Before I wrote the article on Rhino Wars and Marketing, about my thoughts the Pro Trade in rhino, I had a few messages from the Pro Trade people. Some not too polite. So far I had not said anything derogatory about the Pro Trade supporters, but I did have some not so pleasant thoughts that, thus far I have kept to myself.
After taking more flak for my view, again, gently put with no aggression or bias. Last night a comment was made, “Please folks, learn all you can…make informed decisions. You may just be aiding and abetting the poachers. Not saying you are wrong, just asking you to study and not make emotional decisions.”
This needs to be addressed but from the other side. Please note I accuse no-one and publish this without prejudice; I merely think these questions need to be addressed.
How far do you think that the people that will make a profit by the legalization of rhino horn trade go in order to achieve their goal?
Would they aid and abet the poaching?
Would they kill their own rhino and make it LOOK like poacher’s work?
Would they bribe our corrupt government to insure that the poaching continues?
Would they trade illegally RIGHT NOW to secure a niche market later?
Are they already ” prepping ” the market with advertizing through Asian connections in the business?
These are but a few questions that sprang to mind.
In this insidious war we are fighting, nothing, but nothing will surprise me any more. So far we have seen well liked conservationist implicated in poaching, numerous Wildlife Veterinarians, were involved. People that have Rhino Sanctuaries are known associates of Groenewalt and his gang of poachers. In the making of a film, “Saving Rhino Phila” to promote anti poaching the same Groenewalt’s helicopter was used……. The list is long.
With the kind permission of Dr. Smuts, I print his reply to the marketing lady of the man that will be the biggest private trader of rhino horn in the world if it becomes legal a Mr. Hume. The fact that he has a marketing manager scares the hell out of me already.
Dr Smuts’ response to John Hume’s marketing lady, Tanya Jacobsen:
Yes, indeed we occupy different paradigms – we conserve wildlife for intrinsic reasons. You (and or your principles), on the other hand, will profit there from, whether they survive or not. Thus their survival is secondary to profits for you. In fact, if trade is legalized and their numbers continue to dwindle, you would perversely make more as rarity will further escalate already obscene prices. You see, it all depends on the goal here. We have different goals, you- money, we- species survival.
The rather naive observation of sharing resources (with neighbouring communities) is frankly bizarre to say the least. They say, if there are too many elephants you shoot the elephants, if there are too many humans, you shoot the elephants; and in your case you especially shoot the rhino as somehow you think by bringing more money to your pockets you would secure their survival. We say your fueling the trade will be their death knell.
Your royal “we” is noted in that you have no doubt you must trade (so that you and your principles can make more money – this you leave out). Only if it is your objective as noted above, i.e. to make money, is there no doubt about trying trade; if you objective is to secure the species, the opposite is true, i.e. no doubt that we must not allow trade. You see, we have different objectives, you – money, we – the rhinos! You are utterly naive to think you could get to a stage of driving demand down with over supply off the base of 20 000 rhinos and with a consumer advice campaign (nogal), i.e. on the one hand drive profits off sales and on the other hand to advise people not to be naughty and consume it. I frankly to not think I have ever been subjected to such nonsense.
May I advise you that perhaps the only thing to drive down demand in a 3 billion human market is disincentives like poisoning all horn (all stockpiles should be nationalized) with clear and substantial marketing and warning campaign that the horn is toxic. That is the disincentive will be there as it will kill you if you consume it, yet it remains your informed choice and there is nothing criminal there (just like Monsanto sells Roundup across the world). Rhino horn should be sold as a toxic substance, that will stop consumption demand in its tracks. Then all demand for horn and the poaching demand will stop. It will do so overnight. But we do not see that the likes of you or SANPARKS going for that as it will preclude your pay-cheques. You see, again your objective – MONEY, ours – the rhino! This way the rhinos would be secured in survival, and your mantra for money to breed to secure (and your illogic to discourage the consumption at the same time from which you profit) logic falls away.
Yes, you are right, people generally care about their health and thus would not consume poisoned horn, SIMPLE! Your model is driven by your own greed for money, and not your sacred love for rhinos at the end of a barrel of a fat American hunting client! The only sacred thing for you is the sacred love of money, shall I again repeat the difference in our objectives?
Your arguments around legal vs illegal trade is bizarre like the rest of your logic, only because of the already demonstrated hidden agenda of your objectives (MONEY). How in heavens name will the legal trade reduce illegal trade – a bit like diamonds, do you suggest?? That is far-fetched and naïve, and do you for a moment not see your own contradiction when a paragraph above you suggest the clients don’t care for the countries and thus animals (why would they now care when trade is legal when at present they could not give a continental @#$k about the animals). This is cloud cuckoo land stuff to think that the magic wand of legal trade from John Hume’s stockpiles would render the end user into an ethical beast. I say poison them with the courtesy of a warning on the label and in every magazine, newspaper and media outlet.
The demand will stop overnight if the horn is poisoned and released on the market. Your believing a legal + illegal trade allowing you to outbreed the demand is far fetched and naive to say the least. But again we have different objectives, you = money, we = the rhino, and I would bet the latter is closer to sacred than the greenback! What is disconcerting is the chorus of “conservationists” behind your call to trade, but when you eat from scraps of the master, you dance to a certain tune… And then there are the politicians!