Cecil: In Memoriam

By Joe Miele, President of C.A.S.H.

Rightly so, the world is mourning the death of Cecil, a beloved 13-year-old lion from Zimbabwe who was mercilessly killed by Walter Palmer, a Minnesota dentist with a penchant for spending obscene amounts of money to needlessly kill wildlife all over the world. This single event has united people from different backgrounds and different political ideologies to condemn senseless violence against wildlife regardless of the legality of the killing.

To recap the situation, Palmer paid professional hunting guides $55,000 to hunt Cecil. The lion was lured out of the park where he would have been protected and into an area where no permit for the hunt was issued. Palmer shot Cecil with a crossbow, and left him to wander around wounded for 40 hours until he was found, shot to death, beheaded and skinned.

Cecil’s murder was something that cannot be excused or tolerated. Cecil has awakened strong feelings in all of us.

What will we do with those feelings? Will we use them as a call to action to fight against such senseless acts? US Senator Robert Menendez (NJ) is doing just that. He’s proposed legislation that would ban hunters from bringing trophy animals they shot abroad back to the United States. In New York, Senator Tony Avella has done the same: to keep wild animal trophies from entering New York ports, and more. See below.

The NRA and the global hunting industry will push back. They will pay lip service to how “poachers” smear the reputation of legal hunters everywhere and how they support prosecuting them to the fullest extent of the law. Make no mistake – this is a smokescreen designed to obfuscate the issue and break apart world opinion that is speaking with a single voice.

You can draw a straight line from Cecil’s murder to the abuse and exploitation of wildlife on our side of the Atlantic. The animals murdered here for sport – millions of doves, geese, deer, bears, raccoons, and even African wildlife at canned hunting ranches, are all victims of the same violence and sadism that is a required part of any hunting trip. It is simple for us to see there’s no difference in a dentist’s flying to Africa and paying $55,000 to kill Cecil, and a high-school kid spending $10 for a hunting license to kill a domestic deer, but our challenge now is to show others that link. We who understand what hunting is must step up our game, and now more than ever advocate for wildlife – all wildlife – regardless of their native country. Though the price was terrible, we’ve been handed an opportunity to use Cecil’s murder to create a paradigm shift away from reluctant acceptance of hunting to outright condemnation and intolerance of killing animals for sport. It does not take the will of the majority to change things, only a dedicated minority that has the wisdom, the drive, and the courage to move society forward. Together we can do this, and we must do this. We do it for Cecil and for the millions of animals needlessly killed every year. We are Cecil. They are Walter Palmer.

[C.A.S.H. also urges you to support NYS Senator Tony Avella’s Bill S4686, which is a comprehensive ban on the importation, transportation and sale of the “Big 5” African species.]


Cecil with a few of his cubs who don’t seem to be taking his advice too seriously.


Contact Us

Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting / C.A.S.H.
P.O. Box 562
New Paltz, NY 12561