late. Not enough diversity in the gene pool.

          • sarky

            Worked out fine for Adam and eve!

            (Or, gasp, are you suggesting its a made up story)

          • CliveM

            It’s a true story. However I don’t believe it to be history.

          • carl jacobs

            So it’s a false true story?

          • CliveM

            No it’s simply not history.

          • sarky

            Explain?

          • CliveM

            Sarky

            I tend to avoid theological debates (I’m so bad at them and typically although I’m in the right I lose !!), however (deep breath), except for the most neandethal fundamentalist all Christians agree that some of what appears in the Bible is imagery or parables and are not intended to be history. So for example the tale of the Prodigal Son is usually not viewed as history, but as a way of educating the disciples in a truth. In that sense it is true, although not historical. The dispute comes over those parts of the Bible that the meaning and origin of them are more controversial. Like Genesis. The O/T is made up of law, historical narratives, wisdom literature, poetry and prophetic writings. The first 5 books are not usually listed under the books of history, but are termed the Pentateuch. (Simply a Greek term meaning 5 scrolls). I believe in the light the evidence as I understand it that Genesis was written as a theological statement for the chosen people, the Jews, about the relationship between them, God and the wider world and is not intended as a work of science or history. Carl disagrees and I respect his feelings on it, I just can’t agree with them.

          • sarky

            I agree. Makes more sense than trying to get Square pegs to fit round holes.
            Just waiting for martin the neanderthal to turn up now.

          • CliveM

            Sarky

            Even Martin agrees that parts of the bible are symbolic, although he undoubtedly sees Genesis as literal. For the avoidance of all doubt (and just so you don’t get me into trouble :9)) I am not saying that belief in Adam and Eve makes you Neanderthal!

          • sarky

            I’ll believe you 😉

          • carl jacobs

            That’s what John Dominic Crossan would say about the resurrection. “Theologically true. Historically false.” Some things can’t be theologically true if they are historically false.

          • …. and some ‘things’ can be theological truths but not intended to be historical narrative.

          • carl jacobs

            Like the resurrection? Can that be historically false?

          • sarky

            Yep!

          • No … that’s written as historical fact in the Gospels, Carl.

          • carl jacobs

            So is the existence of Adam.

          • Well yes, despite other scientific theories about life … that’s why the Church has a Magisterium to settle all these differences of opinion.

            The Church allows for the possibility that man’s body developed from previous biological forms, under God’s guidance, but insists on the special creation of his soul and his common ancestry from Adam and Eve. Pope Pius XII stated dogmatically that “the teaching authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions . . . take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter – [but] the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God.”

            Church teaching about Adam and Eve has not, and cannot, change. A literal Adam and Eve are unchanging Catholic doctrine. One man, Adam, committed original sin and through Christ, redemption was accomplished. The Catechism of the Catholic Church speaks of Adam and Eve as a single mating pair who “committed a personal sin, but this sin affected the human nature that they would then transmit in a fallen state ….” The doctrines surrounding original sin cannot be altered “without undermining the mystery of Christ.” Denial of a literal Adam (and his spouse, Eve) as the sole first genuinely human parents of all true human beings is not theologically tenable.

            “When there is a question of another conjectural opinion, namely, of polygenism so-called, then the sons of the Church in no way enjoy such freedom. For the faithful in Christ cannot accept this view, which holds either that after Adam there existed men on this earth who did not receive their origin by natural generation from him, the first parent of all, or that Adam signifies some kind of multiple first parents; for it is by no means apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with what the sources of revealed truth and the acts of the magisterium of the Church teaches about original sin, which proceeds from a sin truly committed by one Adam, and which is transmitted to all by generation, and exists in each one as his own.
            (Pope Pius XII – “Humani Generis”)

          • carl jacobs

            I consider that argument sophistry. It requires that I grant the existence of some vast race of proto-humans who were essentially indistinguishable from Adam … except Adam had a soul. Nonsense. If you want to believe evolution, then stand on it and defend it. All of it. Don’t throw some magisterial dirt in my eyes.

            What you are trying to do is reduce the act of special creation to an invisible undetectable instance while leaving the whole evolutionary schema untouched. You assert that Adam’s father (for he must have had father) was not a man. What was he then? An animal? A proto-man? Describe his ontology for me. And find me the materialist who would buy into this concept of a single mating pair being the source of all men on Earth.

          • Phil R

             And find me the materialist who would buy into this concept of a single mating pair being the source of all men on Earth.

            Only if they were the first mating pair and genetically perfect.

            Hence the prohibition on marrying siblings came many generations later.

          • As Jack said, this is why there is an authoratative Magisterium. There’s no need for him to speculate about such things. The Church allows for some form of evolutionary process guided by God. Note Pope Pius XII described the theory of evolution as a “doctrine”. The critical facts are we all share a common set of parents who had unique, immediately created souls and this couple rebelled against God.

            Do you believe Noah managed to get all the living creatures of the earth on the vessel he build? Or, do you suppose, there is a truth within the narrative that doesn’t depend on the account being historically factual?

          • carl jacobs

            Yes, Jack. I am primitive enough to believe that there really was a Noah, that there really was an ark, and that there really was a flood. Should I conclude that Moses was not historically factual as well?

          • Has Jack argued there wasn’t a man named Noah, an ark or a flood? And that isn’t the question that was asked.

          • carl jacobs

            I thought it was the question you asked me. It seemed to me you denied the historical nature of the Ark. What then did you ask?

          • Did Noah actually get a pair of all living creatures on the Ark and that all species are descended from these pairings?

          • Do you believe Noah managed to get all the living creatures of the earth on the vessel he built? Or, do you suppose, there is a truth within the narrative that doesn’t depend on the account being historically factual?

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            As a presumably educated and intelligent man, you surely cannot be serious in maintaining that stuff like that is actual history. Pray, allow me to believe that you are not.

          • carl jacobs

            Guglielmo

            What am I supposed to do with that comment? Am I supposed to retreat in embarrassment and shame? Because I won’t. Do you think I make statements like that without considering the ramifications?

            Am I supposed to doubt my “presumed” education and intelligence? Because I don’t. I will let others here judge my intelligence (well, except for Jack who use the opportunity to punch me in the kidneys) but there is no question about my education. I understand the presuppositional nature of the conflict. Refusing to worship post-modern presuppositions is not equivalent to ignorance or lack of education.

            Am I supposed to fear the loss of your respect (assuming there is any)? Because I don’t. I am 56 years old. I am not a child that you should come at me as a child. I have thought long about these subjects, and I am not one to be stampeded by cheap invective.

            Inside four decades I will most probably be dead. At that point there will be one and only one opinion that matters. As it is written “Let God be true and every man a liar.” This is where I will stand – no matter how many tongues cluck in mockery and condescension.

          • CliveM

            Hi Carl

            I have responded. Hopefully in a more positive fashion!!

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            No, Carl, I don’t expect you to retreat in embarrassment and shame. Nor do I invite you to doubt your education and intelligence, or to fear loss of respect. I am simply expressing my respectful astonishment that anyone of education and intelligence can, in this 21st century A.D., seriously believe in the literal truth of stories like Adam and Eve, Noah and his ark etc. I cannot do better than to quote the late Sir Leslie Stephen:

            “Accept the Jewish legends as historical truth, and you have to believe in a state of things grotesque in itself and absolutely divorced from all living realities.”

          • carl jacobs

            But of course people also express respectful astonishment that “anyone of education and intelligence can, in this 21st century A.D., seriously believe in” God. All you are really saying is “How can you not accept my presuppositions about the origin of the universe?” I don’t accept them because they are false.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Presuppositions about the origin of the universe are a different matter. I see an enormous difference between believing in God and believing that ancient mythology is history.

          • carl jacobs

            And just out of curiosity, are you chucking Abraham onto the ashe heap of history as well?

          • Let’s stay with Noah and the ark for now, Carl.

          • CliveM

            Carl

            I’m concerned not to allow this thread to be hijacked into a debate of creationism v’s evolution. Which I believe to be a false argument anyway.

            However the resurrection has to be an event, otherwise it has no power. To try and simply say it is a theological explanation of God reconciling himself to man kind, with no historical truth, we would as Paul said be pitied above all men.

          • carl jacobs

            Clive

            This isn’t about Creation vs Evolution. If that was all this was about, I wouldn’t have said anything. This is about the integrity of the Scriptural witness.

            You have answered wisely. The resurrection must be historical fact because Christianity is a lie if the resurrection is a lie. But Paul did not just say that if Christ was not raised, then our hope was in vain. He also said that just as all men died in Adam, so also were all men made alive in Christ. The truth of Christian theology is just as dependent upon the historical reality of Adam’s sin as it is upon Christ’s passion. So why have you maintained the Scriptural witness in service to theology in the case of the Resurrection, but discarded its service in the case of Adam? Is there less natural evidence that men do not rise from the dead? I suggest you ask sarky that question.

            I recognize this argument. I once argued with a man who was a pastor in some church – don’t remember which any more. He fervently defended the truth of the resurrection for exactly the reason you proffered. But he couldn’t find a single story in the first five books of the bible that he thought actually happened. His entire argument amounted to special pleading for this one event because the consequences of falsifying that one event were catastrophic. But what did he believe about Sinai? “Modern Scholarship.” That was his real authority.

            This is what is really going on. People are saying “The Scripture can’t be true because we know certain things now.” And people are trying to rescue Scripture from this attack with the whole “Theologically True, Historically false” narrative. Except they don’t know that certain things are true. And they are denying the witness of the Book in the process. Which is the greater witness – that the Scripture should testify or that one should rise from the dead? What did Christ say about it?

          • CliveM

            Carl.

            See my comment to Sarky.

            However I’m going to ponder on this further before responding directly. Partly because I am time pressured at the momen, but mainly because your question deserves a properly considered response.

          • sarky

            “The resurrection must be historical fact because christianity is a lie if the resurrection is a lie”

            Hmmm don’t see how that follows. Sounds a bit like clutching at straws to me.

          • carl jacobs

            sarky

            My point is the Christianity is historically falsifiable. If Christ is dead and buried in the ground, then Christianity is false. There are Christians who deny vast portions of Scripture because they are intimidated by “modern scholarship”. Yet they will never apply that same logic to the resurrection because of the theological implications. They cower in fear before people who deny Adam and yet they dispute these very same scholars when they deny the possibility of the resurrection. Is resurrection more believable that the historical reality of Adam?

            All I want is consistency. If they want to say “False in one* then say “False in all.” But don’t say something nonsensical like “False but true.”

          • sarky

            I totally understand. No fall of man, no need for a saviour. If you deny one you deny the other.
            Hence one of the reasons I am an atheist. The creation story is clearly an allegory, therfore the resurrection story is clearly just that. Christianity is like a line of dominoes stretching from the old to the new testament. You topple the first dominoe and the rest follow quickly in succession.

          • CliveM

            Hi Carl

            As a start I would refute the suggestion that by not believing Genesis to be a historical document I am in some sense dishonouring it. I honour the whole Bible, whether it be its history, prophecy, teaching or allegory. The Bible is true, because it is Gods word. But God in the Bible doesn’t always speak literally.

            Secondly simply by saying Genesis is not a historical document, I am not saying it is untrue. I believe all scripture to be true, although I will admit to occasionally having problems in working out what the truth is! I have explained to Sarky why things can both be true and allegorical. You would have known it anyway.

            Also I don’t agree that Adam has to be a historical character and the ‘fall’ to be an historical event as described literally in Genesis, for the resurrection to make sense. We are a fallen species, a simple look at human history (and a little self awareness) makes that painfully clear. Jesus came to save us, because we needed saved, otherwise our ‘divorce’ from God was irrevocable. Genesis starts the process of revealing our fallen nature and pointing to our redemption.

            However for scripture to be true, it also needs to be objectively true. To use a popular (and erroneous slander) if Christians believed the Bible said the world was flat and clearly the world isn’t, then either God is wrong, or our understanding of what he is telling us, our theology, is wrong. I know which of the two I would pitch.

            But fortunately for me at least, one of the joys of improving my biblical understanding over the years, is learning not that the Bible is inconsistent, but how properly knitted together and consistent it is. Not just internally consistent with itself, but also with the wider world and understanding. Which we would of course expect!

          • Anna055

            Can I just add into the conversation that I heard a radio programme (science not Christian based) a few years ago talking about tracing back the history of human populations by studying the genetic material in mitochondria. It is passed on by women in their egg not by men in their sperm, so it doesn’t get mixed in each individual, and it is therefore easier to trace the history of any changes. At the end of the programme, they concluded, rather surprisingly for a secular programme, that there was one Eve who was the mother of humankind.

          • CliveM

            Hi Anna

            I had heard of this. Of course this finding whilst it doesn’t disprove Adam and Eve, also doesn’t disprove evolution. You might expect that and evolutionary mutation would happen in a single individual first.

            I’m trying desperately not to get to embroiled in an Creation debate!! I’m more trying to establish that belief in Genesis as a historical narrative isn’t required for a belief in the resurrection and Christianity.

          • Anna055

            One of the most “on fire” Christians I know is an evolutionist though I don’t know how he views Adam and the immediately post Adam parts of Genesis. I vary between views myself. I was brought up to believe that God created using evolution, then I moved to a more creationist view because of stuff I read giving the arguments for this (I have a relative whose career was as a physics lecturer and he believes in a “young earth”).
            However to me the main thing is that we don’t spiritualise away the parts of the Bible which are clearly history, even when they make uncomfortable reading, which I think is part of what you are saying.

          • CliveM

            I would like the Creation narrative to be historically true, it would make things so much simpler if we could point to a young earth!

            Yes I hope I’m not suggesting that all the difficult bits can simply be spiritualised away.

          • carl jacobs

            Clive

            There is no textual evidence in Scripture that would lead you to believe Adam is a mythological abstraction or parable. He is treated as a real person from beginning to end. The whole “Adam is a parable” line is a reaction to materialism. Science allows us to model and understand the world around us. Scientists used that credibility to impose a materialist understanding on origins. People today say “I can’t be credible opposing science!” so they conclude Adam must never have existed. Why? Because some really smart people who assert that everything must be comprehensible in immanent terms (notice the tense of the verbs) say they have disproven the biblical narrative. No, they haven’t. They have followed their presuppositions to the inevitable conclusion. If you begin with the assumptions of materialism, you will end with the conclusions of materialism.

            Who is the more reliable witness – the God who created the universe, or the men who presume He had nothing to do with it?

    • Anton

      Well said; the priorities of people in the West are barmy nowadays.

  • David

    To give a sense of theological perspective just read Albert’s comment below.

    Destruction of any living, beautiful creature, for the perverted joy of killing, seems to me a terrible waste. I would only kill an animal to save a human life, or because I was starving, or because it was necessary, for good land management.

  • The Explorer

    Lions kill other animals: zebra, waterbuck, impala. They are beautiful creatures too. I suppose the point is that they don’t kill these other creatures just for the thrill of killing them, but for a survival purpose. If lions don’t eat, they die. And they kill quickly.
    Two questions might arise from this:
    1. Why did God create a food chain in such a way that some animals must survive by eating other animals? (For atheists, of course, this is a non-issue.)
    2. Why does it say in ‘Isaiah’ that the wolf will lie down with the kid, and the lion will eat straw like the ox? Does it suggest something wrong with the carnivorous process? And shouldn’t the ox be restored to the sexual wholeness it was born with?

    • CliveM

      Sorry, sexual wholeness?

      The Hunter in question has form. He has previously received a suspended sentence in the US for luring out a Black Bear.

      • The Explorer

        Oxen are castrated bulls. aren’t they?

        • Albert

          Elephants have internal testicles apparently. I wonder how you castrate them? And what would you call them if you could? Iliphants?

          • IanCad

            Get them married.

          • Albert

            What the Ox and the Iliphant?

          • IanCad

            I guess that would be same sex marriage.

          • Albert

            Interesting, because of course that animal couple would be impotent and impotence is grounds for nullity – or was, before same-sex marriage altered the definition because same-sex couples, could not reach that high bar (despite the fact that the grounds for same-sex marriage is that they are equal and interchangeable in every way). Lucky old Ox and Ililphants!

          • IanCad

            I note HG’s disapproval of my mentioning same sex marriage.
            Thus, suitably chastised, I will refrain from any discussion, mention, allusion or even hint, on the subject.

          • Albert

            Don’t worry, it’s only come up in passing – I’m happy to let it drop!

          • CliveM

            LOL!

          • avi barzel

            Castratiphantus unhappycus.

        • CliveM

          Are they? Didn’t know that.

          • The Explorer

            Try getting an intact bull to be a humble beast of burden.

          • CliveM

            I’d never thought about it. Always assumed bred docility.

            Today hasn’t been wasted, I’ve learnt something new!

    • Linus

      We’re back to vegan lions, are we?

      Just a small point, but a lion that eats straw (one assumes the Bible means hay, but then perhaps we shouldn’t expect inerrancy from a book written by humans…) would need rather a drastic change of dentition and digestive tract in order to survive on such a diet. As a grazer it would have no use for binocular vision, so its eyes would migrate around its head to the side-set position of all other grazers. Neither would it need claws. Hooves would serve it much better.

      In other words, a vegan lion will be indistinguishable from a donkey, or a horse, or an antelope, or a gnu.

      Looks like nature will be far less varied when kingdom comes, doesn’t it? And there’s going to be a LOT of grass. No predators to feed off all the vegan lions and other grazers, so expect massive bison mega-herd sized prides of vegan lions roaming about paradise nibblling all the grass and defecating absolutely everywhere…

      Looks like the kingdom is going to be a fragrant place. Knee-deep in vegan lion scumble. Warm too, because of all the methane given off as a by-product of vegan lion digestion, which will accumulate in the upper atmosphere and turn paradise into a runaway greenhouse. So don’t pack your winter coat. It’s going to be pineapples and bikinis all year round!

      I wonder … could this be what happened to Venus? Perhaps the Venusians didn’t fall, so their lions never became carnivorous, which meant that grazers multiplied like rabbits and the resulting methane emissions cooked their world aeons ago. What price virtue, eh?

      But anyway, what will we eat when all the lions have become vegan and there’s no more meat-eating allowed? Will our bodies undergo the same changes as those experienced by the vegan lions, i.e. will we start to resemble donkeys? Did Adam and Eve resemble Bottom before the Fall? That doesn’t seem impossible when you consider that modern Christians are always making complete asses of themselves. Hearking back to earlier times, are you? Or pre-figuring God’s eventual return and your ass-umption into the kingdom of Heaven?

      In any case, a world full of vegan lions clearly won’t have a great future. A thousand years at most before everything boils away in the fierce glare of a cruel and pitiless sun, the heat of which will be trapped by all that flatulence. Whiffy too, I shouldn’t wonder…

      • The Explorer

        Vegetarian, maybe. Vegan is from a different religious system.

        Yes, it’s all a bit of a puzzle, isn’t it. You highlight the complications very effectively. We can reassure ourselves with two thoughts.

        1. If there is no God, Isaiah’s vision will never happen.

        2. If there is a God, He’ll understand the digestive processes of animals and have a solution.

        • sarky

          I would put my money on 1, but paddy power have closed all bets.

          • William Lewis

            There must be other ways to monetise your atheism.

          • Pubcrawler

            Maybe writing a book about it, though that seems to have been done to death of late.

          • William Lewis

            It’s hard to believe that so many books could be written about not believing something.

          • sarky

            Made a killing on gay marriage and women bishops 🙂

          • William Lewis

            You must introduce me to your broker. 🙂

          • The Explorer

            Either way, there’s a solution to Linus’ problem.

        • Linus

          In other words, you admit that your vision is logically incoherent, but God will make it come true anyway, even if he has to transform straw into prime beef (or antelope, or gnu) by magic whenever it comes into contact with lion saliva.

          Vegan lion saliva, of course. They’ll have to be vegans rather than vegetarians, or no ground nesting bird’s egg will ever be safe (you know what God thinks about abortion, and eating an egg is the same as aborting a baby chick, isn’t it?)

          So whenever a vegan lion chews a bit of straw, it will magically change into beef (or antelope, or gnu) as it slides down his throat, and paradise will be spared the unedifying spectacle of cross and irritable lions suffering from griping tummy aches and devastating flatulence. Not to mention the diarrhoea …!

          He’ll be busy, this god of yours. He’ll have to work his magic each and every time a lion gets peckish, and his timing will have to be impeccable otherwise paradise will be full of rotting meat, which will make it rather less than a perfect place to be, won’t it?

          And what if a lion is a bit greedy and throws up part of his meal? Will the vomit contain partially digested meat, or partially digested straw?

          And what if you’re having a nice picnic wearing a straw boater and one of these fluffy vegan lions comes bounding up to greet you and gives you a big lick? You’ll find yourself with a bloody beefsteak (or antelope steak, or gnu steak) sitting on your head. A very unpleasant experience! Not at all paradisiac!

          So, having proved God’s claim that paradise follows death for all true believers to be false, will the fact of catching the supposedly infallible deity out in a lie cause the whole of creation to disappear in a puff of smoke?

          Be careful what you wish for. Your vegan lions may be responsible for unmaking the universe. Either that, or biblical prophecies of that nature are just a load of old cobblers…

          • The Explorer

            One is reminded of that poem by J C Squire:

            God this, God that, and God the other thing.
            “Good God!” said God, “I’ve got my work cut out.”

            Preacher’s explanation, however, might well be the right one.

      • avi barzel

        That’s quite an excursus into High Bible Criticism and zoology there, Lionus. Must be smoking good weed in your moated castle. One little pedantry, though; the lion can keep its binocular eye arrangement since without predators, it wouldn’t need a wider field of vision. Anyway, ever hear of metaphor? Very big with most pre-modern languages. And the more unlikely the metaphoric image, the more emphatic the expression.

        • Linus

          Natural selection will adapt the vision of vegan lions to their situation. The particular jaw arrangement of animals that graze leads to an elongated skull, which favours side-set vision. So vegan lions would necessarily, at the very least, have something of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis about their eyes – wide set, tending to swivel off to the side.

          And there’s no need to bring drugs into the conversation. Christians don’t seem to need them for their flights of fancy, and all I’m doing is following their fantasies through to their logical end. A vegan lion would be a strange creature indeed. But Christians blithely ignore this small detail in the same way that fans of American science fiction films want their space ships to make impressive noises in space, something which is impossible given the absence of any sound-bearing medium.

          It’s one more layer of proof that we’re dealing with fantasists dreaming up fantastic stories that just can’t happen in reality. Vegan lions can’t exist in nature, and if they’re just a “metaphor”, then what else in the Bible is metaphoric, or exaggerated, or just plain wrong? And who’s to say what’s metaphoric and what’s not? Opinions will differ, which makes the “seamless robe of Christ” a pretty piecemeal garment.

    • preacher

      HI brother, perhaps the meaning of the Lion will lay down with the lamb is meant in a symbolic way ? The Lion of Judah combined with the lamb of God? The strong King & the sacrificial lamb, perfect power matched with gentle peace ?. the little child will play by the snake’s den, end time restoration !.

      • The Explorer

        Indeed; I don’t rule out pure symbolism. Well put. Thank you.

    • Lord Chatham

      1. He didn’t. Genesis 1:30 states all were to be herbivores.
      2. Sin and violent death entered through the Fall.
      3. Creation itself suffers under the Fall, and waits for the Redemption through the return of Christ Jesus. Romans 8:20-22
      4. Isaiah is speaking prophetically of that future date, when in the fullness of the Kingdom, animals will no longer be food sources for one another, but return to the original design set forth in Genesis 1:30.

  • IanCad

    Dr. Palmer will likely go to jail. He will lose his dental practice. All that, and his sorry pecker.
    The man has been, and will be, punished sufficiently.

    • Anton

      I doubt he’ll go to jail, but he’ll probably have to sell his practice and work for someone else somewhere else.

      Did he REALLY believe that it was legal in Zimbabwe?

      • CliveM

        You hear different stories, but what I thought is that it is legal, but because the Lion had celebrity status he went after it by having it lured out of the National Park, where it was illegal, to a area where if you have the right licences it was.

        Can’t be certain though. He has done this and been convicted before.

      • CliveM

        Also I have read that there is reason to believe that he bribed locals to get this. Even if done abroad this is a criminal offence in the US, I wouldn’t be so sure he’ll avoid gaol.

        • IanCad

          The long arm of US law.
          FIFA?

          • CliveM

            Yes indeed.

      • IanCad

        If he is convicted in a US court he will then have his medical license revoked.

        • Anton

          Are you sure, if the offence is unrelated to his work?

          I can’t say I particularly care. By far the best point on this thread has been made by Albert, about priorities of secular people who rant about this incident while advocating abortion.

          • IanCad

            Bribery or corruption are crimes of moral turpitude and thus, if convicted, he would be deemed to lack the character required of his profession. He’s he deep trouble.
            Absolutely agree that Albert’s comment is the most important thus far. Interesting how it ties in with DTB’s.

          • Anton

            “if convicted, he would be deemed to lack the character required of his profession.”

            Are you aware of the Dentist Song in Little Shop of Horrors?

          • IanCad

            No, I had never seen it.
            Very funny.
            Thanks

      • Dominic Stockford

        It is legal. The issue is simply not having the correct licence, and being used to cover up the sale of body parts from aborted children.

  • sarky

    I dont think the ‘outpouring of grief’ is just about this one lion. It’s a realisation that the rich can pay a few thousand dollers (these hunters are invariably American) and go and slaughter wildlife for fun. I know the counter argument is that this money helps preservation, but there must be a better way.
    I think the world is waking up to the fact that poaching, hunting etc will mean that the only place we will see these animals will be in a zoo.

    • IanCad

      “(these hunters are invariably American)”
      Prince Philip.
      Prince Harry.
      King Carlos of Spain.

      • sarky

        Invariably?

  • The Explorer

    To put things in perspective, when Teddy Roosevelt visited Kenya in 1910 his bag was 17 lions, 3 leopards, 7 cheetah, 9 hyena, 11 elephants, 10 buffalo, 11 black rhino, 9 white rhino and 469 antelope.

    What’s one lion against that little lot?

    • Dominic Stockford

      But he was US President, and could therefore do whatever he wanted. (and there was no insanity called ‘social media’).

    • Royinsouthwest

      By way of compensation, didn’t he have something to do with the Teddy Bear?

      • The Explorer

        Yes; we owe the teddy bear to him.

    • Anton

      “Four game wardens, seven hunters and a cow” – Tom Lehrer, Hunting Song

  • CliveM

    If you’re going to hunt, do it properly, face to face, armed simply with a spear.

    Think that’s how the Masai do it.

    • Anton

      They don’t hunt lions.

      • The Explorer

        Not any more, maybe; but they used to hunt lions as a rite of passage, just with a spear. I have a book about Kenya called ‘Hunter’ (by a man surnamed Hunter) now out of print, that describes a Masai lion hunt. The biggest danger was the lion’s claws: infection through decayed meat.

        • William Lewis

          I think they still do or at least they did 15 years ago when I visited one of their camps.

          • dannybhoy

            You went camping..?

          • William Lewis

            Goodness me no. Just visiting.

      • CliveM
        • Anton

          Blimey!

        • dannybhoy

          Oops! Sorry Clive, didn’t notice your link.
          In any case, anyone of a certain vintage would have been taught that at school…
          Shame on you Anton!

          • CliveM

            Nae problem.

          • dannybhoy

            Huh?
            You go to Sardinia on holiday and come back talking like Braveheart??

          • CliveM

            Simply a nod towards my heritage!

          • CliveM

            I got the info from reading the Jungle Doctor books.

          • dannybhoy

            I got it from our old school geography master who told us that British soldiers (in the days of Empire) used to try and knock their leg from under them..

            note: Of course they do have two legs, but for some reason they like to stand on only one them, leaning on their spear.

          • CliveM

            Oh the jolly japes we use to pass our time on back in the days of the Empire! Must stiffen upper lip.

          • dannybhoy

            Some of those guys were nasty, no doubt about it.

      • dannybhoy

        Oh yes they do…

        “The Maasai tribe sees lion hunting experience as a sign of bravery and personal achievement. In the past, when the lion population was high, the community encouraged solo lion hunting. However, over the last ten years, due to the decline of the lion population, mainly because of rabies and canine distemper virus, the community has adapted a new rule that encourages warriors to hunt in groups instead of solo lion hunt. Group hunting, known in Maasai as olamayio, gives the lion population a chance to grow.”

        http://www.maasai-association.org/lion.html

        • CliveM

          You’re to late, already posted the link!!!!!!!!

          See below. Catch up Dannybhoy.

        • Anton

          Yes, I’ve already been corrected by Clive. Permit me to say that they don’t hunt lions *for meat*.

          I think that Cecil forever in our hearts is better than our hearts forever in Cecil…

          • CliveM

            They don’t hunt lions for meat? Didn’t say they did!

          • Anton

            I know; I admitted that my statement was wrong. But hunting for meat is what I had in mind.

  • Owl

    oh dear, wild animals are being humanized (Cecil!) to stir our emotions.
    We have a responsibility to the animal world but animals are not humans and should not be treated as such. My pet cat is by nature arrogant, viscious (mice, birds) and, being a Tom, very aggresive in protecting his revier. He is just a cat.
    I respect him for being what he is. My children see this differently. To them he is like a little brother. They like to play with him. I feed him. I think he prefers me to them.
    It seems to me that the “personalised” approach to wild animals has always ended up as a disaster, for the animals.

    • The Explorer

      I imagine he was named after Cecil Rhodes, given it’s Zimbabwe. Can’t think of any other reason for that particular name.

      • IanCad

        He who shall not be named.
        Wonder how that slipped by?

    • dannybhoy

      Although he’s not actually vicious, he’s a predator and that’s his nature.

      • Owl

        Danny, you haven’t seen my cat “play” with a half dead mouse!
        I totally agree that that is his nature. I do not try to impose my human nature on him. Many seem to want impose their human nature onto Cecil. I don’t think that Cecil would understand.

        • dannybhoy

          Very wise Owl. I think we should respect animals and realise that they also are a part of creation over which we have stewardship, not ownership.
          I don’t know how, but I do think we need to stop this race to make man the only creature on the planet.

          This is a part of that….
          “A leading scientist just broke down in tears during an interview on carbon pollution, describing a dark future where the oceans are ruined. Whether her nightmare comes true depends on us.”

          https://secure.avaaz.org/en/save_the_date_loc/?bKPWxeb&v=62551

          • Owl

            danny, I totally agree.

          • dannybhoy

            The connection is that man as a sentient being thinks only about his needs and as an intelligent being fails to see the harm he is doing to his environment..

    • avi barzel

      Any creeping humanization of my cat ends the moment she sits down in the middle of the living room when guests are by, lifts one of her legs high up in the air and eyes firmly shut in anticipation of pleasure, proceeds to lick her ample butt with expertise and vigour.

      • sarky

        Did she learn it from you?

        • avi barzel

          Really? That’s your best?

          • sarky

            Sorry it was just to easy 🙂

          • avi barzel

            I know, but it’s all about impulse control, Sarky.

          • sarky

            Yeah, think I need to work on that.

      • dannybhoy

        Totally gross, but totally cat.
        Dogs are even worse. Ever watched one use his front paws to pull himself across your new carpet?
        Yeeeeuk.

        • CliveM

          Needs it glands squeezed!

          We have a dog, disgusting animal. The fact it views fresh crap as a delicacy, was the final nail in the coffin of our relationship!

          • dannybhoy

            Or could be worms?

          • CliveM

            Either way, not nice. Lots of dogs get compacted anal glands, which then needs squeezed to release. But yes maybe worms.

          • avi barzel

            No worms. Cat gets more check ups than I do, stays indoors, eats only vet remocommended dry food…no interest in table scraps, not even fish..and gets plenty of water from a cooled dispenser. It’s just part of their grooming routine, but when there new people around who look at them, cats get shy and that’s one of the ways they react.

          • avi barzel

            Coprophagia. Not common in dogs and may indicate it had trouble digesting the protein in the dogfood the first time around. The glands thing I don’t want to think about.

        • avi barzel

          Yes, fortunately it was on a friend’s carpet. Cats will do it too, though, and have a better grip with their nails.

  • Jill

    Glad he’s not my dentist. I would be worried that my head might appear on a plaque on his wall.

    • Dental plaque is a nuisance.

    • Sam

      I’ve been humming the dentist song from little shop of horrors since you mentioned that….

  • Well I think lions, tigers, elephants and rhinos are cool. Do we really have to shoot them to extinction for the thrill of a hunt or for their ivory?

    • dannybhoy

      No.

    • sarky

      My uncle went to Nepal a couple of years ago to see tigers in the wild. He was lucky enough to see two and said it was the most incrediblething he has ever seen 🙂

    • …. and camels, Hannah?

      • Sam

        Dude

        Remember this midrash:

        “Woman is formed out of bone. Touch a bone and it emits sound; hence woman’s voice is thinner than man’s. Again, man is formed from earth, which is comparatively soft and melts when water comes over it; whilst woman, being formed from hard substance, is more stubborn and unbending”.–Gen. Rabba 17.

        • Jack will let you inform Hannah of these insights.

          • Hi happy Jack

            I’m a bit melancholic tonight given what’s happened in Jerusalem.

          • “Dina d’malkhuta dina.”

            Religious extremism, Hannah. Whatever one believes the moral state of a person might be, or the harm the promotion of certain behaviours might cause, there is no justification for such violent action.

          • Sam

            In my book and yours : Lo Tirsah (thou shalt not murder).

      • Hi happy Jack

        Grrrr!

    • Sam

      No. And I think Judaism says you shouldn’t hunt anyway.

      • avi barzel

        Well, you could if you capture a kosher wild beast without harming it and manage to hold it down while a shoihet tries to shechter it!

        • Sam

          Dude

          I’ll let you demonstrate on the next lion we met on this forum . Age before beauty.

          • avi barzel

            Alas, lions are not kosher, so to my great regret, I’ll have to demure. How about a chicken? Come to think of it, does chasing a chicken around a yard before slaughter constitute hunting?

          • Sam

            Dude

            Heh, heh I overlook the criteria. But a lion couldn’t use a key pad to log on or type anyway. Or understand the English language sufficiently. But a chicken couldn’t either. And we’re not physically present being on the cyberspace. In fact the whole plan was doomed from the start ….

      • dannybhoy

        Shmu’el
        Someone forgot to tell Esau…

        “27 So the boys grew. And Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field; but Jacob was a mild man, dwelling in tents. 28 And Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob.”
        Genesis 25>

        • Sam

          Dude

          To be more specific: hunting for pleasure or hunting with dogs is definitely prohibited (my source is rashi). We don’t live in a society where we (Jews or westerners) have to hunt to eat. We are discussing here hunting for” pleasure” or self gratification.

          • avi barzel

            Yes , but Rashi responsa pertain to hunting with dogs which tear the beast apart, as was common in his medieval France. Non-Jews, though, are not bound by prohibitions, especially when the animal is killed humanely (R’ Y. Landau, 18th cent, Noda be Yehuda II and Yoreh Deah 10) and for personal consumption, as modern huntig regs specify in any cas. Hunting is frowned upon by Jews, but that’s a cultural issue typical to urban folk. Here in Canada game is still plentiful and needs to be culled and thousands depend on deer and moose…and seal meat and skins for the Inuit in the Far North.

          • Sam

            Dude

            Quite right. I wouldn’t want to stop native American tradition or gentiles from hunting. Even the Fox hunting issue, there was thought about the dogs that would have to be put down if they’d have been a total ban. I personally wouldn’t hunt,unless we went to a mad max type of age and reverted to traditional hunter gathering….

          • dannybhoy

            You caught me. But hunting as sport does go back a long long way. The Babylonians, the Egyptians and Romans, all engaged in hunting.
            Hunting for sport does not fit in with our stewardship of the earth. In fact when you think how many species have been hunted to extinction or near extinction, it’s quite shameful.
            (And that sad to say, was driven by capitalism..)

          • Sam

            Agreed.

  • Demon Teddy Bear

    I learn from Twitter that the “Cecil the lion” story is a distraction story. The real story that broke just before hand was that major US abortion provider Planned Parenthood was selling the organs of the unborn babies that they were killing. Their director was filmed discussing how they did the abortions in such a way as to leave the saleable organs intact.

    Rather than discuss this, the US liberal media cast around for a sob-story to run instead. And … behold, Cecil the Lion!

    Pretty sickening, once you know what a hideous evil this curious story is designed to disguise.

    • John Thomas

      Yes, I was quite convinced (before I read this) that Cecil the Lion was really all about distracting people from the appalling Planned Parenthood Nazis; we live in a world where 1 lion is more valuable than 1000s of babies. Weep … we should (but not for lions).

    • IanCad

      Not one for conspiracy theories, but, if the press have been sitting on this, I’m a believer.

    • dannybhoy

      This is a far bigger story, and some of the sources I have listened to have expressed amazement that no one is surprised or concerned that the bodies of aborted babies are being used on an industrial scale..
      Is it because so many support abortion on demand?

    • LoveMeIamALiberal

      And interesting how all the celebrities emoting about a lion have had not to say about Planned Parenthood’s behaviour, though not surprising.

    • James60498 .

      When Savita Halappanavar died in hospital in Ireland the abortionists got their story worked out. Part true, part false. Only once they were happy with it did it hit the news. And wow, did it hit the news. Headlines every bulletin on the BBC for days. Of course by the time that it was discovered that

  • John Thomas

    ” … we feel a different pulse…” – I know these are your words, Cranmer, not Rev Linzey’s, but you seem to be reporting his views … and very revealingly: It’s all about humans, and their FEELINGS, in the last analysis. Obviously this Palmer is not a nice person. No, Rev Linzey, (real) Christianity is NOT something that changes to fit in with whatever humanity has going at any time.

    • Anton

      Yes, the post-Diana emphasis on feelings is a symptom of the infantilisation of society. Feelings are the only thing that motivate young children. Two generations ago we were too far the other way – stiff upper lip meant you didn’t cry in private, let alone public as Arabs do – but today we are massively out too.

      • Royinsouthwest

        Talking of stiff upper lips, where’s the Government Inspector when you want him?

    • Martin

      John

      Indeed, Christianity is not about how humans feel, but about what God has done.

  • saintmark

    As Pete Postlethwaite’s character said in Jurassic Park 2 “I’ve been on too many safari’s with rich dentists” …….what is it with dentists???

    • sarky

      I know, its bridge too far denture know!!

      • Hugh Jeego

        We got it the first time 😉

        • sarky

          Whoops. Fat fingers.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            Not just fingers.

          • sarky

            Sticks and stones Martin!

          • Martin

            Sarky

            You dislike others using your weapons?

    • sarky

      I know, its a bridge too far denture know!!

    • avi barzel

      Boring work with crotchety, freaked-out patients whose teeth never get better with time. But, disposable income. Oodles of it. And if you can fiddle witg a root canal and a sweating, litigous patient, you’ll have no trouble shooting a lion with an arrow and cutting off its head. My dentist just came back from a safari in Zimbabwe last month…the sightseeing kind, though.

  • Hugh Jeego

    Why is it just this one lion that everyone is so up-in-arms about? If lion hunting is wrong, then it’s wrong to hunt any lions. If it’s wrong, then it’s wrong regardless of where it’s done, isn’t it? The fuss is simply because this was a “celebrity” lion, isn’t it? It was anthropomorphised. Pity the anonymous lion, then.

    • DanJ0

      Firstly, people now relate in some way to this particular lion. There’s something similar there to stories of unjust deaths in (say) China not having the same impact on us as deaths in the South of England even though we don’t know the victims in either case and though both are morally wrong in equal measure. Secondly, when an animal becomes a household pet or special in some way there are usually extra duties involved on the humans that interact with them. Giving an animal a name changes stuff, as even livestock farmers know.

      • Hugh Jeego

        Indeed, I wish people would think a bit more and be less driven by emotion, though.

  • “I am not a starry-eyed idealist. We’re experiencing a gradual paradigm shift from the idea that animals are commodities to the idea that, as sentient creatures, they have dignity, value and rights. The Christian church has made similar shifts on the rights of women, and gays, and of the child. Things advance.”

    Or not, Revered Linzey. Can one bring beloved pets to your church services. Or, how about farmyard animals? Perhaps, they can participate in the Communion service? It has been known. Meanwhile, the holocaust that is abortion continues because we recognise the so called ‘reproductive rights’ of women.

    • Linus

      So are animals in church a direct result of abortion then? Odd, I seem to have missed the bit in the Bible where it says “…and verily at the End of Days the godless ones shall murder babes even in their mothers’ wombs and the Lord God, being mightily offended, shall send puppy dogs and kitty cats and goldfish and parakeets and hamsters and all manner of beasts to plague the churches of the faithful in token of his ire…”

      Not much of a punishment, is it? Unless he’s planning to save only those who are allergic to pet dander. Allergic to cats are you, Sad Jack? If not, you’d better start worrying…

      • No, they’re all the result of the emotive tosh that passes for theology these days and pandering to human weakness to make everyone feel included. .

      • The Explorer

        Do you realise what happens if we add an ‘o’ in the middle of your name? Maybe we could point a certain Wisconsin dentist in your direction.

        • dannybhoy

          He’s gone into hioding…

      • Martin

        Linus

        Actually I’d say this covered abortion, and the mistreatment of the elderly:

        And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

        (Romans 1:28-32 [ESV])

        • Linus

          Seems to me like a catch-all condemnation designed to demonize anyone who won’t toe the Christian line.

          But in any case, it doesn’t cover abortion, or at least not early term abortion, which isn’t murder. You can’t murder something that isn’t independently alive. Amputating a hand or a foot that cannot survive detached from its host body is not murder. Aborting a non-viable foetus therefore cannot be murder.

          And even if it were, where does it say that filling the churches with animals is a just punishment for such an act, which is what Sad Jack seemed to be maintaining. How does the presence of animals in a church constitute punishment in any way, shape or form?

          Like I said, the only possible explanation is that God wants to render life unbearable for those who are allergic to animal hair, and everyone else can wait for their punishment in hell. So he must be planning to save only those who have a pet hair allergy, which it would seem does not include poor old Sad Jack. What a shock for him! All that effort and he’s still toast.

          I’m horribly allergic to cats, by the way. That’s not why I avoid church like the plague, however. But it looks as though I’m one of the elect, even though I’m just not interested. Spending eternity playing goody two-shoes with a bunch of Christians sounds like my definition of hell…

          • CliveM

            Can’t murder something that isn’t independently alive? So a person on life support, unable to live without the machinery of support cannot be murdered? I suppose the person will also be unaware of his situation? Will they feel pain? In many cases not. Wow almost like a foetus.

          • Martin

            Linus

            It’s more of a condemnation of all mankind, for we are all by nature so.

            Of course it covers abortion, for what human being is as vulnerable as in their first days of life in the womb? Murder isn’t confined to those who are independent and remember, the baby is entirely different genetically from its mother. And if it is alive in the womb it clearly is viable.

            What God gives as a punishment is a withdrawal of the restraint He normally applies, and that may well include inappropriate behaviour in the church.

  • Shadrach Fire

    Genesis 9;2 And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.

    God gave man control over the animals, but that is only when his other commandments are observed re cruelty and care. A sparrow does not fall to the ground without the father knowing.

    Maybe it’s because I am older now but I now think that animals should not be killed for the fun of it. My business uses lots of animal skins for covering the frames of mirrors and furniture. They include Python, sea snake, Eel skin, Shagreen, Ostrich and lots a cow hides with different prints on them. I have no issue with this just as I wear leather shoes. The animals are all farmed and killed in an appropriate manner. (many people say killed humanely but I don’t think that’s an appropriate way of describing it).

    Opponents of Fox hunting say that its killing as a sport but I say no. Fox hunting derives from and still is a valid way of culling the Fox population which is now way out of control and urbanised.

    I used to understand why big game hunting was popular in the Colonial days when there was plenty of game but now, some species are in danger and more effort is needed in controlling the poaching.

  • Phil R

    I don’t know how long it takes to breed Lions but 50k each seems good value.

    It seems Zimbabwe needs more not less of this sort of income.

  • Darach Conneely

    Elephants are endangered, but so are lions, there are just 20,000 left in the wild and there are worries lions may be extinct by 2050. Yet 600 are killed every year by big game hunters, mainly Americans. The difference between elephant poachers and big game hunters is that poachers face armed game wardens trying to stop them and international efforts to stop the trade in ivory. The poachers are also less amenable to being shamed in the media and on the internet, than rich Americans just wanting to hang trophies on the wall. The dentist stood out among them because he not only shot Cecil who was a beloved national icon in Zimbabwe, he also (allegedly) bribed a game warden to lure Cecil out of the reserve where he was protected and onto farm land where Palmer had a permit to kill a lion. If Cecil was an iconic symbol for Zimbabwe, Palmer has made himself a symbol too. Big Game Hunting of endangered species is despicable.

    • avi barzel

      Vide “tiger’s” post above on the economics of big game hunts and how they benefit endangered species. Reality always beats rhetoric.

      • scottspeig

        What would you say to a system of breeding lions for the use in hunting?

        • avi barzel

          Personally, I wouldn’t engage in sport hunting, or any hunting, due to religious prohibitions. You are asking me to speculate on an animal that’s notoriously difficult to breed in captivity, though. But in principle, I wouldn’t be opposed to it as a supplementary measure in places where sport hunting already takes place and if it improves the species stock and benefits a broad range of people. So, padding up game reserves in Africa, yes, private shooting ranges in North American malls, no.

      • Darach Conneely

        I love your faith in market forces, but poaching is driven my market forces too. The huge immediate gains by the unscrupulous few tend to outweigh long term small returns for many. There is no sign that local opposition is having any impact on the organised heavily armed gangs of elephant and rhino poachers. Remember the illegal drug trade is driven by market forces too. Lions are being driven to extinction. Photo safaris are sustainable and could continue contributing to the local economies long term, if the lions aren’t hunted to extinction for short term massive gain of a few, which is what is going on now. The point of no return will be passed long before the Safari parks run out of the last few moth eaten lions to fly the tourist over in a hot air balloon, or for game wardens to coax off the reserve for massive bribes. The point of now return is when there isn’t a large enough breeding population to give lions the genetic diversity they need to survive. Too few lions and inbreeding will cause the population to crash by itself.

        • avi barzel

          Poaching is not licensed hunting, the latter which contributes to serious poaching countermeasures because poachers are destroying valuable commodities without restraint and are not contributing to the reserve economy and conservation costs. Licensed and managed hunting is not the problem or the threat; shrinking habitats, insufficient funds for conservation activities and poaching are, and sight-seeing safaris and Western do-gooders do not generate the kind of money big game hunts can at 50 G a shot; this is why it’s still done.

    • CliveM

      Hadn’t realised it was that few now. But yes good post.

  • carl jacobs

    If you are going to kill something, you should have a good reason – to remove a threat or provide food. You shouldn’t kill something just because you want a trophy. Killing for the sake of killing is not good stewardship.

    • scottspeig

      Surely that depends.

      I imagine the majority of pheasant shooting is done for the sport rather than for food. The fact that you can eat it afterwards is a bonus.

      The problem with this scenario is that the lion wasn’t bred for the sport, rather, it was left as a mating partner.

      • carl jacobs

        No, I don’t think it does depend. There should be no sport in killing something for the sake of killing it. Eating a pheasant is not a bonus. It has to be the point. There could be other practical reason – threat, population management. But not just to kill. If you want legitimate sport, then shoot an inert lifeless object like trap, or skeet. Or journalists.*

        * Just kidding. Sort of.

  • Sam

    Dudes

    How many human beings are being killed in Africa right now by civil war, ethnic cleansing and starvation. Yet we are debating and mourning the killing of one lion. Okay it was WRONG to do so. But don’t we need a sense of scale /perspective viz human suffering?

    PS as a mark of respect I’m naming my recently purchased goldfish “Cecil”.

    • DanJ0

      All goldfish are named “Bob”.

      • The Explorer

        The one in the film ‘Pinocchio’ isn’t.

      • Sam

        Dude

        I think Cecil the goldfish needs a companion, so he shall be known as bob.

        • Hi Sam

          Sarah has got a lion haired lop rabbit for my birthday, so we could call him Cecil?

    • carl jacobs

      You are correct, Sam, in what you say. But two things.

      1. The fact that worse things are happening does not mean this subject is unworthy of comment in its own right.

      2. Your reaction was triggered by the perception that the death of a lion in Africa seems to diminish life in the West more than the death of a man in Africa. People say “You killed a lion. There might not be lions in the future. That affects me because I will lose the ability to interact with a lion. I will be deprived.” But the death of the marginal man affects them not at all. It’s a callous reaction because it’s a selfish reaction.

      Consider the logic. Man has no more intrinsic value than a lion. The marginal man has no use value to me. The marginal lion does have use value to me. The death of which would thus offend me more?

      • Sam

        Carl

        I agree with both points ….well point 1 and point 2 yes if you are dispassionately analysing the western world, rather than applauding it.

    • WanderingTattler

      People can be concerned about more than one thing. The issue with the lion is that animals do not have the mobility to pick up and move to a safer place, do not have guns, do not have control over their environments, and do not live very long lives.

      Yes, there is a lot of human suffering – a lot of it thanks to overpopulation. Overpopulation is hurting both human populations and wildlife.

      In the last 40 years, 50% of wildlife has disappeared, and 70% of birdlife.

      In the last 40 years, the human population has doubled.

      Who is hurting the most? Animals or humans?

      Who has the wherewithal to make changes? Animals or humans?

      Humans – can stop the destruction of wildlife. Humans can stop the overpopulation of the planet.

      Hence, the uproar over an animal that is powerless.

      • Sam

        Dude

        To me I cannot put equivalence between a human life & animal life.*

        I believe humans should conserve the environment and treat animals humanely,but in the grand scheme of life, I’d be more worried about the people of Africa. It is not about population size. It is about good governance and if Africa were to prosper , then the African people would be able to look after their environment and beautiful continent.

        When people aren’t starving or suffering and their concerns are elevated to higher matters than mere survival, then there will be a greater move to protect the environment and lenny the lion or Jenny the parrot will also be better off.

        In this thread, we are discussing a lion that was killed because of sport or self gratification . So as I say it’s wrong to do that. But it is clear to me that I come to this conclusion being in the luxury of a peaceful first world country .

        * e.g. in sarky’s scenario below, if it were a choice between a child’s life and shooting (hopefully in reality a zoo would use tranquilizer darts) a pair of lions , then the lions get it. But anyways it won’t be too long before we use cloning or whatever to keep endangered animals existing.

        • WanderingTattler

          There are people starving in this country, and it is up to other people to do something about it.

  • I have seen Facebook posts wishing the lion killer to Hell. Over reaction?

    • David

      The triumph of emotion over both Reason and Faith, is an indicator of civilisational decline.

    • Ivan M

      Even here in Singapore, I’ve heard of people who (euphemistically) wish to have the guy’s head chopped off.

      • Anton

        And mounted on somebody’s wall?

  • tiger

    There needs to be a perspective here. Lets start with “Cecil”. Firstly he is given a name to humanise him, not that he would know. How long before “Cecil” is overthrown by younger aggressive males and mauled so badly that he suffers a fairly tragic death in animal lover terms. That’s nature and its a fact of life.
    Big game survival is precarious with massive population growth in Africa (doubles every 10 years) and their habitat is declining rapidly. The Safari business in Zimbabwe is one of h the few lucrative businesses left whereby local men and women can earn a living out of professional hunting.
    If these species are to survive then it requires them to be commoditised whereby they become a resource. Once their survival becomes part of the economic survival of local communities then these local people will see them as they see their own herds of cattle.
    Once this relationship is established the local people will become the protectors of these species and a lot of the poaching of big game species will stop. The local populations know their territory and the people living there and they will put an end to the illegal trade in ivory and rhino horn because they will derive more benefit from hunting and game viewing.
    Lastly the hunting of big game with a crossbow is an extremely dangerous activity and requires huge skill in both stalking killing. My late brother-in-law was a game conservationist in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Botswana and ended his career supervising professional hunting in both South Africa and Botswana. Part of the conditions for issuing permits for trophy hunting was a requirement that the specimen could only be shot from a defined range with given equipment to ensure a humane kill. The crossbow was very close range and very dangerous.

    • WanderingTattler

      He was not given a name to humanize him. He was given a name by the Oxford university group who were tracking him. They are tracking 500 other lions, and one of the easiest ways to remember the lions is to give them names. This is not uncommon in wildlife conservation of any species. Jane Goodall gave her chimps names.

      Secondly, there is more money to be made from tourism than hunting. Where did Palmer’s money go? To lion conservation? Nope. To the pockets of the people he hired.

      About 600 lions were trophy-shot last year – about 2% of the remaining population of lions. That is unsustainable. The best means of earning money for wildlife protection is via tourism – bush walks, guided tours, self-driving tours, etc in game parks and private reserves.

      Thankfully, this incident has shone a very bright light on the problem – and from the international reaction, hopefully there will be enough interest for something to happen, and investment to occur. The Oxford group has already received $150,000 in donations since the Jimmy Kimmel video.

      • tiger

        So Oxford (read lefty) name the animal and that’s not humanising the beast. Why not use a number. I believe he was tagged and that is all there needs to be.
        How many cubs did “Cecil” “murder” when he took over this pride.
        The reality is that these operations employ many local people with spin off into a wider sphere. If you don’t integrate the survival of these big game species with the survival of the people that live there, there will be no hope.
        You approach this from a Western mindset which make this a soft cuddly story about this creature. The reality is that life is very harsh for both these animals and the people there. Zimbabwe is now one of the poorest countries on the planet.
        Notice how our lefty media has never mentioned the fact that Mugabe had an elephant slaughtered as the main item on the menu for his birthday bash recently and the coup de grass for that event was a male lion. Wonder why that was.
        Finally investment; Billions of $US have been poured into Africa and only people like Mugabe have benefited and now they are asking you to write off this debt. Throwing money at this has not worked and is never going to work.
        This lion is part of the salvation of his own species.

        • WanderingTattler

          You missed the point. The intent of the naming was not to humanize, but to recognize. Humans find names easier to remember than numbers. And who are you to say that numbers should be used instead of names. You are making a rule where a rule in unnecessary.

          If you read Cecil’s history he did not murder any cubs. He did not take over a pride – he built one. And yes, lions killing cubs is a fact of nature, but there is a replacement mechanism that occurs as a result. The killed cubs are replaced by offspring of the new pride males. On the other hand, the killing of lions by humans can devastate an entire group of lions, forcing cubs to be killed where that would not have happened if they had been allowed to reach adulthood.

          I did not make any comments or remarks about the state of Zimbabwe or Mugabe’s rule or money invested. Btw, I once live in the town of Musina and have traveled to all of the countries in southern Africa and am aware of what is going on.

          Despite the deplorable conditions in that country, the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Authority and the Oxford group are doing sterling work in that country for wildlife. And their efforts should not be annihilated/neutralized by the criticism of their use of names instead of numbers to recognize the creatures they are looking after. That really is a petty point.

          As for the local population contributing to the welfare of animals, there is a group, Peace Parks, doing outstanding work in this arena in Africa, where community development is the most important part of the preservation of animals. And this is going on despite Mugabe and his band of crooks.

          One of the Peace Park areas is the Greater Mapungubwe TFCA, which encompasses areas in Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa – allowing both people and game to move freely across borders.

          “Most of the TFCAs include extensive community development, as you will see in the projects linked to the Community Development Programme on the menu on the left.”
          http://www.peaceparks.org/story.php?pid=100&mid=24

        • WanderingTattler

          One more thing – we are talking about a western mindset man who went over to a country he knew nothing about and harmed wildlife just in order to bring back a trophy to hang in his home. You are criticizing the western mindset for finding this reprehensible – when it was a western mindset that did this damage. How hypocritical.

          If you type “Mugabe elephant slaughtered” into google, you will find that many “lefty” media did indeed report on that event. So your claim is basically a lie. And why are you making this a “lefty” issue – when people from both sides of the aisle across the planet have found this act reprehensible.

          And as for the “western mindset” – there are few people know Africa as well as Jane Goodall and who has actually walked the talk and taken action to educate and conserve – and she found this action by an ignorant western mindset buffoon, reprehensible.

          I don’t know what points you are trying to make, but they seem more like gobbledygook.

  • The Explorer

    In the whipping up of popular frenzy, the late Cecil has been called the world’s most famous lion and the world’s best-loved lion.

    He may have been, but I must confess that I’d never heard of him until somebody shot him.

  • grandpa1940

    The Zimbabwean game hunter and his tracker have been arrested on charges of poaching, and Vegetarians Worldwide are seeking to have the dentist arraigned on charges of assisting King Herod and the slaughter of the Innocents. (well, yes; I exaggerate, but only by a small amount).

    Has anyone stepped back, metaphorically speaking, and gazed at this ludicrous non-story, and checked out the enormous hypocrisy behind this explosion of fake anger and total lunacy. What has actually happened? We, as Homo Sapiens, are literally at the head of the global food chain, and we kill literally millions of animals, birds and fish every single day so that we might eat, and prosper, and survive. We are a predator species, and whilst accepting that an American dentist was not hunting for food, we must accept that he was following in the footsteps of our ancestors going back to the dim mists of time.

    We hunt, we kill; even at second-, third- or even fourth-hand, because when we visit a supermarket, or a corner store to buy readily available protein in the shape of chicken, or beef, or pork; we automatically must accept that some animal or other species has been killed to provide that protein, so that we might survive. Vegetarians may state that they live perfectly well without the sacrifice of a living thing, and they have as much right to that belief as anyone else; but it is not a majority viewpoint. Hunters kill and claim their trophies every day, all over Africa, excepting of course where the locals are too busy killing each other; South Africa operates legal trophy hunting as do many other countries, so what is the problem?

    Why the fury, the snot and the anger? We accept, in silence, the bloody ritual slaughter within British slaughterhouses which is dictated by the Muslim Halal and the Jewish Kosher rituals, so why the vicious headlines about the death of one old lion?

    • WanderingTattler

      You really don’t get it.

    • avi barzel

      With you on almost everything, Grandpa, except on the kosher and halal slaughter. When compared with objective metrics, the distress and pain levels and error occurences, are comparable to stunning. The really intense suffering, measured objectively in terms of duration, pain and distress levels, occurs in the confinement, transport, handling and immobilization of the animal prior to the slaughter.

      There are hundreds of horror reports and video clips about stunning and no one mentions them for some reason. The difference between the traditional slaughter with the knife by a skilled slaughterer as with halal and shehita, and stunning and bolts is that stunning can be done by any minimum wage cretin…often very badly…and that the public was sold on the idea that it’s more humane. The reality is that in many cases, the stunning has to be repeated a few times and up to 10% the “stunned” animals wake up in the processing room, out of sight, as they are being mechanically skinned and eviscerated. There are improvements to the handling and slaughter methodology being introduced, but best to go vegan if this stuff bothers anyone, because there is no perfect method with industrial slaughter.

      • Anton

        Indeed. I tend to think that those who wish to eat meat should occasionally have to slaughter it themselves. I do and would, by the way, but it would help a lot of Christians and secular Jews today to understand the biblical notion of sacrifice better.

        • avi barzel

          Secular and liberal Jews (Reconstructionist, Reform, Conservative) do not include the study of sacrifices, which include sh’hita/kosher slaughter and the complex rules of which sacrifices are for what (most are not animal sacrifices) and who gets what portions as part of their education as we in the Orthodox stream do.

          There are two reasons; until the creation of Israel, they rejected the longing for and the possibility of a Jewish state in the land of Israel and the need for the rebuilding of the Temple. Today, most seculars and liberals accept the reality of Israel, but reject any attempts to reinstitue the Temple and with it, the courts and systems of governance and laws. But even in Orthodoxy there are serious challenges from legitimate sages, (Maimonides, Abrabanel, Rabbi Kook) to the notion that animal sacrifices would or should be reinstituted should the Temple be rebuild.

          • Anton

            I don’t advocate it, although for completely different reasons from the Orthodox. I have often thought that there must be something of God’s will in the extraordinary handing back of Temple Mount to local Muslims for daily running after the 1967 capture of Jerusalem.

          • avi barzel

            It was more of the will of a secular government and Moshe Dayan, who thought it would be a nice gesture which would appreciated by Jordan and the Muslim world.

  • Inspector General

    Je suis Cecil

    • avi barzel

      BWAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!

      • Inspector General

        A lot of thought went into that bullshit popularist with-it comment, and all you can do is laugh…

        Good man!

        • Best comment on the thread. Shame it came so late. No more to be said really.

    • Anton

      Brilliant

    • Anton

      Thereby hangs a tail

      • Inspector General

        Might be an idea to leave it to the Inspector to do the jokes Anton…

        • Anton

          It’s a free country! Ask David Cameron.

  • len

    Not only was this dentist an arsehole but a totally incompetent areshole who only managed to injure the Lion after enticing Cecil out of the Reserve….so the lion spent 40 hrs in agony before being put down….

    One Lion perhaps but this act highlights the senseless slaughter on a much higher scale…..

  • Turdson Minor

    Sir,
    Your readers may care to know that, leaving aside the ethics or otherwise of shooting a lion with a crossbow, the land on which the killing took place had been legally owned by a white farmer (the “new” and illegal owner rejoices in the name of “Honesty” – yes really).
    In addition the area in question had been where mass killings took place by Mugabe’s murderous regime just after the independence generously bestowed by the British Government in the early 1980’s. The Catholic Justice & Peace Organisation estimated approximately 20,000 killed. Mourn the lion by all means but do not forget the mass graves.

  • Maheswar Deka

    Cecil’ (the lion) untimely death has broken our heart.. This world is for everyone.Like human beings, animals or birds have a right to live without getting disturbed. RIP CECIL