Thursday, May 07, 2009

Save the Elephants, Buy Ivory, Eat Elephant Meat

The best way to save endangered species is to eat them?

John Stossel: International bans on the trade of rare animal parts (tiger organs, elephant tusks, rhino horns) have been about as successful as the international war on drugs. Why? Because wherever there is a demand strong enough, market forces overwhelm law enforcement. Terry Anderson of PERC, the Property and Environmental Resource Center, claims that governments have repeatedly failed when they tried to save animals by banning their sale -- it failed with the Colobus monkey in West Africa … with the alligator in China … and now, with the tiger in Asia.

It's quite the conceit that a few conservation groups think a government decree can change history, and get a billion plus people to change their habits. By contrast, does America have a shortage of chickens? No, because people own them and eat them. Allowing private owners to sell animals for food or tourism saved the rhino and the elephant in Africa, and the bison in America. It could save the tiger too, if environmental groups would drop their resistance.

Watch John Stossel's special "You Can't Even Talk About It" on 20/20 tomorrow night (10 p.m. ET) for the full report.

21 Comments:

At 5/07/2009 9:08 AM, Blogger Michael said...

You're comparing chickens to elephants. Enough said.

 
At 5/07/2009 9:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you miss the part about the Bison? As someone who raised cattle many years ago it never in a large family operation it never seemed very prudent to slaughter the entire herd.

macquechoux

 
At 5/07/2009 9:44 AM, Blogger Reuben said...

Treating animals as commodities is exactly what causes them to end up as endangered or threatened species in the first place. The problem is that, continuing the "animals as objects" behavior, we spend a fortune keeping a few so that people can be entertained by them Put some of those resources toward actually enforcing the laws that exist to protect them in range countries and then you would find a solution. This is not "economics" - it's stupidity wrapped in inhumanity.

 
At 5/07/2009 9:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most of the time environmentalists and animal-rights activists end up doing more harm than good to the very things they are trying to protect.

Yes, this includes Al Gore.

 
At 5/07/2009 10:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Treating animals as commodities is exactly what causes them to end up as endangered or threatened species in the first place.

This is not "economics" - it's stupidity wrapped in inhumanity.Wow, cut out the middle of Reuben's post, and he almost starts to make sense. He's provided both the argument and the rebuttal.

Stossel offers a rational solution to a tragic problem - one that may actually work, based on past experience with other species - and gets hit with a tsunami of leftist sanctimony.

Hey, Reuben, it's about saving the elephants - not your feelings.

 
At 5/07/2009 10:54 AM, Blogger ExtremeHobo said...

Do you really think that Cows would exist in the numbers they do if we didnt eat them?

 
At 5/07/2009 11:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You think an elepahnt life is worth more than a chicken life?

Where is your utility value?

 
At 5/07/2009 11:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Most of the time environmentalists and animal-rights activists end up doing more harm than good to the very things they are trying to protect. "

I don't think that is proven, but certainly if they are allowed to go to the extremes that some of them espouse, they will eventually do more harm than good.

There is also a question of whether that harm will come to the environment or to the people that depend on it.

But certainly, someone needs to explain to them that more protection is not always better protection.

The enviros are right: after we catch the last fish and kill the last buffalo we will certainly learn that we cannot eat money. But, we don't really need to worry about that because so many of us will starve before then: I don't get what they are so worried about.

The catastrophe they say is coming will probably be the best thing we can do for the environment. And, hey, it free, no cost,no taxes.

Hydra

 
At 5/07/2009 1:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the issue with wild animals that can be harvested for a "good" like Ivory or tiger pelts. Is a classic case of tragedy of the commons. And in this case "anti-poaching" laws exsist that maintain the commons, instead of internalizing them. Not to mention that for Ivory, if it was made legal, people would raise cows to a degree to make it profitable. Woudln't that nosedive the prive of ivory and thus the illegal incentive?

 
At 5/07/2009 1:32 PM, Blogger John Sanzone said...

Only problem is turning all the species in the world into farm animals. We ought to be going in precisely the opposite direction.

Whatever your take on Guantanamo, the 95% majority of farm conditions for animals is torture--restraining them from performing their basic instincts and living "as God intended."

Organized hunting is probably the most successful and most viable reason for the preservation of wetlands, etc., in the U.S.

In other countries, it's the shadiness that desecrates the species.

 
At 5/07/2009 1:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hydra,

Do you have realistic evidence that we are eating all the animals to extinction?

We slaughtered the Buffalo in the past, out of ignorance. But, through conservation and education we prevented extinction. The lesson learned there has been applied elsewhere with great success. Waterfowl is the best example I can think of. Hunting opportunities are excellent with high census numbers. And in many urban settings the Geese have actually become a nuisance and hazard. Culling has become common. The shot-gunners posted at some airport runways is amusing as well. This makes me wonder, will New York/New Jersey start culling waterfowl there too (after the Hudson incident)?

Saying we are eating animals to extinction is as accurate as the 1970's claims that we would be out of oil by now.

The only areas I have observed dramatic animal impact are third world locations like Indonesia where they eat everything they can get their hands on. As they grow, develop, industrialize, and modernize they will correct the mistakes they have made; through opportunity and improved living standards. You can thank the free market system for that. Most call it "progress". Political environmentalism is backwards thinking.

Stossel makes a strong case as usual. He ruffles feathers through critical thinking exercises. I like that about him.

 
At 5/07/2009 3:49 PM, Blogger misterjosh said...

The proposition here is that only animals that are useful to humans should be "saved."

It's a thought, but it just doesn't feel right. It's like saying "The people in Darfur? Fuck 'em. They're of no use to me."

 
At 5/07/2009 5:50 PM, Anonymous Dr. T said...

"Allowing private owners to sell animals for food or tourism saved the rhino and the elephant in Africa, and the bison in America. It could save the tiger too, if environmental groups would drop their resistance."

I understand the problems of the public commons, but privatization is not alway the solution. I don't believe that emprisoning large migratory animals (elephants and rhinos) or large carnivores (lions and tigers) is "saving" them.

I've seen the Bison in the Dakotas. They're as placid as dairy cows. They don't behave like the free range bison of the early 1800s. I will bet that movement-restricted elephants and rhinosceroses also will behave like dairy cows. Range-restricted large carnivores will become like zoo animals. "We had to jail the beasts to save them!" is not an apology I want to read.

 
At 5/07/2009 7:40 PM, Blogger Gregory (Greg) P Turco said...

The free market is not going to save elephants by farming them. No one farms elephants since the days of riding elephants into battle.

This blog usually is usually more sensible than this post.

 
At 5/07/2009 11:17 PM, Blogger Robert Miller said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 5/08/2009 9:29 AM, Blogger ExtremeHobo said...

Have any of you not seen "The Protector" staring Tony Jaa? Elephant is a delicacy to some folk!

 
At 5/08/2009 10:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gotta love it. Elephant burgers, yum.

 
At 5/09/2009 4:15 AM, Blogger 1 said...

"Treating animals as commodities is exactly what causes them to end up as endangered or threatened species in the first place"...

ROFLMAO! That was rich Reuben...

"The enviros are right: after we catch the last fish and kill the last buffalo we will certainly learn that we cannot eat money"...

This is even funnier... You just killed your own argument hydra...

Money will drive the ambitious to see if there is something they can do with these 'endangered' species...

 
At 5/09/2009 4:22 AM, Blogger 1 said...

"But back to the matter at hand: have the prospective elephant eaters considered the costs of grazing and watering a herd of elephants large enough to reach commercial quantities?"...

Apparently you have very little faith in the ranching methods that have developed over the centuries Robert Miller...

When I was but a young lad back in the sixties I worked a ranch back home near Laredo, Tx...

The owner of the ranch did see a niche that could be profitably filled by setting aside some of his ranch for the raising of some African animals...

It was a rather ecletic collection ranging from ostriches to giraffes to large cats to various types of antelopes...

The overhead (fencing, feed, watering, vet care, etc) was high but the profits were higher...

 
At 5/12/2009 7:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why did the laws banning trade and poaching of these animals arise? If allowing market forces to work to keep these animals from extinction was working so well why did anyone feel the need to protect them in the first place?

As a naive, easily led, uneconomically motivated environmentalist, I would like to wish anyone who has plans to farm elephants (whether for their ivory, organs or meat) well. The same applies to those out there who would be farming tigers or endangered tree frogs if only there weren't bans on their trade. These would obviously be hugely profitable activites if only annoying laws weren't holding you back.

Yes, there are so many cattle and chickens in the world because humans eat them. However, of all the animals in the world that our ancestors liked to eat (or collect parts of), sheep, cattle and chicken have won the population stakes... because they were easy and profitable to domesticate, not because there were no bans on their trade.

 
At 5/25/2010 7:09 PM, Blogger ninsha said...

Humankind....what's kind about it?

I do not have anything in common with a poacher.
I do not have anything in common with people who believe they are more superior than other creatures of this planet.
I do not have anything in common with human beings who are greedy, liars, and thieves.

There are so many factors to everything and humans analyze everything to death.

We should realize that we are equal to all things and that we are not superior to any other creature.

Write down the amazing facts of each animal on the earth, that we know about, and see if any human has that incredible quality. What do we do that other animals cannot?

We have the 'intelligence' to create things, sell things, and rip up the earth. Without humankind, the world would be as it is. We have taken our 'intelligence' and worked against the world, not with it. The desire for money and the reason to buy and sell things has left us as a 'desructable' being NOT an intelligent being. By far, i think humankind is much stupider than we think.

WE as humankind should think in the WE sense. NOT him/her/them. WE are responsible to what happens to the elephant, WE are responsible of what happens to the Oil Spill in the Gulf. We are responsible for the greed of the Oil Sands in Canada.

I would also like to comment on the word "environmentalist" it is a person who cares about OUR environment. The environment is not a foreign object. It is what surrounds us. The AIR, WATER,EARTH.
Also, "animal rights activists" people who care about the well being of other creates on the earth( a shared place)

I would like to categorize myself as someone who gives a shit.
Someone who thinks.
Someone who wants to see humankind do great things, not for the love of money.

Thank you,
G

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home