Friday, August 31, 2012

Why a Petition?

As many of you may (or may not) know, I've started an online petition against the sale of lion meat by a U.S. company. The company in question is Czimers Game and Seafood in Homer Glen, Illinois. This company came under fire a few years ago when they were convicted of killing and selling exotic big cats. Here's the skinny on that:

Now it appears that they're back at it again. Some people have asked me, "why start a petition? Do you really think it'll change anything?" My answer is how could I not start a petition? I can't just sit back and watch bad things happen and not try to do something ... anything. So, this petition may not go anywhere. It may fizzle out at 600 signatures; I don't know. But what I do know is that I have to try.  I love Africa and part of loving it comes with a certain amount of responsibility. A responsibility to try and protect its natural resources and the very thing that makes Africa what it is.  I can't in good conscience sit back and watch fellow humans continue to destroy something that I love. I have to speak up.

I think that one of the aspects of this company that bothers me the most is that they don't bother looking into where the lions come from, what happens to them, how did they get there. They bury their heads in the sand and say, "we don't interfere in their [the suppliers'] business and they don't interfere in ours." And that's the root of the problem. Not caring to delve deeper into the origins of meat you're selling or the history and current state of the species you're making a profit from is a big giant red flag waving in the wind.

If these "businessmen" don't care enough to learn these very basic details, what makes you think they care about the quality of their products, not to mention the fact that they're selling the meat of an endangered species? Look, I know humans by nature want to try new and "exotic" things. But instead of  thinking that you have to try lion meat because it's exotic, why don't you do some research into what it is you're contemplating eating? If you're going to eat something because it's an "experience" and you just get off on eating an exotic animal or an apex predator, then no need to read further because I doubt I'll be able to get through to you because your eating of this animal is all about ego. Your ego. Screw the endangered animals out there; I want to eat a Siberian tiger! You're beyond help.

However, if you actually care about the survival of a species, please think twice before ordering a lion steak just being it's a lion steak. Stop and think about it. This is the African lion we're talking about! A beautiful, noble, iconic, gorgeous creature! All I ask is that you think twice before ordering a lion steak just being it's a lion steak. Chances are you'll be just as happy with a beef steak. Or a tofu burger. Who knows. But know what you're eating.

When the African lion becomes extinct, I guess you can proudly say, "Yes, children, there are no more lions to be found in the world except a few zoos. You can see what they looked like by Googling them. Or actually pick up a book. But I sure did enjoy that lion steak I ate. Too bad it had to go extinct."

Good luck with that.

Male lion, photo taken by the author in the Masai Mara, 
August 2012.

One of the Marsh Pride lions, taken by the author in the Masai Mara, 
August 2012.

Animals Matter. Lions Matter. They matter so much, in fact, that we don't need to eat them.

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