Public outrage over the killing of Cecil the lion hasn’t just drawn attention to the problems of trophy hunting. It’s also made for an opportune moment for politicians and activists to further their causes.
Walter Palmer, the American hunter behind the lion’s death, has been condemned in the media, on social media, and right outside his own office after news spread of Cecil’s death on a private game reserve near a national park in Zimbabwe this week. But Cecil’s death has quickly become a flashpoint for debating other issues.
Here’s a sampling of some of the opportunists using the incident to further their aims:
US Republican senator and presidential candidate Marco Rubio has seized the moment to draw attention to a cause and organization he deplores: the pro-choice movement and Planned Parenthood. (The organization has been mired in controversy over videos released of its officials appearing to negotiate the sale of aborted fetuses.)
Rubio is not the only politician to connect a dead lion to abortion. Former governor of Arkansas and another Republican party presidential hopeful, Mike Huckabee, was a bit more explicit:
Anti-abortion activists, in general
A like-minded Twitter user suggested people symbolically name babies killed in Planned Parenthood procedures after Cecil the lion:
The Virginia-based Radiance Foundation even used a bit of wordplay to slam American activist and president of the Planned Parenthood movement, Cecile Richards.
There was also criticism over the coverage time American news networks devoted to Cecil:
Digiday reported that news of the lion’s killing garnered over 670,000 tweets within 24 hours of when his killing was first reported, and some anti-abortion activists see an opportunity where everyone else sees a dead lion: