Big, Brave Lion Killer

Lion Killer

Dear Melissa,

How brave you must be to kill such a large and unsuspecting lion from a distance, very well done. As you pointed out in your victorious tweet, he was indeed rather beautiful. Of course, I am sure that killing such a magnificent creature purely for sport isn’t at all damaging to a species that has suffered a 30–50% decline per 20 years in the late half of the 20th century, so just in case you started worrying about the bad press you’ve been receiving, I wouldn’t bother. Get ’em before they’re gone, right? I heard that the Malabar large-spotted civet (another big cat) has a mature population of less than 250: that would be a pretty sweet pelt to get on your wall, so you better get on over to India before it’s too late.

Best of luck killing rare and beautiful creatures for sport.

Jamie

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If you recently saw the picture of herself (with a dead lion) that Melissa Bachman posted on Twitter and were unpleasantly surprised by it, you are not alone. Hundreds of thousands of people have been expressing their outrage. What I also realised, was that this was not a one off event. On Twitter Melissa defines herself by saying, “I’ve been an avid hunter my entire life & now i’ve turned my passion into a career as a TV producer, host and writer. I’m a hardcore hunter doing what I love!” As she is a professional writer, I would have thought she would have least remembered to capitalise the ‘i’ on her public profile.

This post is not intended to support the recent torrent of abuse that Melissa has received: I do not condone such a thing. I have a very negative opinion of what it is that Melissa does, but sending hate mail does not make the world a better place. Instead, we can better educate one another to offer a sustainable future. Before further comment, I will show you a few top picks of Melissa’s last few months of big game hunting that I was browsing through earlier. All of these come from her Twitter feed.

Alligator kill Bear kill Killing with Mum Nyala kill Potential kill

When I first saw Melissa’s lion picture, I thought that it was someone ‘trolling.’ To troll means to submit a deliberately provocative posting to an online message board with the aim of inciting an angry response. In other words, I thought that the picture was fake, intended only to generate a response and a viral internet post. Sadly this was not the case.

I love spending time exploring the world and have a great fondness of nature. Seeing images and comments such as the ones above, troubles me. How can people do such things? Equally however, it troubles me to walk into a supermarket and see meat for sale. I would never suggest that other people should be vegetarians because I think that we must all live a life that is true to ourselves, but I have not eaten meat for nineteen years because it would not sit true with my conscience. Also, I would not like meat lovers to tell me how wrong I am to not eat meat, so I won’t do the opposite to them. Invariably, I am told multiple times a day that I am rather ridiculous to not eat meat. My personal favourite responses upon discovering that I am vegetarian are, “Where I’m from, we say save the trees and eat the vegetarians,” and “Are you gay?”

Many people are angry about the lion picture. Very angry. But what does that anger achieve? Anger is a destructive and negative emotion. Rather than getting angry and sending unpleasant messages, why don’t we get angry enough to be the change in the world that we want to see? We could do something, however tiny, to make a positive change.

Take cigarette butts for example. Chucking a cigarette butt surely isn’t a problem because it’s so small, correct? A lot of people feel like this and happily discard their cigarette butts wherever they are. Because there are so many of us on this planet, research suggests that nearly eight hundred million (800,000,000) kilograms of cigarette butts are added to lakes, oceans, and beaches every year. I use this example only to demonstrate how powerful (for better or worse) we can be when we all do something together.

The world is changing, that is without question. One interesting (and valid) opinion about the change is that the world has been changing for millions of years, why fight the change? We can all live our lives like normal and move to the mountains when the seas rise.

Every time I see people respecting the world in whatever way, it gives me a little smile inside. We do not have to try to make the world a better place, but surely, we could all do something (however tiny) to not make it worse.

So rather than being destructive, get angry enough to be the change in the world that you want to see.

7 Comments

  • Legal and well thought out hunting can positively impact declining animal populations by making those very same animals valuable to natives. Here are a few quotes that I hope will spark curiosity into reading the full article at:

    http://townhall.com/tipsheet/katiepavlich/2013/11/18/ignorant-antihunters-freak-out-over-woman-who-legally-killed-a-lion-n1748813

    Please forgive the mis-spelling or grammar issues. I don’t think the groups first language is English.

    “We are not apologising for facilitating the hunt. As for all the negative commentary towards us, please consider how much you have contributed to conservation in the past 5 years. If you are not a game farmer and struggling with dying starving animals, poaching and no fences in place to protect your animals and crop, please refrain from making negative degoratory comments. It is so easy to judge if you are staying in cities and towns, buying your meat at ‘woolies’ and going to game reserves maybe once a year.

    It is a fact, that due to the hunting industry and money generated out of this industry, there are more animals in South Africa than 100 years ago.”

    “But perhaps hunting’s greatest success was encouraging the white rhinoceros population to increase by more than 10 times since hunting of the animals began in 1968, when only 1800 were left in SA. By 2010, there were 18,800.”

    • Hunting can have a positive effect on declining animal populations. My main issue here, was that people were getting very angry about something which was not well researched and instead, should turn that anger into something positive. On the surface, a hunter posing over a dead lion is quite a shocking image, but there is more than meets the eye and people should delve further into it. What surprises me most however, is that this photo creates so much anger, yet most people are happy to consume animals as long as someone else does the killing and the creatures that they are consuming are not featured in Disney movies. A recent petition on change dot org received around half a million signatures wishing to ban Melissa from South Africa. This, I believe, is not the correct course of action. She is not single handedly responsible for the destruction of lions and there are much more productive things that people could do with their time that focus negativity on this one individual.

    • As I understand it, they have lions bred for hunting, then you pay to shoot them. It brings up an interesting point about hunting in general: is it OK to shoot deer for example and not lions? Or is everything equal? As someone who is against hunting and doesn’t eat meat, it seems a waste of life to hunt for sport or to eat meat when you don’t need it to survive (I may be a little sidetracked here).

  • Most of the time I feel like even if I do not agree with someone I can understand why they might feel as they do. The only exception to that for me is hunters who pose proudly for pictures standing over the beautiful animals whose lives they just took.

    I could never be proud of talking away the life of something, let alone such beautiful wild creatures. I read somewhere that maybe, despite all the destruction humans have caused, we were put here to save the earth – I have a hard time believing that when I see such cruel, unjustified, selfish and arrogant actions.

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