To the Editor,
Recently a dentist in the U.S. has earned the wrath of a global public over his trophy killing of Cecil the lion, a collared member of an endangered species. While it seems obvious that mass public shaming is appropriate, this outpouring of anger reveals a disturbing truth about our relationship with non-human animals.
Lions don’t know their species is endangered. They don’t know that humans value their attributes more than they value numerous other species. Cecil did not know he was named ‘Cecil.’
This feeling of rage toward the hunter should be accompanied by sober reflection. Before joining the chorus of righteous chants, consider your own behaviour. If you eat at fast-food restaurants, you fund factory farming, which causes prolonged suffering of hundreds of millions of sentient beings every year. If you buy cosmetics from companies that test their products on animals, you support extreme cruelty. If you are not bothered to publicly oppose vivisection, you sanction unthinkable torture of millions of sentient beings.
All of these victims of human enterprise are unaware that their species is not endangered, or that their value to human beings is extremely different to Cecil. They know what Cecil knew, suffering at the hands of powerful, two-legged creatures.