Families (averaging 8 people) had enough land on
which to grow subsistence crops and communal grazing lands on which
to feed their domestic cattle and goats. However with the growth of
Africa’s population, rural communities were by the year 2000, under
severe strain to survive on their land and they looked across the
game fences and resentment grew against the wildlife authorities who
refused them access to what they perceived to be "their" natural
resources. With increasing unemployment, poverty and hunger it
should come as no surprise that Africa is witnessing a dramatic rise
in subsistence poaching that has been termed the "bush meat trade".
Conflicts between wildlife protection agencies and
impoverished and hungry communities bordering on protected wildlife
areas are also steeply on the rise and will continue to do so as
people become more desperate to "illegally" use natural resources
for their survival.
Africa’s population, poverty and poaching
The same small piece of land that could
support 8 people in the 1950’s was now unable to support
40 people in the year 2000
It was announced in September 2009 by an
international food aid agency that the number of hungry,
malnourished and starving people had for the first time in mans
history topped the one billion mark! It was also stated that a child
dies somewhere in the world from hunger related causes every 6
seconds – this equates to 600 an hour or 14 400 every 24 hours.
It was announced in the same month that the world
population had reached seven billion and was still growing –
especially in undeveloped or developing nations!
By the year 2000 rural populations in Africa had
increased five fold and were doubling every 20 years. The same small
piece of land that could support 8 people in the 1950’s was now
unable to support 40 people in the year 2000. With current trends
being perpetuated there will be no less than 80 people trying to
wrest a living from the same piece of land by the year 2020 and 160
Global warming, it is predicted, will also have a
significant affect on land productivity in Africa in the foreseeable
future and the problems of hunger and disease are set to increase
and be made worse by drought, localized flooding and other global
A large proportion of hungry and poverty stricken
peoples are situated on the continent of Africa. The huge bush meat
poaching pandemic across the continent is poverty, hunger and
population driven. To refuse people access to or utilization of
Africa’s wild animal and plant resources will result in conflict on
an unprecedented scale. Paramilitary type ranger forces will never
be able to stem the tide.
The only hope for Africa’s wildlife is to use it for
the benefit of the masses in a sustainable way so that it can
in some way provide relief from poverty and hunger.
Locking up resources
If all the animal rights activists got
to together in one place would they be prepared to
commit mass suicide in the interests of relieving the
pressure on "mother earth’s" natural resources?
Locking away and denying access to natural resources
or limiting the options in which they may be sustainably utilized is
no answer to the problem and in fact is a sure way of exacerbating
the unchecked and illegal utilization currently underway. Many
conservation authorities in countries in Africa, of which a number
are to be found in South Africa, will have to undergo a colonial era
mindset change, if wildlife is to survive.
We cannot afford to not utilize wildlife
products and ecotourism in and of itself is not the answer.
It might provide jobs and poverty alleviation for a
small number of the disenfranchised populace but if the majority
does not benefit directly in some meaningful way – like food on the
table or money in the pocket – wildlife conservation and
preservation efforts on this continent are doomed to failure.
It must never be forgotten that in Africa majority
rules – and the majority are poor and hungry! To allow people with
limited vision and / or animal rights groups to advocate policies of
non-utilization is to invite disaster of unprecedented magnitude. It
is these people, animal right’s activists and ironically, many
conservationists in wildlife agencies who persist with a with a
"lock – away" attitude, that are the greatest threat to Africa’s
The greatest threat
Animal rights groups pose the biggest threat to not
only Africa’s wildlife but also to the rest of the world’s
biodiversity. On the surface their agenda might sound laudable –
even noble – to protect animals from abuse and cruelty. However they
don’t stop there they advocate NO USE of ANY animal products –
domestic or wild!
Annual culling of safe animal populations
Recreational, subsistence and trophy hunting
The practice of capture / translocation / sale
of wild animals for commercial purposes
The sustainable harvest of abundant wild animal
Trapping (to control problem animals)
Trapping (for food or fur)
Domestic stock farming
Animal right activists insist that humans should
obtain all their nutritional requirements from plants alone and that
man should refrain from eating any kind of animal protein.
How are you going to sell this philosophy to anyone
who is jobless, poor and starving who looks across a game fence and
sees thousands of wild animals not being utilized?
A question often comes to mind: If all the animal
rights activists got to together in one place would they be prepared
to commit mass suicide in the interests of relieving the pressure on
"mother earth’s" natural resources? I very much doubt it. I believe
the instinctive drive of self preservation runs as strongly in their
veins as in that of a starving rural peasant!
This question leads to another: Do animal rights and
other radical environmental activists see human population as the
primary cause of environmental problems and surreptitiously approve
of mass die offs of people due to war, disease or hunger? Hmmmm I
As has already been mentioned, the naivety of the
animal rights proponents is exposed by their promoting a vegan diet.
They seem to be ignorant of the fact that vegetables have to be
farmed and these farms were once wildlife habitat and that they
preserve less biodiversity than either domestic stock or game
Now you might laugh at the stupidity and short
sightedness of animal rights groups but you will be unpleasantly
surprised to discover that many African conservation agencies are
dictated to by these organizations.
These are powerful lobby groups and they can exert
considerable pressure on governments and conservation bodies to do
their bidding. A good example is where the National Parks Board of
Southern Africa was stopped with the elephant culling in the Kruger
National Park in 1994 by an animal rights activist. Wildlife
scientists know that if elephant numbers are not reduced it will
lead to loss of biodiversity and yet they do nothing to reduce the
numbers. They dilly-dally with alternatives they know are
impractical and so cow to the whims of the animal rights pressure
These organizations have exerted their influence on
international conservation bodies such as the IUCN, CITES and WWF.
Animal rights activist groups are holding many
countries in Africa and elsewhere to ransom. This is usually done
through a number of mechanisms.
Do animal rights and other radical
environmental activists see human population as the
primary cause of environmental problems -
surreptitiously approve of mass murder, war and deaths
from disease or hunger?
Donor funding: These organizations donate money
to conservation agencies (governmental, private and NGO’s) but
stipulate that the funding is linked to certain conditions. These
conditions usually specify that there may be no culling, hunting,
sustained harvest or live sale of game. Donor funding comes at a
price and virtually strips the wildlife manager of all his tools
available for managing wildlife populations or for generating income
(other than "ecotourism") from wild animal resources.
Boycotting wildlife products: Animal rights
groups actively boycott and encourage the boycotting
on the use of any product of animal origin such as fur and hides,
hunting trophies, ivory and horns, and meat.
Negative publicity: These groups portray hunters
and conservationists who use the standard tools of wildlife
management (culling, capture, harvesting, and hunting of wild
animals) as "butchers" and so break down the image of hunters and
wildlife professionals. They use the media – press, radio,
television and wildlife publications to denigrate hunters and
wildlife managers. In a recent South African environmental magazine
which runs regular anti-hunting articles the writer made the
"Within Botswana’s ecotourism industry, word is in
the air that the trophy hunting sector is about to undergo a major
review. Talk varies from a total ban on trophy hunting to the
industry being marginalized….. and quotas being cut.
Earlier this year, one of the countries (South
Africa) largest corporate institutions cancelled an organized
hunting trip for its clients because of complaints received from
other clients and anti-hunting groups.
Why should we not be entitled to ask the question:
how appropriate is it that we kill large numbers of wild animals for
"It is my suspicion that trophy hunting will….be
exposed as having been more of a conservation con that an effective
wildlife management tool.
I advocate that the Rowland Ward’s Records of Big
Game and the Safari Club International Record Book be discontinued"
(Africa Geographic September 2009 p.28)
"Buying" senior conservation or government
officials: They use various means of coercion / bribery /
corruption to force senior conservation officials, government
officials or influential academics to implement
They exploit emotionalism as a tool: Sensation
and emotionalism are exploited to the extent that reason and logic
are relegated to issues of non-importance. They will show heart
rending photographs of young elephant that have been culled but will
never show photographs of denuded and degraded habitat which has
resulted in loss of biodiversity.
Animal right’s groups are very radical and go to
extremes to further their causes. Two groups are even listed in the
USA as domestic terrorist organizations. These are the militant
Animal Liberation Front and the Earth Liberation Front. Some members
of these groups are on the most-wanted list of criminals in the
On the 20th December 2005, the Washington
Post issued a press release that the FBI were making terror
inquiries into the activities of another well known animal rights
movement – PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). In
May 2005 the FBI’s assistant director for counter terrorism reported
that "environmental and animal rights militants posed the biggest
terrorist threats in the United States…" A June 2002 FBI
communiqué cites a source offering information on Greenpeace
regarding "activists who show a clear predisposition to violate
During the Animal Right’s 2001 Conference comments
made in open session advocated the use of some of the following
Intimidation of wives and children
Harassment of individuals
Break-ins and destruction of property
Propagandizing and energizing the young
especially radicals in their teens who will take risks
Use "comely" people (i.e. good looking,
celebrities, influential) as spokespersons and always appear
rational and reasonable
Destroy key businesses, business leaders and
Break up traditions
No one owns a pet
Always keep an eye out for floating radicals who
Lying, cheating and "anything else" is
Confront anyone wearing fur and intimidate them.
Use any tactics to put fur stores out of
Oppose any forms of hunting (including
subsistence hunting by indigenous people).
Break up organized hunts.
Teach children to hate hunting.
Oppose sport and commercial fishing etc.
A June 2002 FBI communiqué cites a
source offering information on Greenpeace regarding
"activists who show a clear predisposition to violate
Clearly these organizations are illogical, far
removed from and out of touch with reality - and simply stated,
dangerous to both society at large and the future of wildlife in
particular. They have programs in place that, if successful, will
stop all pro-active wildlife management that will lead to the demise
of national parks and the private wildlife initiative as well.
Most (if not all) people belonging to these groups
are financially comfortable (by African or other poverty standards),
have houses to live in, secure jobs and never go to bed hungry. This
"movement" started in the USA and spread to affluent European and
Scandinavian countries. Many branches or affiliates exist all over
the world. Some of the animal rights organizations are the
PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of
ALF (Animal Liberation Front)
ELF (Earth Liberation Front)
HSUS (Humane Society of the United States)
The Farm Sanctuary
In Defence of Animals
The Animal Institute
The Doris Day Animal League
The Fund for Animals
Who do they recruit?
People who are recruited by animal rights movements
are generally very gullible because they have lost touch with or
have very real contact with nature "in the raw" and are very
unenlightened when it comes to wildlife matters. Many animal rights
supporters have a genuine concern for animals but they are highly
susceptible to animal rights propaganda. Even the founders of animal
rights movements may have started off with genuine (but sorely
misguided) feelings about the rights of animals but once their
livelihoods became dependent on their propaganda they resorted to
use any means to justify their continued existence.
As stated in their 2001 conference – the end
justifies the means therefore lying, cheating and "anything else" is
justified. This they have exploited to the full.Many hardcore people
in the animal rights industry don’t really care about animals at all
because if they did some careful thought and introspection would
show that the strategies they propagate will in fact be harmful to
biodiversity in the long run. The only logical conclusion that one
can draw about their continued involvement is that they are hooked
into one of life’s foibles which they can exploit for their own
purposes and or self enrichment.
The type of people they recruit are:
Young, unenlightened radicals looking for a
Elderly, unenlightened individuals that have
money to donate to "the cause".
Unenlightened people with LOTS of money to spare
(large sums of which are to be donated to "the cause"). Movie
stars, and other wealthy individuals who wish to be seen as
being pro-environmentalist, are favourite targets.
They exploit the fact that people don’t know better
or are too far removed from reality to know the real facts on the
ground. The people they recruit are also well fed, employed and
living comfortably when compared to the rural African peasant.
do not know nor understand (or care) what it means to see your
children going hungry to bed, not knowing where or when the next
meal is coming from, or what goes through the heart of a mother or
father when a child that has died of starvation is planted back into
the soil of Africa. The non-utilization cause which includes a ban
on hunting for which animal rights activists are pressing, smacks of
nothing less than gross hypocrisy.
Credible wildlife scientists and researchers
with excellent reputations are of the opinion that wildlife
resources must be used on a sustainable basis and this includes all
forms of legal hunting – sport, trophy and subsistence. They also
state quite categorically that animal rights activists are out of
touch with reality and that their contributions are more a hindrance
than a help:
"Now that I am free to state my own position on
hunting without weighing in on one side or the other while acting as
moderator of the debate I would like the record to show that I
thoroughly agree with Rod East’s pro hunting arguments expressed in
the African Antelope Database 1998. …..I know that the animal
rights movement is hurting rather than helping wildlife
conservation. Their activists are part of the problem and not the
solution……as a student of behaviour I place the highest value on
living animals and refrain from hunting them but attempts to ban
hunting make conservation that much harder and ignore the biological
reality that every normal population produces a surplus which, if
not kept in check by mortality equal to the rate of increase, would
soon outstrip its resources