In defence of the trophy hunt

There’s nothing wrong with a properly managed trophy hunt—at least, nothing worse than your hamburger

In this undated photo provided by the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Cecil the lion rests in Hwange National Park, in Hwange, Zimbabwe. (Andy Loveridge/Wildlife Conservation Research Unit via AP)

In this undated photo provided by the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Cecil the lion rests in Hwange National Park, in Hwange, Zimbabwe. (Andy Loveridge/Wildlife Conservation Research Unit via AP)

Let’s imagine that “Cecil,” the lion killed by American dentist Walter Palmer, had avoided that fate and was still enthralling tourists in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park. He would live, at most, another two or three years. At 13 years of age, he was already at the end of a normal lifespan for a lion in the wild. Sooner rather than later, he would die—of starvation, or disease, an attack by a rival lion, or perhaps hyenas. Lions outside zoos don’t die peacefully due to old age.

Instead, he was wounded by one of Palmer’s arrows, ran, suffered for 40 hours and was finally found and shot dead. Not a good way to go. And if Palmer wasn’t confident of a clean kill, he shouldn’t have taken the shot. But, all in all, not a bad life for the big cat. He lived a long time, sired a bunch of cubs and died free. Millions of the domesticated animals we consume suffer worse fates. Most of us don’t care, or choose not to think about it because it’s easier that way.

Allegations that Cecil was killed illegally—poached—are genuinely disturbing. And if it is proven that Palmer knowingly did so, he should be punished and deserves public scorn—though not the threats he’s now facing.

But this isn’t what’s fuelling the social media mob baying for Palmer’s blood. For them, it is the act of hunting itself, or, at least, hunting an animal that tourists like to photograph.

Artist Mark Balma paints a mural of Cecil, a well-known lion killed by Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer during a guided bow hunting trip in Zimbabwe, as part of a silent protest outside Palmer's office in Bloomington, Minn., Wednesday, July 29, 2015. Palmer said that he had no idea the lion he killed was protected and that he relied on the expertise of his local guides to ensure the hunt was legal. (Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT

Artist Mark Balma paints a mural of Cecil, a well-known lion killed by Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer during a guided bow hunting trip in Zimbabwe, as part of a silent protest outside Palmer’s office in Bloomington, Minn., Wednesday, July 29, 2015. Palmer said that he had no idea the lion he killed was protected and that he relied on the expertise of his local guides to ensure the hunt was legal. (Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT

Cecil, like all lions, was magnificent to behold. But let us acknowledge that is a subjective appraisal. He was less intelligent than the pigs we raise in cramped factory farms and kill in industrial slaughterhouses. He was a rare animal, but not an endangered one. There are more than 30,000 lions in Africa. He had a black mane and was said to be friendly—a clear case of anthropomorphism, which likely means he had simply grown used to safari jeeps.

So why the outrage over his death? Much has to do with how we perceive lions. They are evocative and iconic, which is why they have adorned heraldry for millennia. Much also has to do with why he was killed: for the perceived sport in it, and for the “trophy” pelt and head.

I have some sympathy for the emotions at play here. I hunt, usually without success, for meat. I’m not interested in shooting something I can’t eat. But I also have coyote fur on my parka, and someone trapped or shot the animal that provided it. I think hunting is a more ethical way to obtain meat than shopping for it. But the fact is, I don’t need venison in my freezer or coyote fur on my coat any more than you needed the bacon sandwich you had for lunch, or Palmer needs Cecil’s head on his wall.

Related: Q&A: Sonia Faruqi on a better future for farming

All of us, except the most careful vegans, are responsible for the killing of animals to satisfy our wants. (Sorry, vegetarians; you’re not off the hook. What do you think happens to male dairy calves or chickens?) Yet it seems perfectly understandable, even noble, when late-night television host Jimmy Kimmel breaks down while discussing Cecil’s death. Someone crying in grief over a hamburger would invite suspicions about his mental stability.

There are practicalities about trophy hunting that also must be considered—especially by those most concerned about the long-term welfare of lions and other sought-after game animals. Hunting provides a financial incentive to protect habitat that might otherwise succumb to farming, cattle grazing, forestry and human sprawl.

Sustainable and properly managed trophy hunts can also be lucrative for local communities, providing employment, an alternative to poaching and the means to fund conservation efforts. So can wildlife-watching safaris, but not all land is suitable for that sort of tourism. According to a 2007 paper by Peter Lindsey, a Zimbabwean academic, trophy-hunting outfitters are custodians of at least 1.4 million sq. km of sub-Saharan Africa, far more than land given over to national parks in countries where hunting is allowed.

Another wrinkle in the story of trophy hunting in Africa, and especially in South Africa, is that a lot of it takes place on private game farms. The animals are bred, fed and kept in a fenced enclosure until a client shoots them. Not my cup of tea, but, from a conservation perspective, probably not such a bad idea.

It’s also worth noting that trophy hunting is hardly limited to Africa. Canadian outfitters, many working with Inuit communities in the Arctic, provide a wide range of services. God help a client who bags a polar bear someone has named.


In defence of the trophy hunt

  1. a) Kimmel crying was silly.

    b) You’re stretcing it to chickens is also silly

    c) As I’ve said before….the power of the web is just now being realized…. so It will be overused and misused as well as being a ‘force for good’ for some time yet.

    • Maybe do some research on chickens and how they are treated! Also in an egg hatchery when chicks are born that are male they have no value in the egg laying industry and are either thrown into a grinder alive or thrown into a garbage bag to suffocate! Watch the film Turlock!

  2. This article can be easily distinguished in its honesty from the click-chasing “poor Palmer his life is over” crap The Spectator threw up in its blogs yesterday.

  3. It is a large stretch to equate rearing and killing domestic animals for food and luring and animal out of a game park, killing it for sport and leaving the carcass behind to rot after you lop off its head and destroy its GPS tracking collar. This isn’t really much like a lot of hunting either, where the practitioners spend time to track and ensure they have a clean shot at their prey and eat what they kill.

    The real issue isn’t even the hunting and killing of a tourist attraction in a game park for sport; the real issue is the neo-colonial attitude that allows wealthy people to go into an impoverished African nation run by a senile dictator, pretend that there is some rule of law that legitimizes what they are doing and buy up whatever local resource they feel like. In a country where people earn less than thousand bucks a year, 50 thousand bucks is a pretty powerful incentive to get pretty well anything you want and I’m sure that fact wasn’t lost on Dr. Palmer. He can pretend he was surprised that this wasn’t all legal (whatever that might mean in Zimbabwe) but I’m not buying any of it.

    • Bravo. So much unspoken about the societal permissions and vast economic inequalities that permitted the whole thing.

      Make a profit. Look the other way.

    • Well said. We might add that Michael Petrou’s transparent rationalization of his own sense of self-entitlement doesn’t amount to a ‘defence’ of trophy hunting, or of Dr. Palmer. No judge would accept as a defence of unethical or illegal behaviour the fact that others commit similarly blameworthy acts.

      The allusion to the victim’s age is also purest sophistry, a mere accident of circumstance. If you drive drunk and reach your destination without killing anyone, that’s a happy accident too. Essentially, what you did is still wrong.

    • You said it better than I could. Everything about this incident is wrong and that dentist is just the front man. But coming from a supposed civilized country I, and hopefully North American’s as a whole, expect better. He should know better and he should be punished severely for this.

  4. Hunting an animal for food (as long as it isn’t endangered) I have no problem with. Hunting (or trapping or raising raising) an animal solely for its fur I have mixed feelings about. It seems, on the one hand, a bit barbaric, given we have other alternatives – but on the flip side, many of those alternatives aren’t all that environmentally friendly.

    But hunting solely for a trophy kill? Definitely opposed. Many such hunters are not overly worried about legalities, and often, the rarer the animal the better. Seems to me there’s somethingseriously lacking in someone who feels the need to take down such animals just for the boasting rights.

    • Keith,

      Something we actually agree upon. I hunt and fish, but only for animals you can actually use as table fare. In fact, I don’t even like the type of circus with animals, and I absolutely detest “Marineland” type water parks which keep intelligent marine mammals closed up in tiny spaces.

      As for the “game reserves”….I look at those types of outfits as a being similar to a farmer opening his property to some duffus from the city who can wander in and shoot his own cow. There is no “sport” in something like that.

      Animals: Eat em, keep one as a companion or friend….but always respect them; and make sure that those you hunt are in season, and you don’t cause any undue suffering.

    • Keith and James, you nailed it.

      This kind of article, written for the sole purpose of causing an emotional response (on both sides), by either over-simplifying the issue (let’s compare trophy hunting to farming) or missing the bigger picture (theoretically I’d love to be vegan, but it is a very difficult lifestyle to maintain in a healthy way (vegans, no disrespect here…opposite, but it is the truth…they have to be careful and organize their diets to ensure proper nutrition. No arguing that fact, and it is not one written to stir emotion) which is that the Zimbabwe government’s so-called laws regarding game hunting need some serious investigation.

      Yes, lions are iconic; tell that to Charlotte or Babe. Ridiculous argument. The way the animal died was definitely wrong, and yes, our farming ethics need to be revisited also. Who cares which animal is smarter? All life on Earth has a place in it. And yes, what about those poor polar bears? And the starving people in Africa? Let’s mention it all. Just to confuse things.
      Bottom line: people should be careful guardians of all life on Earth, only because we are in control of it (for the most part). Doesn’t mean it’s right. Doesn’t mean we don’t screw up. Let’s use these issues to solidify the fact that there are MANY issues regarding our job as caretakers that need fixing.
      Let me reiterate that Maclean’s magazine has stooped to a real low with this kind of sensationalism. Both sides need to realize, beyond the name-calling, beyond the belittling, that we really are both on the same page..figuring out how to govern the Earth. It’s articles like these, and some disgusting responses on both sides that I have read, that have me thinking perhaps humans shouldn’t have so much control, after all.

      • I don’t mean any disrespect here either, but as someone who has been vegan for about 13 years now (and was lacto-ovo-vegetarian for about 5 years before that) I can honestly say that as a vegan I don’t have to exercise any more effort “organiz[ing] [my] diet to ensure proper nutrition” than I did when I was a vegetarian, or even before that when I ate the standard north american diet (although my nutrition has improved massively going from SNAD to lac-ov-veg to vegan). There are now tons of fast food places that have vegan options, like subway, Harvey’s, Panago, Burger King, Quiznos, etc . Fast food is not great, but eating the vegan items at these places is actually better for you than eating the non-vegan options. There are tons of other restaurants that have great vegan options – especially Asian ones. There are also tons of vegan convenience foods one can buy in grocery stores (cf. brands like Gardein, Tofurky, Yves, etc.). And, of course, if you actually want to eat healthy, it’s pretty easy to eat whole fresh fruits, vegetables, and legumes.

        So, in my experience, I don’t feel that I have to expend any effort being careful as a vegan, and my health and nutrition has improved massively. Can you please explain what reasons you have for thinking that vegans have to do all this being careful and do all this organizing?

  5. You make a lot of good points, and you’ve convinced me that all types of killing of sentient beings are wrong. Thank you for opening my eyes.

    • Is a lion a sentient being – to be a sentient being I believe to be aware of one’s self.
      Is that the case with a lion.
      This article is well written and seems well thought out and makes a lot of sense old Cecil’s demise would possible have been much worse.
      Missing the kill shot on the first attempt is unacceptable

      • To be sentient is to be able to have subjective experiences, like suffering and enjoyment. The consensus among the vast majority of neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers is that mammals and birds, and likely all vertebrates as well as cephalopod molluscs (like octopi and squid) are sentient – see for example the Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness. Sentience is ethically significant because the ability to experience suffering entails that the individual can be harmed by suffering (cf. Cecil’s being wounded and chased for 40 hours, chickens suffering from de-beaking, being ground alive, experiencing chronic leg pain from being bred to grow so fast, etc., also cattle as a result of de-horning, castration, crowding and respiratory disease at feed lots, etc.). It is also ethically significant because the capacity for positive subjective experiences like enjoyment entail that the individual can be harmed by being killed and thus deprived of a good future (when the goods of the future would have outweighed the bads).

        Some philosophers, like David Rosenthal, argue that some kind of “awareness of self” is required for sentience. But most of those who do this also argue that this kind of awareness is simple enough for subjective experience to be widespread in the animal kingdom. Peter Carruthers, who is almost the only philosopher who denies that non-human animals have subjective experiences in virtue of lacking the right kind of self-awareness, actually argues that they nevertheless have properties that matter ethically just like sentience (as I recall it’s something like the ability to have desires and aversions). For a very nice review of the philosophical literature on this, see the online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy’s entry on Higher Order Theories of Consciousness (especially subsection 7.2, on generic objections).

        I believe that Rudyk’s response is precisely correct – it’s particularly vivid that Palmer’s killing Cecil had the moral-wrongness-making property of being instance of inflicting extreme suffering upon a sentient being and depriving that being of future goods in exchange for absolutely trivial gains (and possibly even net losses) for himself. The same is true of purchasing non-vegan products, which is wrong in virtue of exactly this property. It’s just less obvious.

  6. The article makes some good points. Cecil probably lived a far better life than the cow that contributed to my hamburger or the pig that provided the bacon. But what I would like to know is, what makes a man want to kill an animal for fun. These trophy hunters could just as easily shoot the animal with a camera as a gun. Is there something in their psychological make up that gives them some sort of thrill to watch an animal die? I have no problem with hunting or fishing for food. But killing an animal just to watch it die and take a selfy with it or maybe cut off its head is disturbing. I think its time we all stand back at take a look at how we treat the other species we share this planet with. Trophy hunting is big business in Canada not just Africa. So if you are disturbed buy the killing of animals for sport let your local MP and MLA know. Nothing will change unless people speak up.

    • Trophy hunting is despicable – a big deal for a small man. The disease could be called Hemingwayism, I guess.

  7. Imagine the dentist armed with only his bow and arrow vs. a grizzly bear in the Canadian wilderness. I believe it might be the last we would see of the dentist.

    • Although this a**hole dentist has killed a grizzly bear as well! #loser

  8. I wish it could be so simple. All killing of animals is the same. That would make everything so easy. But it isn’t. The animals killed for meat are raised for that reason.

    While Cecil would have been chased out by a younger, stronger lion taking over his pride is more than likely a fact of life; that would have been nature running its course. Not everyone likes to think about it, but that is life in the wild. While learning of Cecil’s eventual passing in such a way would have been sad, at least it was how he would have been meant to pass on. Cycle of life and all that.

    Reading about some person paying an obscene amount of money just to have guides lure Cecil out to be hunted just so this dentist could have another stuffed head mounted is deplorable. I have no issues with people hunting for meat. They consume what they kill. Those of us who buy meat at the supermarket may do it by choice since we can all become vegetarian, but again, that hamburger didn’t become someone’s trophy for the hell of it. The cattle wasn’t played with to prove something in order to make me feel like the ultimate predator. My eggs weren’t a result of luring a chicken from a protected park. My bacon slices in my sandwich didn’t come about a $50000 price tag just so I could shoot an arrow through the pig, have it suffer nearly two days, only to be shot with a rifle. In fact, had he shot a wild animal in a quick efficient kill and then consumed the meat and used the hide, I wouldn’t have been appalled by the news. After all, in nature, it’s all about prey/predator relationships. My issue, along with most of the people who were saddened and outraged, has to do with the fact that this lion died for no reason other than to bolster someone’s ego.

    • The animals that get bred and raised for food didn’t ask to be born! They suffer for no reason at all! Yes Cecil suffered for two days and I think that dentist is a disgusting human for all the animals he’s killed for so called sport and entertainment! But that bacon on your sandwich came from even longer suffering than Cecil endured! Maybe do some research on factory farming. Or just watch some undercover video that has aired on W5. You can find it on their website or FaceBook page! Animals bred and raised for food suffer far more than Cecil or any other hunted animal. The fur industry is another disgusting industry with animals suffering for fashion! Although Fur is not Fashion!!!!


  10. So what is the story then for this Dr. when showing the Lions head? He sits around the fire place with a glass of scotch while telling the dramatic story of how difficult was to fool an animal apparently with less intelligence than a regular pig (according to the writer), take a bad shot, had another hunter tracking the beast and, after a 40 hour ordeal finally killing it, peeling it and cuting the head. That is a real macho story, full of bravery. I guess when they reached the end of his Cuban cigar then he also narrated the story about trying to hide the GPS collar.

    I grew up in a bullfighting environment and believe me, it does not come close to what just happened here. After many years I understood that we are better than this. It is a shame.


  11. How glib you are. Your argument has so many holes in it I don’t know where to begin. Are you writing this article just because you are being paid to do so? Are you writing this just because you are sure to get negative reactions against your inane reasonings and therefore warrant your paycheck?

    Good grief what drivel.

    • I called it dogmatic garbage reporting…

  12. You call this… dogmatic garbage reporting? I didn’t realize MacLeans magazine has turned into an opinion magazine. This is a horrible article, especially the end line. And to be an Editor’s pick? Ridiculous. My subscription will be cancelled in the morning. Shame on you MacLean’s.

  13. Killing for food is a necessity. Killing for entertainment is a sign of something being wrong with a person. Much like medical experimentation on animals is a scientific necessity, but torturing animals for fun is mental sickness.

    Taking someone/something else’s life just to satisfy personal urges is no different than rape or torture – it is causing misery to other being in order to get personal satisfaction. The only difference is that it is not illegal yet because there are plenty of sick people that lobby to keep it going.

    • Killing for food is not a necessity for humans, at least for those of us in the developed world. In fact, many nutritionists would argue that it’s a necessity to REFRAIN from purchasing (or hunting for) the non-vegan diets that are killing us with things like heart disease. Even the conservative Americans Dietic Association (which has been criticized for being far too cozy with the meat and dairy industries) states that “appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.” The Dieticians of Canada concur. As well, climate scientists have found that at least 51 percent of global greenhouse-gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture (report of the Worldwatch Institute), and the UN has stated that a global shift toward a vegan diet is necessary to combat the worst effects of climate change.

      • Vegans are not off the hook – they still kill a lot of animals, indirectly. Farms or gardens that produce the veg vegans eat cannot have animals running amok in them. So the carrying capacity of that bit of land becomes next to nothing for wildlife. By reducing carrying capacity, you are killing animals. Think of the prairies where bison (and elk and grizzlies) used to roam en mass. Can’t have those bison (et al.) out there anymore. Farmers and the people who eat and need the wheat etc. wouldn’t and don’t tolerate it. So there is no reason for a vegan to be all smug about not being responsible for the death of wildlife. We all have responsibilities.

        • You are absolutely correct that simply being vegan doesn’t remove all ethical concerns about harming non-human animals. But being vegan is still a clear way of dramatically REDUCING the harm we to other animals (including other humans) at trivial cost – and in fact net benefit – to ourselves. As I hope you know, the land needed to provide a plant-based diet is almost 20 times less land than that needed to feed a meat-eater (due to all the grain fed to the farmed animals) – and also it takes more than 2,400 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of beef, while producing 1 pound of tofu only requires 244 gallons of water, and animal agriculture wreaks much more devastation on rivers, lakes, and oceans as runoff from factory farms and livestock grazing is a leading cause of river and lake pollution, commercial fishing often clears the ocean floor of all life and destroys coral reefs, and coastal fish farms release feces, antibiotics, and parasites into marine ecosystems.

          Many sincere vegans are, however, quite concerned by the harms that can be caused to sentient being even in feeding vegans, and are working to mitigate these harms. Have you heard of veganic farming? You might want to look into it. At least many vegans are not smug at all about this. The smug ones would seem to be those who make the fallacious inference “we can’t completely eliminate a certain type of harm, so there’s no reason to even try to reduce it” (which fallacious inference would of course entail that there is no reason to perform any actual act of helping or omitting to harm anyone).

  14. How is this a defense of trophy hunting as opposed to an argument for being vegan? I think that the author does a decent job making it plausible that Palmer’s killing Cecil was wrong only if it’s wrong not to be vegan. But surely the wrongness-making property, which Palmer’s killing Cecil so vividly had, was that it inflicted massive suffering on a sentient being and deprived him of all future goods in exchange for absolutely trivial benefits (and perhaps even net harms) to oneself. But the purchase of non-vegan products (at least by all of us collectively) also has this property, and is wrong in virtue of it (together with the fact that no greater goods and in fact net harms flow to third parties from our purchasing non-vegan products. For a good comprehensive explanation of why this is the case, see e.g. Peter Singer and Jim Mason’s book, The Ethics of What We Eat). It’s just less obvious / vivid that not being vegan is wrong in virtue of the same wrong-making property had so obviously and vividly by Palmer’s killing Cecil.

  15. Re-reading the article I find the argument about benefits of hunting for habitat protection laughable. It’s a bit like justifying violent rape as completely acceptable, as long as the rapist pays large enough contribution to a shelter for preventing violence against women.

  16. I am not a hunter as you claim to be but did grow up in the northern Canada partially on food my father put on the table by way of his gun. He never enjoyed it, but at that time, to feed his family, it was something he had to do. Your comparing a grinning idiot who paid $50,000 to bait, kill and then photograph a head at his feet is offensive and deeply insulting at best to all of those who hunt for actual reasons. Knowing you can’t see the difference speaks volumes. Good luck with your career. It’s the last time I’ll take you seriously.

  17. Michael Petrou you are an ass to the nth degree. I hope when you are old and grey and the end is near that your are put out your miserable exists with a wayward arrow, left to suffer for 40 hours before someone put you out of you pathetic existance. Your are a hack and brought Macleans to were the it should be labeled, a MSM leftwing rag. Mr. Harper was wise to steer away for the trap being set up him by the MSM consortium debate. I fear the same is being orchestrated for him by MacLeans.

    • There are plenty of political threads on Macleans – take your nonsense to one of them.

  18. Michael Petrou wouldn’t make much of a trophy, but maybe we should hunt him anyway. We’d spare him the rigours of old age while providing food for worms and ridding the world of a transparent rationalizer who inflicts logical equivocation on readers at article length.

  19. To the editor, Michael Petrou

    I am going to make this short and sweet responding to the comment article…. “In Defence of the Trophy Hunt”…In no way shape or form, is it ever ok to defend, as you have done, a hunter like this. Although you try to desperately soften are already harden hearts to this despicable act with the excuse that the lion was old…. I would have to say the defence is almost as worse as the kill…. Yes, he was old. And perhaps, repeat perhaps was on his way out, to which even you sir, do not have the fortune teller’s ball to predict!…… But what you fail to understand is that the lion’s cubs are certainly not old… And now with the father out of the picture, they too become targets for predators, and other male lions, whom wish to get females back in heat for them to mate. The only way to do that is by getting rid of the competition. Including cubs.. To which if the father was around, its a known fact the lion would have protected them according to lion behavior. Basically with this one kill of this lion, he has taken out a whole pride of lions. And the chances of these cubs surviving are much slimmer now. But I suppose you don’t care much about that. Just as your lack of sympathy for this male lion’s tragic and unnecessary end. Just because you are a writer for Macleans magazine, dose not mean your ignorance dose not shine through…. My suggestion to you Sir, is to get educated on such things, or do not speak of things you don’t even know about. Better yet, speak up against pouching and make articles about that instead. After all, this one lion brought in tourist and money to the country, so the government says…. No one likes to lose something that is a money maker for a civilization rather then just one man. If your magazine express this kind of a reality, then such articles or magazines might actually be worth its dollar in taking the time to read. I hope that this man gets the full sentence of life in prison.

    From a Concerned Canadian.

  20. Michael, I think a little conscience raising is required; such arrogant twaddle doesn’t belong in MACLEANS. Who are we to say one type of life is worth more than another just because it’s more intelligent (whatever that means), or decide which is a better death than another? Yes, it is hypocritical to decry the death of a lion with a name while tucking into another steak dinner, but everyone is on a different point on the continuum to more enlightened thinking, and it’s unproductive to criticize someone who is not perfect. After all, who is? Further, concern for the plight of factory farmed animals and wild animal populations without names is now reaching major levels, with huge pressure being applied by millions of ordinary people to food producers to start cleaning up their act. As well, interest in Vegetarianism and Veganism has been rising at increasing levels for some time now. This is hardly the passive hypocritical thinking you describe in your article. I also don’t buy this position that blood sport is okay as long as you eat it; more out-of-date thinking. I have to ask what kind of a person kills for pleasure? As a Vegan of over 30 years, I view animal-product based food systems as archaic inefficient technology with poor performance, bad side-effects, and major moral baggage. Who needs it when there’s better technology available?

  21. I read your article ” In defence of the trophy hunt” and unfortunately I think it lacks of scientific foundation.
    I did some research through my university library in order to find reasonable scientific evidence of some of your statements such as:
    1. “He was less intelligent than the pigs”
    2. “Hunting provides a financial incentive to protect habitat that might otherwise succumb to farming, cattle grazing, forestry and human sprawl”.

    I was not able to find even one research paper in which such statements are proven…NO SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE.
    Please, be careful with the information you share. It can be truly misleading.

  22. I sincerely hope that this tragedy will open the conversation about legalized hunting of animals. What is the problem with people who must hunt, make suffer and kill an animal?? Like Kimmel say if you can’t get an erection buy viagra! I also agree with the reality that every day animal farms are badly treated. That’s why I do my research when I buy meat/poultry/eggs from small farms where animals can at least walk outside. AND I eat a lot less meat = once or twice a week.
    Trophy hunting is sick. These people should instead spend their money in therapy.

  23. I am sorry but there is “NO DEFENCE” for trophy hunting, to sugar coat it by saying that had Cecil lived he could have starved, been attacked by another lion, or disease, and then to say ” Well he was at the end of his life span because he was 13 is well, disgusting. Yes, Mother Nature has some harsh ways for wildlife to die but that has been going for or time & memorial, it is a harsh fact of life for animals. To be shot with a cross bow bolt, wounded and tracked for almost 2 days then to add insult to injury to finally be shot with a high powered rifle, skinned and beheaded, all for the sake of a trophy that is beyond words in my book. These so called “Big White Hunters” who pay for the so called privilege of taking down an animal is vial. Never mind luring a animal off a game reserve, but the ones that are bred specifically for these hunters they are raised, fed and in large fenced areas so they can be hunted for sport is not a sport, then there are the canned hunts, animals have been chained t o a pole for these so called hunters to shoot. Bet they leave out that part when they tell there story about their hunt. I don’t care if it is a lion, or a crocodile in this day & age there is no room for Trophy Hunting, and to sugar coat it is just insulting. It needs to stop

  24. Michael Petrou’s argument is incredibly weak and unworthy of published journalism.
    Cecil was similar to a zoo lion and the phrase “trophy hunt” in this context is utterly demeaning and shameful. There is no possible justification for this action. If there is, then we all can lure our neighbor’s dog or cat away from their property and have them killed for a “trophy hunt”. Furthermore, please do not muddy the waters with regards to eating meat, since that would be an entirely different topic of conversation and it’s a deliberate attempt to confuse people with the actual truth. Finally, where is the research to show that Cecil the lion was less intelligent than an average pig? Please cite the reference so we can all laugh and then mourn Cecil’s death. Thank you all.

  25. Long story for a simple fact: Palmer would’ve killed the lion even if he was 4 years old. There’s no information that he looked only for wild animals in the twilight of their life.

  26. An inability to acknowledge that the psychological “drivers” are the same is why this behaviour is allowed to continue. It is a delusional Puritan ‘belief’ that somehow human animals are different from other sentient beings.
    The reality is that the ‘best’ science has proven that these great mammals (eg. lions, bears, elephants, wolves, rhinos, whales, dolphins, etc. etc.) have the same capacity for thought and feeling as human animals. There is absolutely nothing ‘sporting’ about this behaviour. And this is not food provision, predation i.e. subsistence hunting. This is killing for greed, pleasure, and ‘trophies’. These people ‘feel’ better about themselves (briefly) through killing. They say they ‘love’ and ‘admire’ these animals and ‘I must take my lion/elephant/grizzly’. They ‘feel’ a ‘rush’ of empowerment from killing. They take body parts – heads and hides; they pose for bloodied ‘acknowledge my conquest’ selfies. This is their perversion. This is “Hemingway syndrome”. This is emotional/psychological dysfunction.

    The great question of our time, is will humanity finally connect the dots, and understand that these are all the sick symptoms of a world of abusive empowerment – eg. racism, sexism, violence against women, homophobia, speciesism, pedophiles, serial/’trophy’ killing?

    So when one puts on a badge, work boots, a suit, traditional regalia, or a pink T-shirt, and states that they ‘stand against bullying’, but then directly, or indirectly support these destructive behaviours, it’s obvious that they are either delusional, or a self-serving liar. This is the ‘problem’. These are in fact, “the drivers” of this culture of abuse. It is time for ‘leaders’ to listen to humanity. And as ‘lions’ like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. have stated, we must fight against injustice wherever, and whenever it occurs, regardless of species.

  27. keep printing garbage like this…

    really illustrates the directions and thoughts of the brain trusts of your magazine…
    and of course solidifies your name…macLAME magazine…


  28. The article’s last point is basically the hub of the matter for me. I therefore rebuke the editors’ for choosing the “soft” title for thebarticle which should read lion cubs bred on ranches to fill needs of murderous hunts named Trophy Hunts.
    Bad enough that Macleans adopts the same shallow reporting of Time magazine but now this kind of cowardice?Shame on you!

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  30. This article is completely omitting that these animals in the wild are becoming endangered as well I would like to point out he had cubs that will be killed by another male. What happened here by the media was good and honestly should happen more often. Many of these animals are on the verge of extinction and people like this dentist think they can go and hunt them if they have money. This is much larger then either party involved it’s saying it is no longer acceptable to hunt endangered species in the wild! I hope this happens more often to more “trophy hunters”!

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