Lions and Tigers and The Real Animals: WARNING -Graphic Image Inside

I must make it clear that I am in no way an animal rights activist.

However, I recently have reopened my personal inquiry into the nature of the human-animal relationship. I was brought up with the belief that animals were, well, animals, and humans were a superior breed of species. We always had pets as I was growing up, treated them well -though make no mistake, our dogs or cats never received the types of amenities reserved for humans. If a cat needed an expensive surgery that we could not afford, well, it was time to start looking for a new cat.

At some very rudimentary level I believe in the human as the superior species as evidenced by our reaching the top of the food chain.  I believe this because if I were starving to death, I would have no qualms about killing an animal in order to survive…as I am quite certain said animal would eat my ass if it were dying as well .

I guess we still do live in a dog eat dog world.

As the victorious members of the top-of-the-food-chain sweepstakes we can now not only enjoy the benefits of such victory, we can also extend assistance to those on the lower chain rungs as well. As the champions we now have a responsibility to live in harmony with all the creatures -when and where possible- with whom we share this planet.

How far do I go in my beliefs to treat animals with respect? I do not believe animals have souls nor human like qualities; and while not there yet I am certainly open to the discussion.

All this provides a context from where I come from as I find the following picture repulsive, disgusting and making me sick to my stomach; all thanks to TV personality and killer of an African lion, Melissa Bachman, who posted this picture on Facebook on November 1 of this year:



Really? Ted Nugent can’t even like this picture, can he?

Human being has a gun and shoots and kills an ultimately helpless African lion?  I have yet to see any animal win versus the hunting rifle. A majestic and beautiful creature that poses no threat to our existence? Or does it? Let the tension begin. I needed to do more research before my visceral reaction took over and seized any shred of reasoning and logic.

According to an article first posted on Facebook from an African conservancy in support of this killing:

“We do ethical hunting and all meat from animals hunted is distributed to the local community….funds generated from hunting goes towards fixing the border fence that was washed away in the 2013 floods, combating poaching, which is excessive in this area due to close proximity to Zimbabwe, and running a sustainable conservancy. We are not apologizing for facilitating the [Bachman] hunt. 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 derogatory comments.”

The argumentative fallacy in this article is quite simple: “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…” you are disqualified from having an opinion, thus effectively shutting down the argument.

I disagree with the premise.

Not everyone is a speech professor yet you all know a bad speech when you hear it.

I may not be a game farmer, associated with poaching or one having no fences to protect animals…though I have a brain and, perhaps more importantly, a heart.

There are two sides to every story, hence, Jimmy is always in tension. I do not want to make an ignorant rant against this killing and I do want to educate myself -yet why does this seem so damn wrong at every level? It is this response within myself that intrigues me…and I think I may have figured out why.

The conservancy does make a valid point and I acknowledge it.  If this wonderful, beautiful, majestic creature had to be shot and killed in order to save dozens of other animals and perhaps people, I understand. I am a utilitarian at my core; that is, whatever brings about the greatest good for the greatest amount of people or animals, I will generally support –even if it includes killing a majestic creature. Does this hunt qualify as such? I have no idea yet for the sake of discussion let us assume it does.

What I absolutely do not support -justified killing or not- is the cheering, smug, happiness associated with this tragic event. Why would anyone be happy or feel a sense of achievement by killing one of the most beautiful creatures on earth? Why would you smile? Why would you put on make-up and have your hair done? Why would you even want your picture taken? If you must kill it, kill it. Then grieve, don’t cheer.  The animal did nothing wrong as it only followed its basic natural instincts.

If humans have indeed won the battle for survival-of-the-fittest and we are the superior species, with this superiority must come a moral and ethical responsibility.

It has been noted that in some cultures people would mourn -then honor- the animals they killed and consumed in order to survive.

Can we at least have the common decency and respect for the earth and all its inhabitants to grieve such acts, perhaps even necessary acts, that must be done in order to achieve the greater good? Have we not evolved at least that far? Hell, forget grieving the act -just do not celebrate it like a real animal.

I don’t know, maybe I am animals rights activist at some level. I at least know I am a humans-should-behave-decently-and-respect-the earth activist.

The real animal? You be the judge.




  1. Well… I’m certainly not an animal rights activist, but I am an animal lover. I’ve been to Africa… and I got to watch two male lions fighting over a kill. It was exhilarating, and scary and gruesome, and really cool. I also got to see two cheetahs running at top speed to catch antelopes. These experiences were amazing, they were exciting, but they were never celebrated. I don’t remember being happy. I remember being in awe, of course. I definitely took pictures, but more out of fascination than anything.
    I think I’m just… perplexed by the quality of the picture. The picture is gorgeous. The lighting is unbelievable, and though I can’t be certain, it looks like they used some great lighting equipment, screens or what have you to get rid of shadows and create a luminous, well lit, beautiful picture. Clearly great pains were taken to pose everything just right. To your point, I think that is the tragedy.
    Yes humans and animals alike sometimes must kill to eat or for protection. But the death of something is never pretty. It’s never happy or celebratory. I’m disturbed to think that the same people who are celebrating the death of a beautiful creature are the ones who are vehemently anti-abortion. Isn’t a life a life? Isn’t a death a death? Maybe I’m just another animal lover vegetarian, but I see a lot of contradictions going on in this photo.

  2. I am an animal lover through and through and honestly this picture makes me want to punch my computer screen. While I do understand that sometimes there is a need to kill to ensure the future of others (animals and humans alike.) taking the time to pose an animal’s body, taking the time to set up a photo shoot over killing said creature is most definitely not understandable to me at all.

    Maybe I’m not educated on this particular story but couldn’t they relocate the lion as opposed to killing it? Although there is also a lot of factors to consider when relocating an animal so maybe hunting would have been more “humane” in the whole grand scheme of things but I digress.

    I personally always feel sick whenever I see roadkill. I absolutely abhor animal abuse. If I see someone abusing an animal I will stand up for it. Maybe it’s stupid but I can’t help it. If we are the highest on the food chain then why don’t we respect the animals below us? We are able to, its done with many household pets. When we take on the responsibility of a pet then we take the responsibility of their well being as well don’t we?

    I understand the need to help with overpopulation since it could throw the animal kingdom out of whack. But hurting animals just because one can is something that I will detest so much that I wouldn’t be able to put into words as well as taking the time to /glorify/ killing a living being is very wrong to me and makes me physically upset.

  3. Given the reasons supplied for the hunting of this lion I find I can not find the logic. If the lion posed a threat to the life of farmed animals and or people I assume it would be an imminent threat as lions are not known for waiting to hunt so people can schedule and collect funds from a hunter. Seriously, who is fooling who? If your lively hood was threatened would you wait? I know when we had lambs on a small property our dogs would fight off coyotes every night to protect them, and one night it got ugly, so I went out to defend our lambs, and I did it immediately! It is natural to defend,but this just does not seem a “natural” defense response.

  4. That was a very depressing picture of such a beautiful animal that was shot and killed. I strongly agree with your response, “we are the superior species, with this superiority must come a moral and ethical responsibility. I do disagree however with your comment where you said you don’t believe animals have souls or human like qualities. Animals cry, hurt, play, and love. Recently on the news, a man disappeared while walking his Labrador. The dog went home without the man and was shaking with it’s tail between it’s legs and crying. Looking at that dogs face, you see deep sadness, just like a person who has been through a trauma. I have had many pets throughout my life, and they all had different personalities. They show jealousy, they can be protective, silly, serious, some smart and some clueless. You can see what they are filling by looking at their eyes and body language just like people.

  5. How exactly was this lion posing a threat? Combating poaching? How? Usually the only lions that pose a serious threat are the rogue mane-less genetically damaged lions such as ‘Osama,’ named after the terrorist based on his number of human kills; or the Tsavo man killers, Ghost and Darkness, portrayed in a film by Michael Douglas and Val Kilmer. And even these rare. Either way this is a sad situation; as a hunter, animal lover, and exotic pets owner this animals death should be respected and honored, not glorified. I agree with Cedric, this photo poses many contradictions.

  6. I pretty much agree with all of you and the general theme you are expressing. In the spirit of fairness I really just wanted to attempt to see the other side of this issue cause, like you Lima Bean, I wanted to punch the screen as well. I can see a scenario where this MIGHT be necessary though I highly doubt it here and, in any case, the picture -everything about it- is sickening. I truly hope this is a sham and that is photoshopped because I certainly do not believe everything I see on the internet. Aileen, in regards to animals and souls, I am certainly open to the notion though I need more evidence before making such a proclamation. I do not necessarily see “loyalty” translating into possessing a soul. Thank you all for your comments!

  7. I grew up visiting the ranch my mom grew up on. We ate the chickens, cows and even rabbits that were raised there on the ranch; I took no offense as I watched family members skin, slab, hang and cook the meat that we all ate. I have many pictures of these visits including ones of the food preparations although none are of a triumphant display like the vibe of the photo of Ms. Bachman.

    I respect animals as fellow living creatures, as sustenance and as companion pets and unlike your belief Jimmy I do believe they have souls. Animal advocates could argue these are mutually exclusive positions. Hunters could argue humans hierarchical position among other animals or in this case, our duty to provide for fellow humans and protect the animals, are justifications for these types of hunts. Both of these perspectives seem extreme to me, not to say they do not hold valid points but I find a balance in our biological disposition for carnivorism and our duty to protect and continue life of all animals. This is why I say I respect animals because they are intertwined in our very existence thus I do believe they have natural rights.

    After thinking through all of this ultimately I am not outraged by this photo. If the characteristics of the hunt, its purpose, and intensions were as the supporters said they were (of course this is extending a huge benefit of the doubt to them) then where is the ill will or offense to be found? Jimmy you and many of the commenter’s say it is found in her smile, in her display of pride from killing one of the pride. I argue that if she believes in what she is doing then why shouldn’t she be entitled to her positive feelings and perspective about it? Not all cultures morn death or are saddened by it, some celebrate the life that was or in this case what that death means (food, protection, fences…whatever). I think this picture can be viewed in this light rather than as the cruel Victorian and her defeated prey.

    Now that I have played devil’s advocate I have to say I do not know anything about this lady other than what I have briefly read on the internet. My argument is only for the non-ill willed. If she however is doing these things with disrespect and ill intention towards the animals I have no sympathy for the backlash she received as I would agree she is a %** for it.

    • What does %** mean? Cause I think I don’t %**%ing agree. 🙂 T
      Let’s talk about this later in class…

  8. It was an indiscriminate punctuation curse. I did not put a beginning letter on purpose, stimulate the imagination haha

  9. I am totally against cruelty to animals as you probably know from my persuasive speech topic! But I don’t feel that this picture shows much, if any, animal cruelty? I understand the animal might not have done anything wrong, but the woman in the picture is just a hunter. The picture in my opinion is not that bad, I find that she is just taking a picture to show off what she hunted. We have all taken pictures at a proud moment in our lives, just as in class you took a picture or Serena (I kinda forgot if that is her name) with the trophy from the contest she won. It was a proud moment for you I believe and you wanted something to have a memory of that moment. That is what I believe this woman is doing.

    • Hmmmmm…I do not believe you. I think you find something offensive about this…it’s ok to agree with me. Oh, and I did not kill Serena (Jozelle) to have to be proud of her accomplishment!

  10. Haha I know you didn’t kill her, I’m just stating that the idea of the woman taking this photo is in the same context as you and all of us have when we are proud. Now I do not like the idea of hunting and I do think it is wrong to hunt innocent animals, but i don’t think taking the picture was the offensive part. The whole idea of killing a lion is a bit disturbing because I’m sure he did nothing but protect his kingdom while Melissa was there hunting. But hunting is a natural sport, but I do not know if the animal did have to suffer through this death. But as we had heard in a speech today slaughter houses clearly torture the animals to produce meat for our world and I can visualize that cruelty. Maybe it’s just harder for me to see the cruelty going on because I don’t have a clear visual of all the pain the animal went through!

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