Posts Tagged With: farming

Pay to Play

There are two sides to every story, and two sides to the lives of animals in the tourism industry. Many of the baby animals we find so irresistibly adorable and pettable, live a life or torment.

petting lion cub 2

This is the canned hunting industry.

The opportunity to pet, hold, bottle feed, and play with cute orphan lion cubs sounds irresistible to animal lovers.

Captive lion cub 2

Farmed cubs often show signs of stress like hair falling out and diarrhea.

Well-meaning visitors pay big bucks for the privilege of “helping rear motherless cubs.”  Many of these people are led to believe they are playing a part in conservation efforts, that these little tykes will live to be returned to the savanna one day.

But the reality is much darker. Shortly after birth, the babies are taken from their mothers, causing extreme stress to the cubs and the mother alike. This is done to facilitate immediate breeding again for the mother.

Unlike in the wild when lionesses produce a litter every 2-3 years, in the lion “industry”, they are forced to produce 2-3 litters a year!

Once the “cute factor” has worn off and they become a bit larger, they either move on to the next stage of the tourism industry-walking with tourists, or go straight to the breeding stage to perpetuate the cycle.

canned hunting overcrowded

Overcrowded enclosure on captive lion farm.

Finally, the females are used for continuous breeding (no different from puppy mills). The males are catalogued-their photos taken and displayed in a brochure or in an online list for hunters to choose from. They spend their final moments in small, crowded enclosures awaiting their death.

Is this conservation? Is this how the most majestic creature in Africa meant to live?

With lion numbers in severe decline from habitat loss, disease, and hunting, they should be afforded protection, not treated as a commodity.

Please note, there ARE genuine sanctuaries dedicated to the protection and conservation of the species. NONE of them allow the perpetuating of the species for human entertainment (i.e. petting, picture-taking, hunting).

Please read, sign and share the following petition: President Zuma: Banned Canned Hunting

Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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

Old McChina Had a Farm

If you needed a way to get milk, but weren’t allowed to legally purchase it, what would you do? Why-buy the cow of course!milking the rhino

This is essentially what China has done with the rhino. To get around CITES, and the illegal trade of rhino horn, they have started rhino farming.

In 2011, TIME magazine reported China’s initial undertaking of establishing a breeding colony of African Rhinos in order to harvest horn. Their investigation found that a Chinese arms company – the Hawk Group –  had imported 60 rhino from South Africa to a park called Africa View in the Hainan Province of China. (This was a year AFTER China assured CITES they had no intention of farming rhinos.)

They also found the subsidiary company had developed a device that could scrape rhino horn. Plans were in place to produce 500,000 detox pills made from rhino horn. Projected sales from the rhino horn were $60 million a year.

Between 2007 and 2012, there were 150 rhino exported into China.

Initially African View Park was touted as a tourist destination, a guise to conceal the true purpose of the facility, although the lovely “view” was of row upon row of concrete enclosures filled with rhino.  It is now referred to as the Sanya City Center for artificial propagation of the rhinoceros.

The newest development at the facility is China’s announcement it will release the White Rhinos into a rainforest, undoubtedly in the name of conservation. The obvious concern is that White Rhinos who originate from Africa are not meant to forage or habitat that type of environment.

rhino under tree

According to rhino horn trade expert , Dr. Tom Milliken, “These animals will just not survive in a rainforest-type environment. We have concerns about nutrition and their overall ability to cope. If they don’t have supplementary food, they could starve. This is simply not conservation.”

Not to mention, free roaming rhino in China are about as safe as a stack of money on a park bench.

The list of animal parts China turns into traditional “medicine”, and it’s propensity to kill and use animals into near extinction is endless. (See Planet China: a world of myths and make believe) The farming of animals is nothing new (i.e. bear bile farms, tiger farming). Rhino farming was inevitable.

Is this really much different than the rhino farming in Africa? They too breed rhinos, and store the horn for the golden day of “legal trade” so they will be able to cash in, handing the horn to the Chinese and Vietnamese. For if indeed African farmers are in it only for conservation purposes, why not destroy the horn?

It’s known that South Africa advocates for legal horn trade. In a picture perfect scenario, proponents of  legal trade believe that by shaving and selling the horn it will somehow meet the demand in the Asian market, reduce poaching and save the rhino. This is a weak argument. (See Kill the Trade or Kill the Rhino)

Bear in a bear bile farm

Bear in a bear bile farm

If anyone believes this can possibly be good for the rhino, here is a report done on the bear, who are being farmed as well.

From ‘An Investigation into the Chinese Demand for Farmed vs. Wild Bear Bile’  The report concludes that “the ability of

farmedbear bile to reduce demand for wild bear bile is at best limited and, at prevailing prices, may be close to zero or have the opposite effect.” They go on to say that “for the wildlife farming debate this indicates that at some prices the introduction of farmed competition might increase the demand for the wild product.”

Since this has been in the public eye, the South African Government has put restrictions on releasing more rhino to the Chinese developer in charge of the facility, who was in negotiation to receive 30 more rhino.

Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.