Ok, I’ve got to get this off my chest.
A few days ago, a dentist in Africa killed a lion.
He is now on the run and in hiding having been accused of poaching. When I first heard this story, I was deeply saddened. I remembered all the old Disney movies, specifically Tarzan, where animals were continually on the run from hunters.
As children, we befriended these animals because we realized they were a lot like us. They had emotions, likes, dislikes, fell in love, had friendships, had favorite foods and got in trouble. Just like us. We HATED the poachers, often portrayed as large masochist goons who had a single goal: kill our friends.
When did we stop identifying with the animals and started becoming the poachers?
I would watch these movies while I ate a pepperoni pizza or chicken sandwich. I would cry deep into my bowl of ice cream. I never made the connection that I was contributing to the problem. I was that mean angry poacher. I was killing my friends.
The backlash this hunter has received for killing that lion is rightly deserved, but is it unreasonable to exclaim outrage among those who continue to eat animal products everyday? Why do we get up in arms for that lovely lion, but fail to acknowledge the torture and death we willingly contribute to every time we put something in our mouths?
I read a post that calls this Convenient Compassion. In his words,
“If you are going to stand up for a cause, be inclusive. What I mean is this, all animal lives matter. Whether it’s Cecil, the pig, the chicken or a cow. They all live and breathe. They are all sentient beings that breathe life in and out through lungs similar to our own. Stop pretending like your diet enables you to look past the suffering of so many animals.”
In other areas of my activism, I have supported the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter. They do, but I would like to change it to #AllLivesMatter. I do not mean to extend this just to other ethnicities, but to other beings as well. Maybe a more appropriate title would me #AllSentientBeingsMatter
Because they do.
What are you thinking right now?
Did I convince you to put down the Ben and Jerrys?