If you haven’t seen the Facebook posts about Cecil, the 13 year-old lion allegedly killed by a dentist from the United States, either you’re lucky enough to not be entrenched in social media, or you haven’t been looking.
I saw two trends. The first was a broad sharing of the posts about this lion’s tragic death by an American trophy hunter – one with a history of illegal hunting activity. The second wave of posts came from people who couldn’t believe that people would care so much about a lion and care so little about so many of the other social issues that haunt our world. As an example, the thousands of babies that are aborted each year.
I have seen several of these status posts comparing the lion to aborted babies. I really wanted to reply, but if I’ve learned one thing over the past few years, it’s that a Facebook discussion rarely changes any person’s opinion on a topic. Plus, I just couldn’t find the right words to explain it in a way that sounded compassionate.
I started by typing, “It’s different because the lion is innocent and unable to protect himself.” And I stopped. Unborn babies are also innocent and unable to protect themselves.
The truth is, it’s very difficult for me to explain why I feel so compassionately for a 13 year old lion. If you’re a loyal reader, you know my passion in life is advocacy for babies and children. But my heart aches for this lion too. And sometimes it’s far easier to feel compassion for an animal when injustices against humans and babies occur so regularly that we have perhaps become desensitized to the issue, unless it involves a wildly sensational act.
However, the two topics do not have to be mutually exclusive. You can care about both issues. Right now, the lion just happens to take center stage. And more importantly, it’s an easy solution. Punish the act, enforce the laws. Easy slam dunk. The other issues are so massive and so much more difficult to deal with.
But I feel there IS another important distinction between the two. Babies (and people) are not an endangered species. And abortion is sadly commonplace, but more importantly – legal. While I don’t understand the choices every woman makes, I do support the right to make a choice.
As an example of sensationalism:
First off, people do care and it’s being investigated.
A well funded group established for the purpose of damaging Planned Parenthood’s mission and services has promoted a heavily edited, secretly recorded videotape that falsely portrays Planned Parenthood’s participation in tissue donation programs that support lifesaving scientific research. Similar false accusations have been put forth by opponents of abortion services for decades. These groups have been widely discredited and their claims fall apart on closer examination, just as they do in this case.
While these allegations are disturbing and should be investigated, we do know for certain that Poaching is illegal. This lion was a major part of his environment, and while it is a single loss, it is a tremendous loss to his herd and to the overall lion population. In recent decades, we’ve lost more than 80-90% of the world’s lion population due to massive habitat loss, disease, trophy hunters and the exotic animal trade. Most lions killed as trophies end up in the United States. When it comes to a hunter with a gun, a lion is completely defenseless.
Reports say Cecil was lured off Hwange National Park, baited with an animal carcass, shot with a bow and arrow, and then tracked for nearly two days before finally being killed with a gun. The killers also tried to destroy the GPS tag on Cecil which was another sign they were doing something especially immoral.
Babies have no voice to defend themselves, but neither do animals. We have a responsibility to protect them too.
If you want to do something to help, there is a Change.Org petition to bring #JusticeForCecil and ensure poachers are held accountable (as well as others in this process). It only takes two seconds to sign.
Lose the Cape with us!