This week I almost got tricked.
The news this week covers the shooting down of a helicopter and unfortunate death of a its pilot while he was performing an anti-poaching patrol in Tanzania.
I thought that sounded like a very worthy cause to follow up. I went to the conservation fund’s website and it all seemed to tick all the boxes, so I went to the donations page to check that I would be be able to donate internationally. It had no options for Paypal, so I Googled the name of the charity and ‘donation’ to see what other avenues I could find. And suddenly things looked a bit different.
It turns out that their major (and I mean tens of thousands of dollars) major sponsors…are a number of big North American hunting safari organisations. Ouch.
So it’s ‘ out of the poaching pan and into the line of fire?!’ …
It seems that in this brand of ‘conservation’ African animals are to be saved from being killed by poor people, so they can be killed by rich people instead…
Justifying their support to the ‘conservation foundation’ (who has their logo on its donated microlight patrol plane), a major hunting sponsor says…
In theory, anti-poaching efforts also increase the trophy quality of animals. If mature males of any species are considered trophies, then by providing the opportunity to achieve mature status will translate to more quality animals.
These groups like to validate themselves by equating hunting dollars with ongoing conservation. They may or may not have a case. I will leave you to Google, there is a lot there about it.
Dave Mustaine from Megadeth deserves the last word though, for this great song…
Countdown To Extinction
Endangered species, caged in fright
Shot in cold blood, no chance to fight
The stage in set, now pay the price
An ego boost don’t think twice
Technology, the battle’s unfair
You pull the hammer without a care
Squeeze the trigger that makes you Man
Pseudo-safari, the hunt is canned …
The hunt is canned
I considered instead supporting another genuinely big hearted organisation, The Australian Rhino Project, that is seeking to protect rhinos by translocating a viable number of them to open plain zoos in Australia.
Rhinos are beautiful and sensitive. Their horns, which poachers gouge out of their faces, contain nothing more than keratin, which you can chew your own fingernails for…
…But I have thought long and hard about this in the past and I wonder…if a species no longer has a place for it in the wild, is it really any better, from the individual animal’s perspective for them to be kept just ticking along in captivity, so that humans don’t have to bear the shame of causing yet another extinction? It is a tricky one.
What I have taken from this is there are people whose motives are pure, people whose motives appear to be pure and aren’t, and people whose motives are pure in another way…either pure greed (the organised crime gangs behind most poaching), pure selfishness (the wealthy people who continue to buy poached products), or pure survival (the usually very poor people who actually do the poaching).
What I have also taken from this is everything to do with animals is now also actually to do with humans. We truly are living in the Anthropocene epoch.
So this week, I thought, why not approach the main problem facing animals from its roots (literally!).
There are too many people for the earth to support, and we’re expanding (in more ways than one).
A tremendous change occurred with the industrial revolution: whereas it had taken all of human history until around 1800 for world population to reach one billion, the second billion was achieved in only 130 years (1930), the third billion in less than 30 years (1959), the fourth billion in 15 years (1974), and the fifth billion in only 13 years (1987).
The human population of the world today is about 200,000 people greater than yesterday.
We are currently adding a new billion people every 13 years or so. Following current trends, we are projected to reach the 8 billion mark in 2024.
So there is not much room left for wild animals, and a lot more room will needed for the cruel, intensive production of food animals as consumption rises. (The ‘average’ human consumes about 35 tonnes of food in a lifetime).
If someone has the desire or the capacity to have and care for a child, they should absolutely be supported in doing this.
If someone has no desire or no capacity to successfully have, or care for a child, they should absolutely be supported in avoiding an unwanted birth.
So today I am hoping to do something for the earth, its animals and humans by donating to
Our mission is to give people a choice: the choice of when and whether to have children, the choice of what type of family planning methods to use, and the choice of where and how to get them. We’ve been delivering family planning and maternal health services for over 35 years.
In 2013, 15.6 million women using a method of family planning provided by Marie Stopes International.
We have more than 600 centres in 37 countries around the world where clients can access these services, but the majority of our work is carried out by clinical outreach teams in remote, inaccessible and under-served communities that cannot reach our centres.
Speaking of being tricked, another thing I learnt yesterday, is that week in, week out many of us are also being tricked by a low price point into supporting the Italian mafia and slave labour…I always wondered how those tins of Italian tomatoes were so cheap, and here is the answer, courtesy of the Weekend Australian 30-31 Jan 2016. There is actually a lot of information about this on the internet going back years. I am shocked to only learn this now.
Agriculture is widely accepted to be the Italian economic sector most scarred by organised crime, enmeshing supply chains all the way from the fields to the supermarket
The caporali , (the ‘corporals’) can make thousands of euros a day while their “slaves” receive just €20 before costs are removed. “They refuse to allow workers to bring food or water, they force them to pay €5 each for transport to the fields and to return to the ghettoes to sleep at night. They sell food, panini for €3.50 and bottles of water for €1.50.
Often they take workers’ papers, if they have any documents at all, using this as leverage to keep them from fleeing and making them a kind of slave.
They charge them rent in the ghettoes. They even make them pay for old tyres to burn for heat and warmth in winter.”
Another great reason to grow your own, buy from farmer’s market and buy Australian!!
If you are thinking of visiting or volunteering in Africa, here is a list to help you decide where to go…