June 10, 2011

Dumb Animals

I'm not the only one disgusted.

Spoiler alert: the dumb animals are us.

Thanks to poaching for a completely made up reason, there are now 7 Northern white rhinos left in the world. One captive Northern white rhino died recently in a zoo in the Czech Republic, leaving the captive count to 3. And two of them are what some call reproductively challenged. Also, old. So there's no captive breeding, period. Those 4 that were shipped of to Africa a 18 months ago better be making babies STAT.

Angalifu likely represents exactly 1/3 of his species.

It's long been known that rhino horn is used as a traditional Chinese medicine, supposedly curing everything from fevers to AIDS. First, we can ignore the obvious logic that if rhino horn did cure anything, we'd be raising rhinos for the exact purpose of harvesting their horns. Now that all reason is removed, let's look at China, one of the biggest players in the rhino horn black market. One man, the retired head of the National Traditional Chinese Medicine Strategy Research Project, believes it's only a matter of time until rhinos are bred for their horn, and is actively trying to re-legalize the use of rhino horn in traditional Chinese medicine. At least this guy (Jia Qian) is 70 and doesn't have his whole life left to see his goal realized, and if he does rely on rhino horn for his medicine he should be dead pretty darn soon. So that's good.

But in the meantime, Jia believes
"the reason the Chinese government hasn't used rhino horn for these diseases is because some people were Western trained and tainted by Western thought. Other people were weak and gave in to foreign pressure."
Fuck you, Jia. Western scientists have intensely scrutinized rhino horn to see if there is anything even remotely worth using for the benefit of our own species and there's absolutely nothing. It's just hair. Simple hair formed in an unusual way (no other animal has a horn made entirely of hair), but not miraculous and certainly not medicinal. But he, and others, believe strongly in its use and advocate breeding "endangered medicinal-use animals" to deal with the increase in demand.

However, and this is a big point, the only reason there's an increase in demand is because Jia and the Chinese government are encouraging its citizens to use rhino horn. There's already a rhino farm where 60 or so white rhinos are kept in concrete pens (under the guise of creating an African safari-type park for tourism, despite the fact that plans for this park halted over two years ago) and are used in horn harvesting experiments (under another guise of reintroducing the animals into the wild through breeding centers) which is 100% against CITES and definitely not why South Africa gave them to China. What does China gain by doing something the vast majority of the world disagrees with? Why does China eat dogs?

Nola, the sweetest girl to live out most of her species. She's 1/7 her population.

But here's some good news: South Africa just sentenced 2 poachers to 16 years in prison after catching them red handed - literally - with a freshly cut rhino horn that they later matched with DNA analysis to a dead rhino. And then in Kenya some poachers shot an elephant with poison arrows, killed it, roasted its meat, and then died from eating poisoned elephant. Serves you all right, you fucking assholes.

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