The final roar: Cecil’s tragedy must mark a turning point

Outrage at lion’s murder must spur us into halting the decline in the ‘crown jewels’ of Africa and the natural world


Cecil, who has come to represent what the world loves about wildlife


AS WALTER PALMER raised his fatal bow and arrow, did he look into the eyes of the lion he was about to murder? Did he consider, even for a second, his minuscule significance in the world compared with that of the innocent, gentle creature whose life he intended to steal?

It’s doubtful he can have done, because if he had, even without knowing his target was one of the most revered animals in Africa, he would have understood in a flash the moral repulsiveness of his actions. Continue reading

Mass ritual slaughter ‘may be repeated’

Animal advocates celebrating end of five-yearly festival are warned the tradition of sacrifice of living beings runs deep

open-air slaughter pen

Animals are herded into large open-air pens to be slaughtered without stunning

EXPERTS are advising caution as campaigners celebrate the announcement that the world’s biggest animal-beheading frenzy will end.

The bloody festival of Gadhimai in Nepal may not be entirely over, they warned, as religious beliefs and rituals run deep in Hindu culture – and just this week evidence emerged of human ritual sacrifice in the country.

The festival, held every five years, involves decapitating hundreds of thousands of buffalo and other animals in giant pens without stunning, using knives and swords. Continue reading

Fury as vivisection dogs breeding centre gets go-ahead

Campaigners consider legal action but breeders dismiss fears as ‘tosh’


Beagles will be bred for experiments

ANIMAL charities are considering taking legal action over a decision to allow a breeding centre to be created for hundreds of dogs destined for vivisection.

Campaigners said the ruling would condemn sensitive animals to drawn-out and agonising experiments, and that profiting from such tests was unnecessary.

They pointed out that in January, three executives of the sister company to the Yorkshire one were convicted of animal cruelty at a similar breeding centre in Italy. Continue reading

Profoundly undemocratic: Government inaction over ‘performing’ animals is a proper circus

Performing animals 1

Tigers are kept in cages constantly at the UK’s remaining circuses

LAST week, a circus-style show came to town in Powys, Wales. It promised live entertainment every night for nine nights. But it wasn’t accompanied by any of the usual circus fanfare – perhaps because organisers knew the higher the profile, the more ire it would attract.

The star “performers” are two lions and three tigers, giants of the African plains and Asian jungle, who spend their lives being transported around Britain and Ireland in cages. When not on show, there is nothing for them to do but pace their tiny spaces restlessly, irritably, or lie imprisoned.

Anyone with a modicum of sensitivity who has seen footage of – or witnessed first hand – a big cat repetitively prowling a cage, with barely enough turning room, can be in no doubt about what confinement does to these dignified animals. Continue reading