Animal Poachers Should Be Executed
In 2009 the largest deer killed in North America was killed by a poacher in Ohio. After the killer was caught, he was fined over $1,500 and had a restitution fee of over $23,500 imposed upon him. He also lost his hunting privileges for life. Unfortunately, this incident was not the first for this individual. He had ten prior convictions for violating various wildlife laws and had even served time in jail for some of his offenses.
Man has been a hunter for almost half a million years. In the early part of his evolution, the practice of killing animals was necessary to provide sustenance — food and clothing — for his survival. And even in the present time — and even with a history of hunting certain animal and bird species to extinction — I believe that hunting should be allowed under a carefully and strictly imposed system of rules enforcement (one of which being that no predators — bears, wolves, lions, tigers, etc. — should be hunted at all). To a large degree, hunters are conscientious people with a great awareness and respect for the environments that support their chosen game. But there is another side to the activity which is very, very sinister — something that is a tremendous blot on the character of homo sapiens. That activity is poaching.
The man has a lot of evil and odious behaviors, but one of the worst has to be animal poaching. Poaching goes on on every continent in the world, and no creature whose demise can’t be translated into money in the pocket of some soulless killer is safe from its effects.
In North America, black bears are being slaughtered so that their gall bladders can used in what Asians superstitiously call “medicine.” Other bear body parts, such as paws, are also taken. In Africa, rhinoceroses are being hunted to extinction solely for their horns, and the animals’ horns are even being taken from those unfortunate creatures long dead and stuffed and exhibited in museums.
The recent economic boom in China has fueled a rapid increase in poaching which is driving many African animals to the brink of extinction. In fact, the Chinese are particularly implicated in the wanton slaughter of wildlife around the world to fulfill every phony “need” from sexual stimulation to “gourmet” dining on the likes of tiger testicles.
Money, as usual, is behind this whole foul enterprise. There are many thousands of dollars to be made in the illegal trade of animal parts. Rhino horns have been sold for as much a $200,000. The powder ground from them can bring as much as $45,000 per pound. Ivory from elephants, both African and Asian, is also in high demand. And like the horns of rhinoceroses and the gall bladders of bears, the ivory from elephants and walruses is not a real necessity. It is used only to manufacture such non-essential items such as jewelry and other ornaments.
This killing epidemic is occurring solely because of the self-centeredness of man, a self-centeredness that is completely at odds with man’s true (and miniscule) position in the overall natural order.
Among animals, man does have the unique ability to either destroy or preserve nature, but he is not the overlord or steward of nature that he so vainly claims to be. Rather, he is simply a part of nature. And when considering the beauty of natural landscapes such as the Grand Canyon, which reduce even the greatest of mankind’s architectural achievements to pitiable trivialities, or to just begin to comprehend the complexity of ecological systems which dwarf man’s greatest technological endeavors, it is easy to see what a small player man is in the true scheme of things.
Strict rules should also be enforced against all unnecessary animal killing. Whaling is an essentially anachronistic activity, given modern technologies which make the old uses for it (e.g., lighting from oil, food from blubber) unnecessary. There can be no more excuses for this behavior, whether a claimed economic benefit, some “part of a culture” (the excuse used by some Native Americans to continue to kill whales), or the supposed necessity to supply material for “traditional medicines,” which are in fact nothing more that quackery born out of the ignorant superstitions of unevolved humans.
There is no longer any tolerable reason at all for the needless and wanton destruction of any part of our natural environment, be it oceans, forests, water supplies, or animal life. It’s long past time to put an end to any grievous assault on nature. And the punishments for violators should fit the magnitude of their crimes. Poachers shouldn’t be fined and, in extreme instances, jailed. They should be executed. When they are, the message will get out, and the practice will stop.
And while this proposed solution might seem drastic, there are indeed some more enlightened countries that have already taken the proper stance on this issue. In 2002 a group of Wyoming conservationists were given “shoot on sight” orders to deal with Sudanese poachers who were decimating the wildlife in the Central African Republic. And in 2007 the Indian State of Assam issued its enforcers “shoot to kill” orders against Rhinoceros poachers.
That’s right. Here is an instance where Africa and India are more evolved than the so-called “superior” West. Well, it’s time to correct that. It’s time for the United States to catch up and to not just take a similar stance, but to lead on the issue.