This Cecil the lion story has now reached certifiably crazy levels.
As we covered in this post, people are furious that Walter Palmer, a big-game hunter and dentist from Minnesota, went to Africa and inhumanely killed one of the nation’s most famous lions. Palmer and other local guides shot Cecil with a bow and arrow, then tracked him down 40 hours later to kill him with a rifle. Then they beheaded and skinned the lion so they could use both as trophies, while leaving the slaughtered body behind.
Celebrities have now joined in on the outrage and are crushing Palmer, like Jimmy Kimmel did on his show Tuesday night.
But we interrupt that (justified) outrage to bring you an outlandish statement from PETA, the animal advocacy organization that — don’t worry, guys — we can always count on to be calm, cool and collected.
What is PETA’s response to this? They want Palmer to be hanged. Yes, it seriously requested that in an official statement. Here’s the whole thing from president Ingrid Newkirk:
Hunting is a coward’s pastime. If, as has been reported, this dentist and his guides lured Cecil out of the park with food so as to shoot him on private property, because shooting him in the park would have been illegal, he needs to be extradited, charged, and, preferably, hanged. To get a thrill at the cost of a life, this man gunned down a beloved lion, Cecil with a high-powered weapon. All wild animals are beloved by their own mates and infants, but to hunters like this overblown, over-privileged little man, who lack empathy, understanding, and respect for living creatures, they are merely targets to kill, decapitate, and hang up on a wall as a trophy. The photograph of this dentist, smiling over the corpse of another animal, who, like Cecil, wanted only to be left in peace, will disgust every caring soul in the world.
Meanwhile, the two local hunters who joined Palmer are now in a Zimbabwe court facing charges of poaching. Here’s what Palmer said in a statement: “I had no idea that the lion I took was a known, local favorite until the end of the hunt. I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt.”
Sure, except given that Palmer is reportedly a member of an elite hunting group and does this stuff all the time, he had to know there was a reason he and the local hunters were luring Cecil out of Hwange National Park before killing him, right? That’s because, you know, it would have been illegal to kill the lion inside the park. Palmer certainly knew that protocol, so he’s far from off the hook here.
“It’s the manner that, the way it was done,” Johnny Rodrigues, the Chairman of Zimbabwe’s Conservation Task Force, said. “To lure the lion out of the park, scent and bait the area, and then come in with a spotlight and shoot him with a bow and arrow. I mean, it’s crazy really. It’s inhumane.”
Here’s a video of Cecil:
Teddy Mitrosilis works in content production at FOX Sports Digital. Follow him on Twitter @TMitrosilis and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.