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PETA Calls for Hanging of Dentist Who Shot Cecil the Lion

Last month, a dentist from Eden Prairie, Minnesota shot and killed a 13-year-old male lion in Zimbabwe, drawing what can only be described as international outrage after government officials confirmed that the act was illegal and involved a beloved tourist attraction named Cecil.

The outrage over Cecil the lion's death continues.

The outrage over Cecil the lion’s death continues.

Almost overnight, Walter Palmer found himself one of the most sought-after men in the world. After arresting the professional hunter who guided Palmer and the landowner that facilitated the trip, Zimbabwe authorities are now calling for Palmer to be extradited. In addition, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has been reportedly trying to contact Palmer for days and had to post on Twitter and Facebook in an attempt to draw his attention. The agency has not yet specified what kind of charges Palmer could face, but at least one group is calling for the ultimate punishment. In arecent press release, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) called for Palmer’s extradition, conviction, and hanging.

“Hunting is a coward’s pastime. If, as has been reported, this dentist and his guides lured Cecil out of the park with food so as to shoot him on private property, because shooting him in the park would have been illegal, he needs to be extradited, charged, and, preferably, hanged,” PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said.

The statement drew immediate controversy. Many disagreed with PETA’s stance, arguing that Palmer has yet to be tried and that few facts have come to the surface since Cecil the lion was shot on July 1. Palmer himself said in a statement that he believed that the kill was legal and had relied on his guide to obtain the required permits, which did not happen. Since news of Cecil’s death spread late last month, Palmer has received numerous death threats, was forced to close his business, and is now believed to be in hiding in an undisclosed location. Some observers, including hunters, conservationists, and animal rights activists, say they are withholding judgement until Palmer comes forward and court proceedings begin.

The USFWS confirmed that Palmer voluntarily contacted the agency last Friday. He has not yet been charged with a crime, but the United States is under pressure from Zimbabwean officials, who say that the case could have an impact on US-Zimbabwe relations.


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