Legal hunting … solution, panacea or murder?

Africa Geographic is one of the pages that I follow on Facebook. An article today prompted from me this post. The AG blog gives all the relevant information … wrote this as a direct answer to the blog, as a reply to one of the commentators in the blog and I am writing this again here. And I will say it again and again and again … “Do two wrongs make a right? Kenya may or may not be right in the no hunting policy. South Africa May or may not be right in its commercial breeding plans. But does it give any of us the right to accept that canned hunting is right? If you are fighting a battle to increase numbers then even an ancient rhino killed is one number less. If people have the money and the concern to save wildlife, ensure that the money is used to save wildlife. Don’t buy a hunting license with it! But if it’s a sop to your conscience – hey, you are just another poacher. Just another murderer. Instead of auctioning hunting rights how about auctioning conservation rights? How about auctioning a publicity campaign for those who are animal protectors? How about auctioning a special safari trip with a professional wildlife photographer who gives you his copyright to some stunning photos that Nat geo may buy off you and make you richer? There are a zillion options … Positive options …”

I got, within a couple of hours, this reply.

“I hear what you’re saying Swati, but unless we realise and acknowledge that there are people that need to earn money from farming rhino and create the environment in which it is legally possible and profitable, the battle is lost.

I can see you don’t like to solution, but you should ask yourself what is more important: You opinion and feeling or the survival of the rhino?

Most so-called environmentalists actually consider their particular feelings about something more important than the survival of that which they pretend to protecting. If that was not the case, they would consider the options that have been proven to work, but they don’t. Quite arrogant and selfish, don’t you think?”

This is what I had to say in reply …

“First I need to say to you a thank-you. Often and often people reply with their egos! I truly appreciate your taking the effort. Mainly because discussion and education is what I think is probably the only real solution to almost any problem created by man. This is going to be a long reply and ask that you bear with me in patience.

I do not have any claim to either professional knowledge, being an environmentalist or having a “holier than thou” attitude – not even being a vegan. A vegetarian, yes. I am also trying to be an ethical shopper. I certainly recycle my plastic and glass. I carry cloth bags to the market. But by no means do I have the right to preach.

I do claim a right to air my views. And I am perfectly willing to hear all sides of a story. Not to sit in judgement but to be informed and thus to try to be a better creature on earth.

So, in reply to what you say to me … yes, I can see that human beings need money to survive. We all do. We all have aspirations to improve our material lot. So – make money. Fine. But surely there are ways and ways to make money? Does it have to be at the cost of another creature’s life? To say that the said rhino is old and will anyway be culled or be killed in the natural scheme of things and this may as well generate revenue – yes, its an emotional response when I say I don’t agree with this philosophy. To be perfectly honest, I have always believed we don’t have the right to take another life. Whatever form. This is nothing religious. Just a personal sentiment. So, am I thrilled with the above argument? No. Am I being idealistic in hoping people will give their surplus funds (and anyone buying anything at any auction has surplus funds, I am sure!) for the same cause without killing? Maybe. What is really wrong with idealism?

We have got to a stage in our thinking where we justify violence. One man’s fight for independence is after all another man’s terrorist attack. So whose side do we take? And if we use the certain-death-can-at-least-be-profitable argument, are we not just one step away from applying it on fellow humans? Today its a rhino. Tomorrow it will be the fast dwindling ethnic races, tribals, aborigines … in some societies women and children!! There are after all plenty of countries where the male female ratio is lopsided, that are ageing populations … if its necessary to correct that balance someday, is this the kind of logic we will apply?

Lots of this is tangential arguing. But my primary and only question is this “Why is no one even willing to look for a POSITIVE, PEACEFUL solution”?”

Hopefully, this discussion will continue with no acrimony or will end for a happy reason!