Millions of people were right to condemn Walter Palmer for his trophy hunting and the killing of Cecil the lion. Almost all the condemnation was on social media and on websites; this might be described as “digital condemnation”. It was done in an armchair, on a train, at a desk, just about anywhere and everywhere because today at least 50% of people access the Internet using smart phones.
None of the people who vociferously criticised Dr Palmer would shoot a lion. It would be unthinkable. However, it is quite easy to criticise digitally but harder to look closer at home and to our ‘real lives’. What I do, together with millions of others, such as buying mass produced meat with low standards of welfare and other similar animal welfare issues lays us open to a charge of hypocrisy.
I am not a vegan. Although I eat very little meat I still eat it, particularly chicken. I eat eggs. I agree with the American animal rights activist who says that factory farming is like a Holocaust but I don’t do anything about it and yet am very willing and passionate about criticising the ludicrous behaviour of the American dentist who gets his kicks from shooting the biggest and best lion he can find or the elephant with the biggest tusks. He even boasts about it and did so after the furore of his recent exploits.
There is a saying in the Bible which is very well known, we “focus on the speck in another’s eye while neglecting the log in our own”.
I’m not for a minute stating that eating chicken that has been farmed in an inhumane way is the same as killing an animal for pleasure. At least I am eating the chicken to survive. But there is a considerable overlap in the philosophy regarding animal welfare concerning both and therefore, like many others, I am being hypocritical. I freely admit it because I am human and full of defects.
Looking wider to general political topics, we often hear of the well-off middle-class criticising welfare scroungers while at the same time avoiding paying tax to the point where it could be described as tax evasion. There is not much difference between scrounging benefits and evading tax.
When we criticise racism which is still enormously prevalent, if we look deeply into our own hearts and minds we can, in some of us detect that same racism that we are abhor so much. It is almost as if it is part of us, written into our DNA like a computer program.
Violence is part of us too. It is suppressed but when it is not, violence pleases the perpetrator in the same way that killing pleases the killer.
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This article deliberately faces an uncomfortable truth. My thanks to this site for the illustration.
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