While you were making your 2011 holiday plans, the Western Black Rhinoceros—a species of rhinoceros once relatively common in the savanna of central west Africa—has joined the ranks of the dodo and passenger pigeon. Why? Because Asian demand for body parts from endangered species—everything from rhino horn powder to tiger penis pills—continues to swell, right along with the swelling Asian population.
Let me put this as delicately as I can: There is absolutely no justification for humans to drive any species to extinction. None. If a person cannot get an erection, it is not okay for them to ask their herbalist for a concoction that includes powdered tiger penis. If that person is inclined to seek out tiger penis remedies to aid his erection, I’d urge him to go bugger himself to death with same said erection.
Similarly, if a person has one of a list of maladies supposedly alleviated by the ingestion of rhino horn, it is not okay for them to seek out such remedies—for the same reason that it is not okay to make money selling human body parts. What? How dare I equate humans to other species in terms of value? Well, how dare people devalue other species to the point where they can be exploited to extinction?
I could rant on about this endlessly, but the fact is I am too sad. All of my piety and wit cannot alter back a single line of this tragedy.
Instead, I urge you to click the links in this post and learn more about what we’ve lost and are threatened with losing; then, tell others about it. Finally, if you are a member of a culture that still trades in the parts of other animals, I implore you to take a stand for sanity. Tell your friends and clan members that rhino horn, tiger penises and shark fins (to name but a few) all belong on the living bodies of those species–not hanging up for sale in some macabre back street market somewhere. Enough is enough!