Trophy Hunting

Ngorongoro_Spitzmaulnashorn_edit1Recently, two endangered black rhinos became fair game for two American big game hunters. 

The two hunters paid $350,000 USD each for a permit issued by the Namibian government to hunt the animals. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) approved their import, as trophies, to the United States.

FWS director Dan Ashe says: “United States citizens make up a disproportionately large share of foreign hunters who book trophy hunts in Africa.That gives us a powerful tool to support countries that are managing wildlife populations in a sustainable manner and incentivize others to strengthen their conservation and management programs.”

Culling has been a practice that many countries around the world use to deal with overpopulation, preventing disease, or protecting other species. In the U.S., culling is used in the beef and poultry industries as well.

According to takepart‘The agency said Namibia’s black rhino management plan—which has grown the population from 2,400 in 1995 to 4,880 by 2010—allows for the killing of five males a year. Big, old bulls like the one that has been selected for Knowlton to hunt keep younger, vibrant male rhinos from mating and growing the population, according to wildlife office.’

On the flip side: “It is the worst sort of mixed message to give a green light to American trophy hunters to kill rhinos for their heads,” Wayne Pacelle, president of The Humane Society, said in a statement. “When the global community is working so hard to stop people from killing rhinos for their horns, we are giving a stamp of approval to a special class of privileged elite to kill these majestic animals as a head-hunting exercise.”

With a population of 4,848 and listed as “critically endangered” according to the World Wildlife Fund, it’s hard to wrap one’s head around why hunting an endangered species is acceptable if you have enough money. Granted, the money is going to conservation efforts for that very species – a notable and necessary thing. However, is this really the way we, as Americans, and as human beings, want to show our interest in conservation? If the hunter is seriously interested in conservation, and has that kind of expendable cash, should he/she not simply donate the money and leave the animal be? Are we not capable of coming up with less violent methods of wildlife management? Or better yet, taking a harder look at how humans, not wildlife, are the ones encroaching on the other’s territory?

It can also be argued trophy hunting, particularly for threatened or endangered wildlife, undermines the efforts of people on the ground, risking their lives to protect these animals – like the International Ranger Federation or any of the anti-poaching units in Africa – along with the efforts of countless people around the world who work in conservation, who donate to conservation efforts, or who use their free time to volunteer or participate in events related to conservation.

What kind of message does it send, both to our own citizens and those around the world, that for the right price, you too can shoot an endangered species?

Food Waste Infographic

It is estimated 30-40% of all food in the United States is wasted – meaning thrown in the trash and sent to landfill. This is irresponsible management of the environment, resource conservation, your wallet, and overall bad practice considering the number of people worldwide that lack nutrition. Check out this great infographic, and consider making simple changes in how you shop and eat!

Food Waste in the US



How Vaccines Work


Here is a great link to a simple explanation of how vaccines work in our bodies. Lately it seems many people have forgotten their basic biology lessons:

How Vaccines Work

It also seems some people are skeptical of herd immunity:

Herd Immunity

I have been finding myself wondering if parents who do not vaccinate, because of the ‘risks’ involved, also do not take their children outside (germs, allergies, too much sun, random gun fire, asteroids), clean their house (chemicals = dangerous), feed them food (choking hazard), drive them in cars (FAR more likely scenario of a car accident), let them play with toys (strangling, choking), or put them in any other situation that has a substantially higher risk of injury/death.

As a non-mother, there is perhaps a level of concern for one’s own child that I’m not able to relate to. However, I also cannot relate to how, in this day and age, where actual scientific information is so readily available to anyone with internet access, or a visit to any doctor, a truly concerned person cannot (or will not) do their due diligence in learning real, proven facts about the topics they are concerned about.

It is up to the individual to be responsible enough not only to question the norm, consider other points of view and information that may be contrary to what is generally accepted, but also give the same amount of time and effort to understand fully what IS generally accepted, and why that might be. The spread of misinformation, false or misinterpreted science, and in certain cases plain ignorance, cannot be allowed to affect those of us who choose to do our due diligence. There’s really no excuse for it.

It’s true that most people are not scientists. They may not have the background to fully grasp scientific facts or ideas. That’s okay. What’s NOT okay is not ASKING a scientist or doctor, READING credible (CREDIBLE) scientific research (yeah, you’ll have to learn what qualifies as credible and what does not if you really can’t tell), and using this information to become educated.

The reasoning of ‘freedom of choice’ is also not a valid excuse. In the U.S., you are free to choose what you want to do with your life, yes. You are NOT free to put other people in danger due to your choices, as well-meaning as they might be.

If you’re going to provide evidence for your opinion, you better not present something that is a blog, opinion article, conspiracy theory website or some cherry-picked incident. Anyone can write anything on the internet (see, I’m doing it right now!). You better come up with some hard-science, peer-reviewed published papers with data results from experimentation and trials that are AT LEAST as rigorous as what the FDA has to go through (and if you think that’s a joke, you should read up on what the FDA has to do before releasing any medical device or product on the market).

Finally, if you’re going to presume to be smarter or more ‘enlightened’ (wake up sheeple!) than basically ALL doctors and scientists in the world, and dispute years and years of proven scientific research, you better have your shit straight. The movement towards an anti-science, conspiracy theory and fear mongering society that does not trust each other only hurts ALL of us in the long-term.