If I’m Lion I’m Dyin’Opinion
Welp. Here we go again.
Remember Cecil the Lion? The one that was killed a couple of years ago by a Minnesota dentist named Walter Palmer? The one that caused pretty much every animal rights activist, social justice warrior, and whining bedwetter in the world to get their socks in a wad, even though the hunt was entirely legal and ethical? Remember that Cecil?
Well, replace Palmer’s name with ‘Richard Cooke,’ and replace Cecil’s name with ‘Xanda,’ and you have pretty much the same story for 2017. Time to cue the violins, alert the bunny huggers, and fire up the microwave popcorn. The outrage over Xanda’s death is liable to be even more entertaining than what resulted from Cecil’s demise.
Now, to begin with, let me point out that Cooke killed Xanda legally, outside Hwange National Park, and immediately turned in the tracking collar he wore. Andrew Loveridge, who works for the Dept. of Zoology and Oxford University, told the Telegraph that Richard Cooke is ‘one of the good guys,’ meaning he’s ethical and honest about his hunting, and follows all game laws and regulations. Of course, that won’t save him from the hate of those who think hunting is bad for animals, no matter what. Cooke will be lucky if he doesn’t get roasted.
Even Daily Wire, Ben Shapiro’s baby, has jumped on the meat wagon. Shapiro is not always right, but he makes a valiant effort to offer factual news, usually. He ran a story about the Xanda hunt under the headline ‘Cecil The Lion’s Son Killed By Trophy Hunters In Zimbabwe.’ Which is, I hasten to point out, a pretty misleading header, and not quite accurate, in the sense that it’s wrong.
For one thing, Xanda wasn’t killed by ‘trophy hunters.’ The lion was killed by one trophy hunter, a fellow named Richard Cooke. The difference is slight, but the plural seems to be an effort to blame all hunters for the acts of one guy. And to most non-hunters, there isn’t any difference between hunters and trophy hunters, nor is there any difference between either of those groups and poachers. We’re all Bad People because we hunt.
The other problem with the headline, and by far the greater faux pas, is the fact that Xanda the Lion is being referred to as Cecil’s ‘son.’ This is pretty ridiculous, especially coming from Daily Wire. A lot of liberal and anti-hunting sites are calling Xanda Cecil’s son, but you’d think a group like Daily Wire might get it right. Not so much.
Animals do not have sons and daughters. Human children are called sons or daughters, depending on which sex they are. Male children are sons, female children are daughters, and those born to extremely confused liberal parents are called something else, I guess. But animals don’t have children, ever. Children are human.
The reference to Xanda as Cecil’s son is anthropomorphism, which is the act of ascribing human characteristics to non-human entities. Neil Diamond used quasi-anthropomorphism in his song, ‘I am, I said,’ when he pointed out that no one heard at all, not even the chair.’ As if a chair could hear. A chair can’t hear any more than a lion can sire a child. And for the record, the only good Neil Diamond song is ‘You’re So Sweet.’ Because of the horseflies.
The goal, obviously, is to cause readers to think of Xanda, and all lion cubs, as human. Never mind that Xanda was hunted and harvested legally, never mind that Cooke obeyed all applicable game laws, never mind that Xanda was over six years old, and had not been under Cecil’s dubious protection for years. The antis are trying to depict Xanda as a poor, defenseless human child, murdered in cold blood by heartless animal haters, otherwise known as hunters.
And Cecil’s protection was indeed dubious. Most animals protect their young, pretty much, most of the time. But not always. Many animals commit fratricide, usually right after birth, to ensure they will get more food. The practice is common among spotted hyenas, golden eagles, and many other birds and insects. It’s part of the whole ‘survival of the fittest’ thing.
Infanticide is also pretty common in the animal kingdom, and one of the most habitual perpetrators is the African lion. Cecil. Mr. Popular. And, of course, his ‘son’ Xanda.
When a male lion defeats the alpha in his pride, he kills all the cubs sired by the previous leader. This causes the females to go into estrus quicker. It also ensures the females will have more time for hunting, which is almost entirely a female job, with lions. And when the females bring in scant food, because of lean years or fast gazelles or whatever, the males still eat first, as always, and sometimes there isn’t any left over for the cubs. So they starve. Tough noogies.
The anti-hunters want us to think of lions as people, as a mom and a dad and their children, living happily ever after in utopian bliss, until the evil hunter comes along bringing murder and mayhem into paradise. It’s a pretty picture, but it ain’t so.
Lions are not people. But then, I wonder about some people . . .
Kendal Hemphill is an outdoor humor columnist and minister and trophy hunter without much to show in the way of trophies. Write to him at [email protected]