Rhino poaching, rape & rot.

This picture has been going around on Facebook, i don't know the origin, hence no credit.

This picture has been going around on Facebook, i don’t know the origin, hence no credit.

While I find the idea of the rhino poaching in South Africa utterly deplorable, I have to wonder if there isn’t something even worse being pointed out by this situation. Don’t believe me? Here’s a test: This was going around on Twitter & Facebook:

The testicles of a rhino poacher can cure HIV/AIDS, retweet/share people need to know, AIDS must be stopped.

Amusing, for South African readers who are used to everything from beetroot; garlic & olive oil, to sex with a virgin being touted as the cure for AIDS. It’s not really funny, but laughing is perhaps all we have left in a country where this kind of stupidity is common. It’s also not so funny knowing that people are willing to caricature the plight of AIDS victims to make a point for an animal. I find the above comment sexist, so I’m going to change testicles to genitalia, I’m going to change something else for you too.

The genitalia of a rapist can cure HIV/AIDS…

Ever seen that on the social networks?

How about:

The genitalia of a murderer can cure HIV/AIDS…

Or

The genitalia of people who eat battery farmed animals…

Or

The genitalia of people who drink liqour made from grain that starving people could eat…

Am I getting a little close to home yet? How about simply

The genitalia of anyone who believes that humans or animals of any kind exist for their own use &/or abuse (ie. Meat eaters & capitalists)…

For anyone who hasn’t got the point yet, maybe it’s because there’s more than one. By the way, I don’t necessarily have anything against either of the groups in the last example, it’s just that those groups seem to have little awareness of what their actions do to other creatures in the world, including humans. I think we all have very little awareness of the effects of our actions.

First point, I was accused of being an environmentalist the other day. I’m not, I’m for people, I’m just smart enough to realise that people need an environment to live in. I, unfortunately, also realise that not everything in the world serves a purpose to people, but these things probably have as much a right to fight for survival as the rest of us. The reason I put people so high up the list of priorities is that if we don’t cater for people, if we don’t ensure they have access to food; shelter; clothing & water, they are going to do the most terrible things to each other & nature to get what they need.

The second thing is an offshoot of what I stated in the first. Not everything in the world is useful to people, or even the environment. A rhino is a good example of this, the environment could live without it, like the mastodon or quagga. This sounds terrible, & I imagine some people will stop reading now, it’s ok, go tweet how much I suck on your iDontCare. When people are asked why we should save the rhino, the answer is always the same. It’s a terrible answer, it shows a complete disregard for the rhino, & the arrogance of mankind at it’s best. “We must preserve the rhino so our grandchildren can get the opportunity to see them.” Really? Not just because killing for any reason is still just killing. We should keep them around just to look at?

Farm animals are the ones most assured of survival. Why? Because people like to eat them. That’s it, it’s that simple, no one would mourn the cut worm, they are irritating to gardeners; not nice to look at & they aren’t a staple food. Far fewer people mourn the deaths of cattle; sheep; goats; pigs or chickens, than mourn rhino deaths. The key difference here is that we could probably farm rhino for their horns & meat, but since we don’t, they are likely to become extinct, unlike farm animals that we have a good system in place to sustain. I’m not suggesting we do this, just pointing out that people kill animals all the time, we just don’t always feel sorry for them. If you kill a cow for food it’s ok, but meat eaters on my Facebook feed are talking about the cruelty of rhino poaching. They kill the rhino & take the horn, people kill the cow & take the meat, & the difference? The cow was bred to be killed, that is it’s purpose, so it’s ok.

People will, of course, defend their stance by pointing out that the baby rhino in the above picture lost its mother. May I point out that in the dairy industry, bull calves are taken from their mothers within hours, sometimes within an hour, of birth. These calves are then feed lotted on a formula, & sold as veal. People eat them, without a second thought, people drink the milk that the calf should have grown up on without a second though. I fail to see the difference between depriving an animal of it’s mother so we can drink milk, & depriving an animal of it’s mother os we can have a horn, we need do neither to survive.

My next point involves the value placed on life. It’s ok to let people starve, but don’t kill a rhino, that’s evil. I like rhinos, I just think that we aren’t gonna be able to do much for them until society gains a greater respect for life in general. If we can’t even get basic respect for human life, how can we convince people to respect the life of a rhino? How can we teach people it’s wrong to kill a rhino for an incredibly expensive horn, if we say it’s ok to kill a cow for far less valuable meat? We live in a society where money talks, & a rhino horn can buy a lot of steak. How can we get respect for life in a world where the age range for rape victims is from two years old to ninety two years old?

We live in a society where crime; starvation; global warning; rhino poaching & even rape aren’t the primary problems, they just symptoms of a deeper rot. We ignore the rot & try do things about these symptoms. If you have flu, you can take an aspirin, you might feel better for a while, but you’ll still have flu. The reason we focus on the symptoms is that we are the virus, or at least the way we choose to live, I have met plenty of people who say they’d be willing to give up their TVs or cars for a better world, I haven’t met any who actually have. We don’t focus on the real problem, it’s far to close to home, so we make ourselves feel better by focusing on the symptoms & blaming someone else.

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3 thoughts on “Rhino poaching, rape & rot.”

  1. Correction I have once posted:

    “Did you know the testicles of a rhino poacher can cure you of AIDS/HIV. Please post this and share! People need to be cured.”

    As I recall you actually liked it, with a bunch of others who also reposted. Actually these points are made regularly, but perhaps the methods of expressing them simply isn’t reaching those who are still hung up on using “traditional” cures?

    I entered into an arguement just the other day as to why it was okay to eat cows, pigs and sheep, but there was an outcry if someone ate a dog, rabbit or dolphin. This after some 200 dogs were removed from a slaughter house (the cruelty of this story is a whole other discusstion but…) and were humanely destroyed. In the meantime those who would have eaten them would now either go hungry (it’s not just a delicacy but traditional fare in some parts, or at least now deplete another source.

    As with far too many things, it’s all about what is popular at any given time. Instead of looking at the bigger picture, as you point out – We don’t need anything in particular but we do need an environment. If we stop the erradication of the next species… well, then we’ve stopped it all.

    1. Thanks for the comment Paul, but I don’t really think it is as simple as that. Its is true that the bulk of rhino poaching is driven by the Asian market for rhino horn as an aphrodisiac. The poaching isn’t done by those Asians though, it is normally down by people living in poverty, who feel they have no other options. We can raise awareness as much as we like, or try to pull the emotional heart strings of those who care with images like the one above, but at the end of the day, we need to fix the social problems behind the problem. The lack of education among the Asians who use rhino horn is one issue, and the lack of a decent support structure in countries like South Africa (as I write this 455 rhinos have been poached in SA this year, and we have two and a half months left). Without addressing these issues, we can not expect to address the poaching issue. Basically, the activists are addressing the symptom, not the problem. Of course the focus of this post wasn’t on rhino poaching in particular, but on social issues in general, and how we tend to put a low value on life, and the rights of other people and creatures.

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