AVMA’s statement regarding the death of Cecil the lion

All over the world, people are expressing their shock and horror over the killing of Cecil, a famous lion that lived in a protected reserve in Zimbabwe. According to media reports, an American trophy hunter paid $50,000 (USD) to hunt the lion. Also according to media reports, the lion was illegally baited into leaving the protected area of the park, shot with a bow and arrow, and suffered for 40 hours until he was shot, skinned and beheaded.

We are profoundly saddened by Cecil’s death under these circumstances.

We don’t want to make this a debate about hunting in general or trophy hunting; we know advocates and opponents hold strong opinions. No matter how you feel about these activities, it appears that Cecil suffered an inhumane death caused by actions that were illegal. The AVMA’s Animal Welfare Principles state that “The responsible use of animals for human purposes, such as companionship, food, fiber, recreation, work, education, exhibition, and research conducted for the benefit of both humans and animals, is consistent with the Veterinarian’s Oath.” The Principles also state that “Conservation and management of animal populations should be humane, socially responsible, and scientifically prudent,” and that “Animals shall be treated with respect and dignity throughout their lives and, when necessary, provided a humane death.” It goes without saying that any activity involving animals, including hunting, should be pursued within the law. In addition, the valuable research information lost with Cecil’s death could have a long-lasting negative impact on global conservation efforts.

If the allegations regarding Cecil’s death are true, we are truly horrified and share the outrage over the circumstances of his death. We encourage the authorities to fully investigate the matter and take appropriate actions to penalize the offenders, as well as increase protection and enforcement efforts to prevent this from occurring again. But we ask that the outraged people not take out their anger on the hunter’s place of work, his coworkers and Yelp or Google review pages. In Cecil’s memory, act positively by supporting global conservation efforts. Let’s make Cecil’s impact on the future outlast the shame and horror associated with his premature death.


12 thoughts on “AVMA’s statement regarding the death of Cecil the lion

  1. Shooting Cecil is inhumane but thumping the heads of healthy, day old piglets is “humane”: Hot on Facebook: Euthanasia of Suckling Pigs Using Blunt Force Trauma

    Who can be irresponsible enough to take this organization seriously?

  2. If you ask me, it was wrong for the public to vent their ire directly on the dentist. Harassing him and his family is just plainly wrong, though he need to be brought to justice if he broke any laws. Though I still condemn what he did to Cecil, it’s more worthwhile to turn the ire into something more productive.

    Anyway, I do hope conservation efforts will increase exponentially after this. RIP Cecil.

  3. I’m a little surprised that you posted the inhumanity of this kill yet didn’t say much about the Kristen Lindsay kill. Disappointed.

  4. It seems the hundreds of thousands of $$$ spent on killing could be better spent on conservation. They’ll argue that THIS IS conservation, but it’s just a license to kill. Perhaps they should spend their time and $$ in a way the benefits the animals…before they’re all gone. Maybe they could pay a small fortune to go out in the field and, instead of killing, DART the animal, assist with whatever research/vetting/tagging/collaring, etc is needed, take their “trophy” photos, and when done, both the “hunter” and the animals go their separate and happy ways.

    • Dawn, Do you realize that in many states there would be very few ducks, geese, pheasants, deers and other animals if it wasn’t for the thousands that hunters pour into conservation.

      One lion whose death fed a couple of families and provided funds into the local economy. Why is there such an uproar over this and nothing about several murders in our country and the thousands of babies that are being tortured before being killed? I think we have our priorities screwed up.

  5. Thank you to the AVMA. Even with major organizations such as the AVMA taking a mild stance against unnecessary and sport killing,people like Dr. Palmer and Dr. Kristen Lindsey will continue to get away with murder for decades or centuries to come. Sad.

  6. “Animals shall be treated with respect and dignity throughout their lives and, when necessary, provided a humane death.” How I wish that were actually enforced. Please visit an abattoir and do whatever is within the powers of AVMA to ensure the “respect and dignity” referenced in the Animal Welfare Principles.

  7. Well done AVMA, as all hunters are not evil beings. Hopefully this story will make all if us aware about animal welfare and it’s importance in today’s society. Accuracy, not sensationalism, is vital on this issue.

  8. Well said. Thank you for addressing the hot topic issue in a responsible manner. Speaking out is often difficult as you open yourself up for “attack” from all directions but. the AVMA addressed this appropriately. Nicely done!