U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez’s staff must have worked into the wee hours to come up with an appropriate acronym to identify some legislation that reacts to the death of a beloved lion in Zimbabwe.
It’s called — get ready for this, as it’s a mouthful — the Conserving Ecosystems by Ceasing the Importation of Large Animal Trophies Act.
The legislation is named in memory of Cecil the Lion, the beast that was killed by American dentist Walter Palmer, who paid 50 grand to hunt the lion that had become a favorite of tourists to the national park in Zimbabwe where he lived.
Palmer’s deed has caused significant outrage around the world. Cecil was a beloved animal. What’s worse, though, is that Palmer’s outfitters lured the animal out of the park — where hunting is prohibited — and into a free-fire zone, where Palmer shot Cecil with a crossbow. It gets even more grim. Cecil didn’t die right away. Palmer and his guides looked for hours to find him; then they shot him with a gun, skinned him and beheaded him.
By my definition of the word, this looks like poaching to me.
Back to the New Jersey Democrat’s legislation. It’s a ridiculous use of Congress’s time.
Menendez is upset about Cecil’s death. I am, too. However, I almost always am leery of legislation enacted in a fit of rage over a single act by an irresponsible hunter.
Palmer faces possible extradition to Zimbabwe, where he could be prosecuted for poaching.
The real bad guys in this episode, though, are the guides who went to great lengths to lure the great cat from the national park to a location where he could be shot to death.
If they are as experienced as we’ve all been led to believe they were, they knew what they were doing and they knew where they were. They knew Cecil was protected as long as he remained inside the national park boundary.
Congress need not get involved here. It has many other issues with which it should concern itself.