The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions

One of the proposed “solutions” to saving the rhino is to farm them. Living their days like cattle; grazing and breeding-their horns’ harvested to pacify the demand, and turn a profit for the farmer.

Ranchers in South Africa have taken up rhino farming, and even China is doing this, with rhinos originally purchased in South Africa (see: Old McChina Had a Farm)

rhinos farmed

Rhino Farm in Malelane, SA

Millionaire, John Hume is a private rhino owner/breeder in South Africa,  who strongly advocates for legalizing trade. His private game ranch, started in 1992, has approximately 1000 rhinos, all of whom have been dehorned.

Hume states:

 “If I were to sell you a rhino horn harvested from a live and unharmed rhino we would both go to jail as there is no legal way to change ownership of the rhino horn.  But, within 24 hours, I could get a government permit for you to kill one of my rhinos and take the horn.

So we can get the government’s blessing to kill the rhino and take the horn but we’d go to jail if we safely harvested the rhino horn.

…we need to accept that conservation will only be successful when people stand to gain from it on socio-economic levels. ” (Job Shadow)

But in the last 2 months, Hume has lost 35 rhinos to disease. Other farms are reporting the same.

 Some ecologists maintain the high rainfall in the area and the unnatural environment the rhinos are in has facilitated the development of the  Clostridial bacteria. The high numbers of rhinos increases the risk and it may be possible that the carrying capacity of the present environment has been exceeded. (Beeld SA)   

john hume rhinos

“We need to encourage everyone in the country to breed rhino and the only way to do that is to legalise the trade.”-J. Humes

Farming Pitfalls

Aside from disease, the costs of farming (veterinary care, inoculations, food, security, ranch hands) are another factor. If this were an option, is it realistic to think the majority of ranch owners could keep up with the expense?

Along with being a rhino farmer, there comes doubt and suspicion. On a privatized ranch, who is monitoring the animals’ well being and maybe more importantly, their deaths? Theoretically, a few could pass away from “disease” just as easily as be sold to the highest bidder to be shot and the horn taken.

Rhino are NOT cattle. They are not herd animals, choosing a rather solitary life, with the exception of babies who stay with their moms for the first 2 years. Their home “ranges” vary greatly. So while 80 rhinos are packed into 1000 acre fields (.02 sq mi per rhino)  in Humes farm, in the wild they roam from 1.0-39.0 sq mi. Quite a significant difference.

Regardless of Mr. Humes and other rhino farmers’ intentions, this latest incidence of death is yet another sign that nature cannot be industrialized without consequence.

wild rhino

“All good things are wild and free”-Henry David Thoreau


Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

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11 thoughts on “The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions

  1. Karen

    Ugh. These farmers do not have their heads on straight. This does not help on any level. I had no idea these farms existed. Thanks for the education, as miserable as it is.

  2. Terry Bengis

    When people are ignorant they write articles such as these, The facts are that the rhinos on this particular farm have a chance with the particular intervention that has been applied. A vaccine is being developed for the benefit of all rhinos. The Beeld newspaper isn’t exactly a scientific journal from which one would glean scientific information!

    • Terry, Thanks for reading. It is difficult to argue with the issues at hand: Farming rhinos is expensive, and cannot provide the most adequate environment. That being said, it would be great to see anything positive for our rhinos.

    • AntAbomb

      Terry, maybe the Beeld is not a scientific journal but then again it seems you have not been reading too many of those. The FACT is that vaccines are causing genetic mutations thereby creating greater threats. So maybe your “interventions” are just what the bacteria asked for. The point here is that the conditions these “farmed” animals are being kept under is exposing them to the risk. Arrogance begets ignorance.

  3. Farming is about the moola, not the Rhinos. Consider this scenario. 10 more ‘John Hume farms’ with approx. 1000 Rhinos each. That’s 10 000 Rhinos. Disease breaks out in the Rhino ‘industry’ so they need to destroy 10 000 Rhinos in one go. This scenario as we have seen is not a ‘fairy-tail’ as pro-traders often say, but a sad reality if this ‘trade’ were legalised. A mass killing of Rhinos due disease – we cannot afford to loose Rhinos at that rate! Look what happens to horses, cattle and ostriches.. thousands of dead animals exterminated at one time – this can’t be allowed!

  4. CrazyGuyinThailand

    Good info

  5. Reblogged this on SAVES Club.

  6. Reblogged this on Pippakins Animal Watch and commented:
    Good grief

  7. Pingback: Legal Trade: Is it worth the gamble? | Fight for Rhinos

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