This is a poached rhino. This rhino is still alive when this short, horrifying video was shot.
It’s horrible. Watch it. Share it. This is the face of human greed upon the planet.
Ugly, isn’t it?
I hate to have to share some of the links in this story – but this is what I promised to share with a co-worker with whom I was having a lively discussion about animals and politics, rights and economics today, and realized more might benefit from seeing the links and issues involved..
We were talking about government, laws, human nature, and capitalism and its effects (both positive and negative) on the planet – Not just on the people, but on all life. Full disclosure – He is a conservative, I am – Well, I am for whatever I feel is the answer. Not affiliated with any party but leaning less conservative than liberal.
We started with a discussion on the way to save animals – He feels that the way to save rhinos from extinction is to make them pay their way, or (should tourism not be enough to stem the tide of poaching), farm them and ‘collect the horns from old animals that die natural deaths’. He feels that only private ownership of wild lands and species can protect them from other interests. (if someone ‘owned’ the whales, there would be legal recourse if anyone killed them’, is his logic.)
It sounds more like slavery to me, and a Pandora’s box of more abuses, but . . .
Well, that triggered a branching conversation that meandered from factory farms to wildlife policy in the US to gun rights and hunting and trapping impacts on innocent citizens and pets, to public lands ranching..
And, yes, to rhinos. And elephants, too.
He cited The Tragedy of the Commons as justification for private ownership of animals, lands and resources, claiming that private property would not be used up and exploited like public lands are.
I counter that it depends on who owns it. If a coal company buys a mountain, it’s pretty clear what will happen.
His counter was that then it just needs to be regulated with laws – Which, to me, kind of flies in the face of the usual ‘less government’ argument served up by most conservatives.
But, truly, when it comes down to t, his heart is actually in the right place. In my opinion his logic is flawed, but the end result he wants is the same as what I want.
So I began by educating him about the horrors of most animal ‘farms’.
I included graphic, no-holds barred links to Asian fur farms. And this doesn’t include the domestic dogs and cats used in the ‘faux fur’ garments imported from Asia (the raccoon dogs in this video are actually dogs, wild canids, like foxes, not raccoon’s, but not the same domestic pet dogs used in some ‘faux’ fur garments.). But – this is FACT.- Animals are tortured and skinned while still alive, because they claim the skin comes off more easily if there’s blood flow. WARNING: VIDEO NOT FOR THE SQUEAMISH and not for children to see!
This is the truth of what happens to animals that are ‘farmed’.
This is what happens when a living being becomes a commodity.
There are a LOT of other videos, some worse than this, but I can’t sit and watch them any more, I’ve seen enough and my soul and heart are damaged forever. So I didn’t screen the link I sent except for a minute – I can’t keep subjecting myself to witnessing these horrors any longer.
You’ve seen factory farming, and the slaughter industry (NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART) and those trying to silence whistleblowers.
This is horrific, as is this.
Have you seen bear-bile farming?
Pigs, chickens, sheep, cows, dogs, cats, horses -What’s the difference, really? They all think, feel, fear, suffer – All for our convenience and addiction to meat (which isn’t as healthy as a vegan diet anyway). It’s a taste we’re trained to crave as babies – Not a necessity (and certainly not as a daily throw-away dollar menu meal!) We could feed the world with the grain we waste on growing just a few hundred cattle to market. We could spare the Amazon rain forest if not for the demand for cheap grazing to produce cheap burgers. Not cost-effective, not wise, not sustainable or healthy.
We could, instead, encourage more backyard gardens, undo all the marketing damage done by meat and seafood producers trying to drum up still more sales. Look at TV, all the ads for meat – Much of the reflex to go buy meat is the result of advertising, not actual need.
Look at our beleaguered oceans and rapidly vanishing fisheries, swept clean in the relentless pursuit of sushi, fertilizer, for cheap fast-food fish sandwiches and super-elitist (horrendously cruel and wasteful) shark fin.
Is robbing the sea until it’s barren, to enrich a leached, over-exploited field, even rational?
Is the luxury of a brief taste of this expensively-gotten (from all meaningful perspectives) flesh, worth it?
Is ‘free enterprise’ the reason we treat animals so callously, or is it just the human condition to put selfish needs before the welfare of the planet and other life? Can (the quest for) unbridled economic growth work to benefit the Earth or only to damage her? When money is paramount, does conscience ever enter into our barbarism toward the animals we use to grow our bank accounts?
And is this concept of ‘personal freedom’ and personal and state’s ‘rights’ really able to justify the stealing of rights, of life, of a future, for other beings and ecosystems?
Here’s some thinking material from a Jewish perspective, with an idea that might (maybe) be an alternative to slaughtering animals for food while still allowing people to indulge in a burger.
The excuse ‘but we shot/killed/grew it to eat it’ is a shallow and feeble defense, should one substitute child, or grand parent, or disabled mom, for cow. Or chicken. Or wolf. Or elk. We don’t need to be able to eat everything and anything we want, anything alive and mobile and desperately struggling to live. We have a choice. We have the concept of ethics, compassion, intellect. We can choose to not kill and torture for food when we can just as easily boil turnip roots, toss a salad, stir warm oatmeal, nibble on delicious healthy almonds or pack a few apples and bananas as snacks.
Better for you, better for the planet, and you don’t have to be part of bloodshed because you had a hunger twinge on the way home from work.
We don’t have to place the rights of a minority of lethal stake holders (hunters and trappers, for instance) to kill our wildlife, the wilderness our taxes are used to maintain and protect, above the rights of the majority who want to see the animals and wild places left alone, unsullied by human carnage done in the name of a grisly and increasingly contested ‘sport’.
The arguments for protecting people, livestock, pets and non-target animals, at the very least, from hunters, are strong. It seems every day there are unpardonable lapses in the judgment (or intellect) of hunters, who mistake gulf-war vets for black bears, ladies putting out their laundry on their back porches for deer, and malamutes running with flashing, lighted collars and a skier, for a wolf.
Yet the ones with all the rights seem to be the killers. The victims are habitually blamed for being wrong, even for simply stepping foot on their own back deck during hunting season. If your dog is killed in a Conibear trap set in your back yard by a trapper, you probably won’t be able to sue the trapper. But if you dare move his lethal plaything, he has a right to sue you.
Where is the defense of the rights of the victims?
Why is it OK for a few blood-sport thrill seekers to hold a nation hostage during long (and ever lengthening) hunting and trapping seasons?
Well, I bet there is money and votes involved – That and a desperation to cling to an increasingly controversial ‘sport’ that more and more people want to see outlawed. What do you think? And of course, juries stacked with other ardent hunters fearful of losing the right to indulge their bloody ‘tradition’ will vote in favor of who – ?
Should hunters have to pass tests in all states to prove they can distinguish a wolf from a German Shepherd or a malamute, a deer from a pony or a bear from a hiker, or if they can’t, just not take the shot, before they’re allowed to carry a loaded gun into the field? Would it make any difference?
Should trappers be allowed to set their lethal, torturous killing machines all over our public lands and even on and near other people’s private property and then be held innocent should the family dog or cat, or an endangered or other ‘trash’ non-target animal fall victim?
It happens that way more often than not.
Which means certain other rights, like for you and me, our beloved pets, and nature and animals, must be waived.
Look up the King Amendment. That guy wants to role back laws about dog fighting and all other ‘pesky’ humane and animal welfare/natural preservation laws. (I won’t mention the R next to his name). In this case the states should trump the Feds if this bill goes through. But the states are also botching ‘wolf management’ so badly that it’s becoming more and more imperative to put our surviving wolves back into the hands of the Feds for protection. And yes, both Rs and Ds are to blame, and both are piling on the bandwagon for some of the worst proposed assaults on wildlife and wild lands, because it’s all about votes, and money controls the votes. And if certain people don’t get their way, they block anything else from moving forward in Washington.
There are no easy or pat answers – The issues are too complex. But, nature is non-negotiable. We need nature, biodiversity, intact, fully functioning ecosystems, if nothing else (if we want to be totally selfish) as buffers against our stupidity and ignorance. They also have an intrinsic, if not God-given right to exist, and exist without human meddling.
As for farming wild animals like rhinos or bears or chinchillas (there are still chinchilla fur farms) – Yes these species are still in existence because of ‘farming’ – But – This is not conservation, it’s an absolute, horrific, unconscionable nightmare of a ‘life’. And then they die a torturous death.
Can you imagine, even if rhinos or elephants could be somehow ‘mass produced’ in captivity, how they would be treated in order to spur their growth, breed them for ludicrously huge horns or tusks, shortening their miserable lives, restraining and buzz-sawing off their horns (which do bleed and have nerves involved – If you haven’t watched the first video link in this story, do it now) while conscious, then stuffed back into a version of the cattle feed-lot.
Not my rhinos, don’t you dare do that to my rhinos.
There has to be a bill of rights for nature and animals, as some countries are trying to implement, because nature can not ‘compete’ in our unnatural, abstract, monetary, greedy world view. BUT – Nature earns its keep simply by existing, by keeping the planet healthy and functioning, and by the same right other nations have to exist – Just exist, for their own purpose, no matter if we personally like it, approve, benefit or not.
It’s just the right thing to do.
This link is to a fairly balanced discussion on the rights of nature, and if it’s possible to enforce the law if a bill is enacted to protect them, as in Bolivia and Ecuador..
Another observation on farming rhinos as a solution to rhino poaching – Bison (once almost slaughtered into oblivion, as you know) are now being slaughtered and hazed, treated as vermin because they are in the way of industry and energy extraction and seen, of all things, as a danger to the cattle industry.
They are also now being domesticated. Animals that end up domesticated and farmed are changed to suit the market. At least zoos breed to preserve the integrity of species, with Species Survival Plan genetic records and infusions where possible of new, unrelated and wild blood and intentional refusal to knowingly ‘select’ for larger horns, prettier colors, nice personalities or whatever. Nature is the only one suited to performing true natural selection. Humans always have a bias, even if unconscious, so as soon as possible, captive breeding stock must be released into suitable habitat to keep the pure species intact.
It goes without saying that we’ve seen the monstrosities we produce when we farm animals for profit – Chickens and turkey that grow so fast and with such disproportionately large breasts that they can’t stand up without breaking their fragile bones, for instance.
Surely we can’t allow farms to wreak the same havoc on more species.
As for elephants and rhinos, I would never wish being farmed on rhinos or elephants or whales or any other creature – Raising animals as commodities (for parts), always ends up with the well being of the animal being abandoned for increased profits. The quest for profit, run amok, is a lethal, heartless, greedy business.
Farm animals are castrated without anesthesia, some wool sheep breeds have the skin removed from their backsides (called mulesing, and done without pain killers) to prevent flies (that HURTS!) , chicks have their beaks burned off (their beaks do have nerve endings in them – They feel what they are foraging for from sensory feedback), piglets and lambs have their tails chopped off (again without anesthesia) and more – The livestock industry does not have to abide by any humane laws. These animals are often gutted and quartered while still alive – All in the name of ever-increasing margins.
Some say we ‘need’ beef or we’ll starve.
We do? In the old days, one meal a week MIGHT be chicken, if you were wealthy. Maybe a pig or cow would be slaughtered for an annual celebration.
Now we expect cheap hamburgers 3 times a day, raised on slash and burn rain-forests that become deserts in a couple years. The resulting loss of biodiversity and the ‘lungs’ of the rain forests is only exacerbating climate problems.
The reason we eat so much meat now is because, in truth, the livestock industry gets a lot of government help, hand-outs, subsidies and finds more and more ways to undercut the prices of fruits and veggies, making it literally more affordable to buy a burger at McDs than buy salad ‘fixin’s’ at the grocery store – which isn’t the way it used to be, and is a huge contributing factor to environmental and human health deterioration, and global desertification. (degrading the environment and in the process creating new human-caused deserts).
Here’s a link to how damaging ranching really is to the planet and native wildlife communities.
By the way I am not a PETA supporter nor do I support the hypocrisy of the HSUS. But like stopped clocks, both are right twice a day.
This is why we need an adult in the room, someone who must must control the masses in some ways. You can’t yell FIRE in a crowded theater, you can’t run a red light, you can’t practice medicine without a license. Why is legislating the end of brutality and unsustainable’use’ of animals and lands, not in the same category? It is all, in the end, for the public good – Long term. Not our quick-fix society view.
Oh, and did you know that our taxes are being used to fund a (until recently) secret agency called Wildlife Services, (new, important video at link), who’s main reason for being is to go out into the wild and exterminate predators wholesale, and trap ‘vermin’ (beavers, muskrats, nutria, and whatever other unfortunate creature blunder into the ‘sets’) – And they post their bloody ‘trophies’ to brag to their friends, and they are protected by our Gov (USDA). Here’s a petition link from Defenders of Wildlife challenging.the practices of Wildlife Services.
Watch the videos I took all night selecting for you – They’re just the tip of the iceberg. As you get more involved you will see- the patterns, the people, the politics, the money – all the sticky, evil threads of this human web of destruction and disrespect for life and the rights of others, (including disrespect for the people fighting it all and fighting for the planet), that we are weaving.
I’m a ‘people’; where are my rights when they decide to clear-cut the last habitat of the spotted owl , which I want alive as a viable wild species? Where are my rights and why are they trumped by a greedy corporation which may not even be based in the US (like some logging firms)? Why are contracts sold to people to log and sell my and your forests in our National Parks, or trap and murder my minks and bobcats to sell the pelts, so they can profit at the expense of the rest of us who want the forest andminks left alone? If I’m paying for that with my taxes, shouldn’t I actually be entitled to part of the proceeds (not that I’d want blood money, but you understand what I’m getting at.)
It seems we just can’t keep up with it all by trying to tackle environmental and wildlife protection one issue at a time. It’s like a game of ‘whack-a-mole’ – You try to stop one bill and two more pop up elsewhere. You try to block one mining project and three drilling operations are slated to take place somewhere else.
Back to the video we started with:
This poached rhino was – nightmarishly – still alive in this video. The video is the stuff of nightmares but it proves one thing: When animals are seen as a commodity, they actually lose their worth as living beings in the eyes of exploiters
Maybe we do need to pass a bill of rights for the Earth; an all-encompassing law that puts humans back in our place as guests on this planet.
Oh, here’s that list I told you about in my last post – I’m sure it’s been updated with tragic new species losses just in the last couple days.
Read it and weep.
*Story edited with updates and minor revisions 12/1/13