Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Not Nece-Cecil-ry A Good Thing

I have to say I have my doubts about this current trend of naming and shaming through social media

Not, I hasten to clarify, that I'm in favour of dentists who go shooting furry animals for fun - honestly, at this stage in our evolution I can't help but feel that when the robots finally rise up and overpower us we will, if we have decimated the planet for fun and profit, somehow deserve it.

But what are we trying to achieve here?  I mean, Cecil won't be any less dead will he?

And of course Cecil is merely the tip of a much bigger iceberg.  About a year ago now, on her honeymoon, a friend of mine went to a zoo in Thailand where she and her husband were invited to stroke and cuddle with some "tame" lions - sounds innocent enough so far, but after the event I looked into this and found out that lions and other animals are specifically bred and treated this way in some zoos so that they will approach the nice hunters when they get too old to be cute.

Even despite the game reserves, zoos and preservation attempts we are losing the battle because there is always a quick buck to be made by a local trying to put food on their family's plate, not worrying that their trade will be gone once the species has failed.

And again: I want to make it clear that I think shooting and killing something for fun is shameful and wrong and should be consigned to the history books - but I question the value of naming and shaming.

Firstly - if these people were happy to be photographed with their dead prey is it really likely that a few hundred people sharing their photo is going to change their minds or make it any less socially acceptable?  Right now in the UK a very strong Conservative party is motioning to relax some of the rules and regulations around Fox Hunting - something that surely no one was calling for.  We all understand the need to control vermin and pests to livestock - the problem we have is dressing in red outfits, yelling Tally Ho and making a day of it.

And yet it persists - does the tide of public opinion against people going fox hunting stop even a single hunt?  Somehow I doubt it.

Secondly - have we thought about the ramifications.  OK so you and your immediate friends might be level headed individuals ready to yell "shame", but sooner or later that post is going to reach someone willing to take the law into their own hands.  Sure: what this dentist did was not very nice, but the guy may well lose his business, has had death and arson threats and is probably at threat of having his friends and family reproached by association.

A few years ago there was a famous case in the UK of a farm that was breeding animals for fur - there was an almighty clash as animal rights protesters blockaded the house, throwing firebombs at the buildings.  Whilst I respect the feelings of these people that unnecessary cruelty to animals is a bad thing, I cannot condone actions to stop it that bring us to the level of animals ourselves.

Is that really what we want?  What problem would that solve exactly?  Surely responding in this way makes us as bad as the killer with the gun in his hand.

By all means protest, sign petitions, contact your local politician and continue to work for a world where this sort of thing no longer happens - but don't endanger someone's life in the process


Stephen Hayes said...

I need to think about this. Shame is a successful way of altering bad behavior, if it isn't done in excess. Our society tends to protect people who do bad things by protecting their identity, which encourages some people to do bad things. The solution to this is above my pay grade.

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

Herself and I had a heated debate about this subject - the problem i have at the end of the day is that in a civilised society we need to have rules and regulations and sometimes those let us down or don't chime with our beliefs - but there would be anarchy if everyone decided just to take the law into their own hands and impose their own justice, and i guess that's what worries me about this name and shame on social media: that we are pronouncing ourselves judges and jury