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We are so damned reasonable about why we kill this planet creature by creature, biome by biome. We are such sophisticated apes, so clever with our tongues. We make laws, frame agreements and sign off on licences by which we tell ourselves this is the right and legal thing to do. It's all well-documented cover for a war we're conducting on all those creatures on earth that we do not eat or keep as pets. We are essentially stealing land and life from species that have accompanied our journey for millions of years. Most people don't seem to be aware of this - or to care.

Last week a lion was baited and then shot in Umbabat, a private reserve in the Greater Kruger National Park. As an environmental journalist, my profession requires me to be objective, to give all sides of the story and let readers make the judgment call. But somehow that lion kill was a lion too far. I'm well aware that, on average, poachers down an elephant in Africa every 15 minutes. That South Africa is losing more than 1000 rhinos a year. That millions of pangolins and shark fins are being turned into Chinese soup. That rain forests are being flattened to plant oil palms so we can fry our fish and chips.But that lion just did it for me. It wasn't just that a rich, egotistic American from Kentucky pumped a bullet into a beautiful wild creature. It was the cascade of justifications that led to its death and followed it to the taxidermist. The sort of justifications that always seem to cloak trophy hunting and the general exploitation of wild animals. The lion was baited with the c...

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