Today, PETA sent a letter calling on the Minnesota Board of Dentistry to investigate Palmer’s history of illegal and unethical activity, which may be grounds for revocation of his dentistry license. Palmer’s previous unethical actions include pleading guilty in 2008 to the federal felony of making false statements to federal authorities about a black bear he killed in an unauthorized zone in Wisconsin. In 2003, he was convicted in Minnesota of fishing without a license, and in 2009, he settled a sexual harassment lawsuit for more than $127,000 and which led to a corrective action by the Minnesota Board of Dentistry that required him to complete a course in ethics.
“People around the world are outraged at the ‘Minnesota dentist’ who paid tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege of callously killing a beloved, protected lion,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA is calling on the Minnesota Board of Dentistry to spare their profession further discredit by showing this miserable trophy hunter the door.”
PETA points out that Minnesota law allows for disciplinary action against dentists who have committed an act of “moral turpitude” or “gross immorality” or engaged in “conduct unbecoming a person licensed to practice dentistry.” Palmer has admitted that he shot Cecil, and after killing him, there was an attempt to hide his tracking collar. U.S. authorities are investigating Palmer’s actions, and Zimbabwean authorities have labeled him a “poacher” and called for his extradition.