Posts Tagged With: Vietnamese

Rhino Horn Cures Asians, But What Cures Ignorance

horn not medicine 1

We’ve seen advertisements and pleas targeting Asian communities to stop using rhino horn.   Famed Chinese NBA player, Yao Ming and Chinese stuntman and actor, Jackie Chan have used their star power to bring awareness to the plight of the rhino in China.

WWF and TRAFFIC are sponsoring adverts being displayed through many different communication channels, including newspapers, television, and social media platforms like Facebook. They have placements in hundreds of offices and residential buildings, airports, corporate offices and universities throughout Vietnam.

But how well is it working? Is anyone out there paying attention?

           China

Journalist Craig Simons who lived in Beijing for eight years wrote about his time there in “The Devouring Dragon”.  Simons says “N.G.O.s (non-government organizations)  have had a limited ability to influence the decisions of average Chinese consumers. Advertisements have been successful but their benefits are offset by millions of Chinese just now becoming rich enough to buy exotic ingredients and medicines.”

He claims the campaigns may ultimately prove more important by putting pressure on the government. “A government ban is more efficient than trying to get 1.3 billion people to change deep-rooted beliefs and traditions, but both are key in the long term.”

jackie with rhino

Jackie Chan with rhino

Vietnam

According to Do Quang Tung, the Vietnam director of CITES  (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), “Demand for rhino horn in Vietnam has already declined thanks to government’s efforts in raising public awareness and preventing smuggling operations.”

South Africa and Vietnam governments  have signed  a memorandum of understanding on increasing cooperation to prevent smuggling of horns throughout the countries, but a representative from the Vietnam Customs General Department said “Vietnam faces challenges in preventing rhino horn smuggling because of the differences in the laws of the two countries.”

obvious rhino

Cures & Status

Using rhino horn for medicinal “cures” has been going on in China since the 16th century AD. An obvious cultural difference that’s hard to understand when you consider how far western medicine has come. (In the 16th century in Europe, patients who had contracted the bubonic plague were told to perform penance and anesthetic was made from a concoction of lettuce juice and vinegar.)

Yet the place of traditional Chinese medicine has a stronghold on much of the population. So how can truth (via education) overcome tradition?

Perhaps more of an uphill battle is rhino horn being viewed as a symbol of social status. Just as with furs, it’s becoming a mark of affluence in the Vietnamese community.

So how do you combat ego?

Since the beliefs in the power of the horn are based on untruths, and Asian horn-users seem to readily believe the tales as fact, perhaps the answer is to tell equally potent lies. Maybe the truth isn’t what will set the rhino free..

My fellow blogger Fred Clark knows this-
Mayo Study: Rhino-horn extract killed Michael Jackson

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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.

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New Feature on my Blog! – Translate my Blog to almost any Language!

Translation

Now you can easily TRANSLATE Fight For Rhinos into various languages with a couples clicks of a button!

Look to your left near the top of any my posts and push the Translation Button to Translate your page to the language you want! You may also go select the Translation Tab near the very Top Right on every page to get there as well.

CHECK IT OUT! And if your language isn’t their please let me know and I will add the appropriate link.  Translation Page

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Who ARE the Bad Guys?

Veterinary team prepares to dehorn a rhino.

Veterinary team prepares to dehorn a rhino.

*Night vision goggles

*Silenced weapons

*Darting equipment

*Bullet proof armour

*Helicopters

With a checklist like this, we could be talking about an army. Yet it is also the equipment used by the modern-day poacher. With the horn fetching more on the black market than cocaine or even gold, everyone wants a piece of the pie. The low-level men who DO the poaching are being funded by higher level organizations with whatever supplies are necessary to bring in the “goods”.

The level of corruption runs far and wide. Militias, rebel groups, intelligence officials, Irish gangsters , Vietnamese diplomats, Chinese scientists, copter pilots, antiques dealers and recently an American rodeo star who used Facebook to find  horns, are all getting their hands dirty with poaching. Even Thai prostitutes and pimps are getting involved. The prostitutes were hired by a criminal syndicate to obtain hunting permits (through some loopholes) and got “professional” hunters to make the kill and bring in the horn.

Of course poverty-stricken villagers often turn to poaching to support their families. A corrupt minority of game farmers, professional hunters, and safari operators are involved as well. But what I believe is the highest level is betrayal is the involvement of veterinarians. 

The veterinarians who work with large mammals have access to M99-a drug that is 1000 times more powerful than morphine. The supply is restricted, and supposedly only accessible by vets. Yet somehow poachers are getting their hands on this potent tranquilizer.

The majority of vets work tirelessly and fervently , giving the victims of poaching round the clock care and treatment to save their lives. Along with the rangers in the anti-poaching units, veterinarians ARE the foot soldiers in this war, an integral part of rhino and elephant survival.  As a former member of a veterinary staff, I know all too well the highs and lows of the job. There is no 9-5, no glory, and certainly not a high level of pay. But where is their passion? Their hearts have hardened, their patients betrayed in the name of greed; an unforgivable evil.

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