Why dentist Walter James Palmer is not the enemy.

I am Cecil pic

If you are outraged about James Palmer killing a lion, and you have just eaten bacon for breakfast, or had a bleeding steak for dinner last night, or poured cow’s milk into your coffee this morning, you are a victim of a culture that condones speciesism. You are now experiencing what is called cognitive dissonance. Which is: the anxiety that results from simultaneously holding contradictory or otherwise incompatible attitudes (www.dictionary.reference.com).

Or maybe not. Maybe you’re not anxious yet. But you will be.

Yesterday I changed my Facebook profile photo to that of this pig. A living, breathing, feeling being imprisoned behind bars, in a factory farm building, probably somewhere in the United States, but she could just as easily be in South Africa, or Australia, or the UK. It doesn’t matter where she is. What matters is that she has been sentenced to an end at least as excruciating as that of Cecil the lion’s. Unlike Cecil, however, her life has been a living hell since the day she was bred into captivity. Note that she is locked inside a cage, and not outside in the veld running around enjoying her life and loving her piglets. Cecil, at least, has been able to live out his authentic life for 13 lucky years. Lucky because it took that long for a human to come along and ruin his life (barring the time he was darted and collared by Oxford University for research). She is going to have a death just as excruciating as Cecil’s. That’s the truth. So that you can eat bacon. Pork chops. Pork rinds. Pork sausages. Pigs-in-a-blanket. Toad-in-the-hole. Ugh!

Cecil was sacrificed at the altar of human ego. The pig in this photo will be (or was already) sacrificed for the dinner table. Some, in fact most, humans have an illogical and bloodthirsty desire for dead animals on their plates.

Yes, Walter Palmer shot, injured and (eventually) killed a king of the Jungle. An animal we revere, partially because of his predatory prowess. After all, one of the highlights of a successful African safari is seeing a “kill”

A close friend of mine told me yesterday he might have to convert to veganism because of my “evangelism”. Really? I suspect he was winding me up. The dictionary definition of evangelism is preaching or promulgation of the gospel; the work of an evangelist. I am not sure that is an entirely accurate description of me, but I think it was his way of telling me my vegan activism smacks of missionary zeal. Yes, it probably does. And yet, it still isn’t powerful enough to make him stop dead in his tracks (if you’ll pardon the pun) and give up paying other people to exploit and murder animals on his behalf.

James Palmer is not the enemy. Yes, he is the enemy of endangered lions and bears (he was indicted and then fined for shooting and killing a bear). But the carnivorous populations of the world are a much greater enemy to the animals on this planet, and, therefore, indirectly to us all. We think canned lion hunting is a disgrace. How can you raise an animal in a confined space simply for it to be shot by someone, and even make a profit out of it? Erm… hello? Isn’t that what we do every day, to cows, pigs, sheep, chickens and turkeys and even horses, dogs and cats in other parts of the world?

You can make an enormous difference. You can be part of the solution, instead of being part of the problem. Right now, if you ingest animals and/or their secretions, YOU are the enemy. Yes, that includes vegetarians.

Go vegan. Please. For the animals, the planet, your health, and to permanently free yourself from the pain of cognitive dissonance. Because I know, and you know, that somewhere inside you lurks a loving and compassionate being.

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