90% of the outrage at the shooting of this dominant male stag can be discounted as pure humbug. People are not angry that an animal was killed, for pleasure or necessity. They are disconcerted that their ideal of beauty and solitary power has been usurped. If this had been a slug instead of a ‘magnificent’ Monarch of the Glen (below) nobody would turn a hair. But as a cultural icon of indomitable resourcefulness and dignified leadership, ‘Emperor’ was almost a divine presence. And so his killing was more an act of blasphemy than cruelty.
There would in fact be more outrage if Landseer’s idealisation was officially destroyed. It is our identities which feel outraged by this killing, not any sense of sympathy for a wild animal.