South Africa Legalizes Rhino Horn Trade, Despite Massive Opposition – PETITION TO SIGN PLEASE

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Sorry not been around, pain controls my life as most of you know…feeling a bit better so thought I would get some posts done while I can. Some of them may be a little out of date, but I feel strongly about their causes so will post!! The story below will affect many Rhino, I don’t think this is the way to save our Rhino, if you agree with me, please sign the petition below! 

South Africa Legalizes Rhino Horn Trade, Despite Massive Opposition

By: Alicia Graef May 31, 2016 About Alicia Follow Alicia at @care2causes

A South African court has ruled to legalize the trade of rhino horns, with just “three terse sentences” National Geographic reports.

The international trade in rhino horn has been banned for decades, and was shut down in South Africa – home to the largest population of rhinos on earth, according to data from 2009. The future of the rhino species is continuously jeopardized because of the demand for their horns. Thousands of rhinos have been ruthlessly killed by poachers to meet consumer demands for rhino horns.

In April, conservationists celebrated a victory when South Africa decided against submitting a proposal to legalize the international trade in rhino horns at the 17th Conference of the Parties (CoP17) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which will be held in Johannesburg this upcoming September.

Make no mistake; legalizing trade in rhino horn would have been nothing short of disaster for species that are just barely hanging on now as it is. The South African decision does not fix the plight of rhinos―but it gives space and time to tackle poaching, close down illegal markets and eliminate the loopholes that already help enable the $20 billion market in illegal international wildlife trade. South Africa bought more time for rhinos today―and should follow up with more key actions to keep these animals on the planet,” Alex Kennaugh, a wildlife advocate for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said at the time.

Now, however, the win is being undermined by a recent decision handed down by South Africa’s Court of Appeal, which effectively legalizes the trade within South Africa.

The ruling is the result of a challenge to the ban brought by rhino ranchers, and those on their side continue to argue that funds could be used to support conservation efforts, but opponents have serious concerns that it will do more harm than good, especially with poaching levels reaching record highs.

They also point to the fact that there’s virtually no market for horns within South Africa, which has raised worries that they will most likely be smuggled out and sold elsewhere illegally, and that legalizing the trade will kill the message that rhino horn, like elephant ivory, is something no one should be buying at all.

According to Reuters, in response the government may now change legislation, make obtaining permits to buy, sell or possess rhino horns so difficult to get it effectively stifles the trade, or it may possibly appeal to a higher court, but it’s not yet clear what course of action it will take.

Hopefully, it will do something to undo this. Considering the global efforts being undertaken to combat the illegal trade in wildlife and to promote the conservation of imperiled species in their natural habitats, we need to continue to push for more work on those fronts and rethink how inherently valuable these species are, instead of trying to figure out ways to ‘save’ them through continued exploitation.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

PLEASE SIGN THIS PETITION:

Urge The Florida Legislature to Ban The Sale of Ivory and Rhino Horns To Protect Endangered Wildlife!

SIGN THE PETITION & ORIGINAL NEWS SITEhttp://www.care2.com/causes/south-africa-legalizes-rhino-horn-trade-despite-massive-opposition.html

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Graphic Video – Animals Australia; Greyhound Racing, What Everyone Needs To Know – Petition To Sign

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Greyhound racing authorities publicly call it ‘abhorrent’. They also say it has been ‘outlawed’. But that hasn’t stopped high profile trainers across the country from subjecting defenceless animals to barbaric live baiting rituals in an attempt to gain a ‘winning’ edge on the racetrack.

Viewer Discretion Advised

Published on 18 Feb 2015

They’re the victims you’ll never see at the racetrack. Tied up, terrified, and savagely mauled in widespread ‘live baiting’ sessions. Groundbreaking Animals Australia / Animal Liberation Qld investigations uncover the shocking truth. More @http://www.GreyhoundCruelty.com

***WARNING*** Please note that this video contains footage of which many will find distressing. To take immediate action to help animals without watching the video, head to http://www.GreyhoundCruelty.com

POSSUMS  

Native possums — a protected species — were also tied to lures and flung violently around training tracks. Before being used as live bait, one mother possum watched on helplessly as her baby was killed in front of her.

PIGLETS  

Piglets — one of the most intelligent and sensitive of all species — were a common choice among live baiters. Their futile squeals could be heard as their bodies were torn apart.

RABBITS  

After several laps, rabbits with pieces torn from their bodies twitch and writhe in agony. Their spine-chilling screams ring out across the training track.

KITTENS  

While investigation footage captured only piglets, rabbits and possums — kittens have long been reported to be among the victims of live baiting, too.

Investigation footage shows naturally gentle dogs provoked into displaying aggressive and violent behaviour in ‘blooding’ sessions. Those who don’t race fast enough to turn a profit are often killed — sometimes they are shot.

The inherent conflict of interest presented by those ‘promoting’ the sport also ‘policing’ it could not be more damning. While self-regulation continues, there can be little hope that live baiting will ever be eradicated from this industry.

You can help put a stop to this cruelty. Make your voice heard today.

The damning Animals Australia and Animal Liberation Qld investigations have revealed that this sadistic training method is all too common.Terrified piglets, rabbits and native possums are all victims of live baiting — tied to lures, flung around racetracks at breakneck speeds, and then mauled to death. Some animals who survived their first attack were ‘re-used’ multiple times…

Bait‘ animals are not the only victims of this industry. Greyhounds themselves — naturally gentle dogs — are often kept in deplorable living conditions off-track. Live baiters will taunt and incite their dogs to chase, attack, and ultimately kill small animals.

If dogs fail to ‘perform’, they too may be killed. Industry-wide, some 18,000 greyhounds are killed every year because they aren’t deemed fast enough to win races.

The big question is — how can state governments and sponsors continue to support an industry that has been exposed for such abhorrent widespread illegal activity?

With the horrific revelations of live baiting cruelty in the greyhound racing industry following our investigations, I have been desperate to share with you a side to greyhounds that didn’t make it to the media this week. This little video has gone viral — watch it now and you’ll see why!

Published on 22 Feb 2015

If you’ve ever wanted a gentle, loyal, loving couch-potato to share your home with, consider adopting or fostering a greyhound today:http://www.AnimalsAus.org/beg

Despite their deep pockets, greyhound racing authorities have utterly failed to take effective action to address shocking brutality and illegal activity at the heart of this ‘sport’. Apparently, they didn’t even know about it. That is, until investigations by two small charities on a shoestring budget exposed routine and systemic ‘live baiting’…

 Something else that will you make you smile: Schweppes, Hyundai and Bendigo Bank are just some of the big names to end their support of this cruel industry in recent days:
Schweppes, Hyundai, McDonald's, Autobarn, Bendigo Bank, Century 21In fact, of all the major corporate supporters, just one company continues to support greyhound racing. Click here to see who’s left.
 The greyhound racing industry is on notice. Those who are willing to tie up, torture and kill animals in pursuit of a ‘win’ now have a national spotlight on their activities for the first time. With dozens of trainers now suspended, thousands of possums, rabbits and piglets will now be spared from the horror of being used as ‘live bait’. But while greyhound racing continues, we fear that innocent animals will still be tied up and mauled to death on private training tracks — albeit more carefully hidden.

If you haven’t already, please click here to add your voice to over 100,000 people taking a stand against greyhound racing cruelty. If you have — please share this with your friends and family today.

TAKE ACTION NOW

Together we can end greyhound racing cruelty, once and for all.

 Lyn White AM
Campaign Director

 Thank you.

Animals Australia and our colleagues at Animal Liberation Qld have been overwhelmed by the response to our investigations into the greyhound racing industry. Because you spoke out, this industry is under more scrutiny than ever before. State governments have launched inquiries; industry heavyweights have been stood down; sponsors are backing out; and commentators are questioning the future of the ‘sport’. Importantly, thousands of animals will be spared from the terror of being used as ‘live bait’. But there’s still much to do.

Please keep your voices loud, for the animals.

Animals AustraliaAnimal Liberation Qld

GREAT BRITAIN – Dark side of Greyhound Racing Investigation by BBC Panorama full Documentary 2014

Published on 4 Nov 2014

Panorama –
03/11/2014
The integrity of greyhound racing has been called into question by a Panorama investigation which has exposed blatant cheating and the drugging of dogs at the heart of the sport.
The undercover investigation caught a trainer revealing how he dopes greyhounds in order to effect betting coups – some of which he claims to have paid out up to £150,000.
The programme’s findings have prompted animal welfare campaigners to call for the government to reconsider the sport’s self-regulatory status.

Death threats for star Cheltenham jockey in row over dead horses

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“I have always disagreed with horse racing because most of the horses are usually too young to compete”

By JOHN STEVENS

PUBLISHED: 00:00, 14 March 2014

Ruby Walsh attacked on Twitter for comments describing animals as replaceable

  • Ruby Walsh created controversy when he said animals are replaceable after Our Conor suffered fatal fall at Cheltenham on first day
  • One tweet: ‘Ruby Walsh I hope you get your skull crushed by one of the horses you’re so heartlessly flippant about…’
  • On Wednesday, Mail reported how Walsh, who has twice won the Grand National, said there is a difference between death of a human and a horse

A star jockey has received death threats after he played down the death of a horse during a race.

Star jockey Ruby Walsh (above) has received death threats after he played down the death of a horse during a race. Above, Walsh on Faugheen celebrates victory in the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle during Ladies Day at Cheltenham on Wednesday

Animal rights campaigners have accused the 34-year-old Irishman of being callous, while others have bombarded him with threats.

One tweeted: ‘Ruby Walsh I hope you get your skull crushed by one of the horses you’re so heartlessly flippant about. Animals should not die for sport.’

Another added: ‘Shame more jockeys aren’t killed instead of beautiful horses!!!!!! All jockeys are complete c**ts!! No horse is replaceable!’ 

Ruby Walsh created controversy when he said that animals are replaceable after Our Conor suffered a fatal fall at Cheltenham on the first day of racing. Above, Our Conor (right) ridden by jockey Daniel Mullins

While another wrote: ‘@Ruby Walsh Don’t worry if you die in a race, there’ll be someone to replace you too.’ 

On Wednesday, the Mail reported how Ruby Walsh, who has twice won the Grand National, said that there is a difference between the death of a human and a horse.

He said: ‘It’s sad, but horses are animals, outside your back door. Humans are humans. They are inside your back door.

‘You can replace a horse. You can’t replace a human being. That’s my feeling on it.’ 

Dene Stansall of campaign group Animal Aid told the Mail: ‘He has shown callousness for the animals that have earned him a good living.

‘It’s completely disrespectful. To treat the death of a horse in such a way shows that they are merely machines for people to make money.

‘Ruby Walsh is the leading jockey at Cheltenham and wants to support the event as much as he can, but you cannot disregard the lives of horses just because they are not humans.

‘We would expect more from him. This shows he has got little empathy for a horse that really suffered before it died.’

‘Lacking respect’: Ruby Walsh, seen after taking a record sixth Mares’ Hurdle title at the Cheltenham Festival on Tuesday, has been attacked by animal rights activists

Ingrid Newkirk, founder of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), said: ‘Walsh’s comments expose the true emotion behind horseracing: greed. They are deeply offensive to anyone who has ever loved and lost a horse or other beloved animal companion.

‘Unlike Walsh, horses are not unfeeling but experience joy, anxiety, fear and affection, just as human beings do.’ 

Mr Walsh last night declined to comment on the threats against him. He told the Mail: ‘I didn’t even know about it.’ Dozens of messages criticising Walsh have been sent directly to his Twitter account.

One user, with the profile name Amy, wrote: ‘Do you hate horses because you are so short and this makes you angry?’ 

Another posted: ‘YOUR (sic) AN IDIOT!! ‘A horse can be replaced’ really??? So can jockeys so I hope you fall off a horse & get trampled!’ 

Since the furore, Mr Walsh’s father, trainer Ted Walsh, has compared Britain’s attitude on the issue to that in Ireland.

He said of the UK: ‘It’s a funny country. They can remember the names of horses that got blown up by the bombs in London but not the names of the people riding them.’ 

The British Horse racing Association has stressed that the welfare of horses is ‘paramount’ at races such as Cheltenham. “So I have to ask….why are they racing horses on flat or over jumps when the horses are not mentally & physically ready for such a task>”

A spokesman said: ‘Cheltenham Racecourse employs eight veterinary surgeons, whose sole responsibility it is to provide care to the horses throughout their time at the racecourse.

‘In the event of an incident on the racecourse, any horse affected will receive immediate attention and treatment from the racecourse’s veterinary team.” I.E put them to sleep, because they can be fixed but wouldn’t be worth any money to the owners or syndicate if they are not bring the money home;plenty more being bred for this very reason!!!”

‘Qualified paramedics and doctors are also on hand in the case of any incident involving a jockey.

‘If necessary, horses and riders will be transported from the course to receive further treatment at the most appropriate equine hospital or Accident & Emergency hospital.

‘British Racing is open and transparent about the risks involved in the sport – the BHA Veterinary team monitors injury rates at every licensed racecourse. Over the last 15 years, the equine fatality rate has fallen by one third to 0.2 per cent of all runners. “OK, then go look at the Animal Aids ” Race Horse Death”? That will tell you exactly where, when & who was the jockey….I don’t know of any other site where I could get that information from!! http://www.horsedeathwatch.com/

‘Despite the best efforts of all involved, as with participation in any sport involving speed and athleticism, there remains an inherent risk of injury.’

News Link:-http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2580575/Cheltenham-rider-Ruby-Walsh-gets-death-threats-row-dead-horses.html#ixzz2vxVLOWYQ
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

STOP PRESS: REPORTS OF THIRD HORSE DEAD AT CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL

Posted 12 March 2014

A four-year-old horse, inexperienced over the jumps and ridden by a young, inexperienced jockey, became the second victim of the 2014 Cheltenham Festival. Akdam broke a foreleg racing in the 16.40 Juvenile Handicap Hurdle. On the Festival’s opening day (Tuesday), Our Conor suffered what turned out to be fatal spinal injuries in the Champion Hurdle race.Akdam was running in a hotly contested, crowded race, featuring 24 horses. His ‘conditional’ jockey, Josh Hamer, was up against leading riders including, AP McCoy, Tom Scudamore and Ruby Walsh.Akdam had been entered into 20 previous races, 11 of them hurdle events, the others on the flat or all-weather courses. In fact, he was bred to race on the flat but ended up at a very young age being put over jumps.Says Dene Stansall, Horseracing Consultant, Animal Aid:

‘Akdam died in a race that was rough messy and hazardous. No doubt racing’s apologists will offer yet another unconvincing excuse for why this horse suffered this violent end.

Animal Aid’s recent report points to Cheltenham as being the course on which more horses die than any other in the country. Akdam’s brutal end brings to 50 the number who have perished at the Gloucestershire course since Animal Aid launched the online Deathwatch database in March 2007.’

Stop press: It is reported this evening (Wednesday) that the Festival has claimed a third victim. Five-year-old Stack The Deck was destroyed after fracturing a knee in the 17.15 Champion Bumper.News Link:http://www.animalaid.org.uk/h/n/NEWS/news_horse/ALL/3066//

 

The dark side of horse racing

Uploaded on 25 Mar 2008

Most people regard horse racing as a harmless sport in which the animals are willing participants who thoroughly enjoy the thrill. The truth is that behind the scenes lies a story of immense suffering.

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Sentencing Delayed For Man Who Killed His Dog With A Bat

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“I know I said I wasn’t going to write extra or edit posts etc.; enabling me to get more posts out…but in some cases I just can’t keep quiet & this is one of them!”

“This is absolutely ridiculous…stop wasting taxpayers money & throw the sick bxxxxxd in jail for a very long time. We’re talking about an alcoholic druggy, bashing the head of a dog in with a baseball bat…then throwing the dog in a dumpster to die! Yet that isn’t the issue!! He did it alright, but it’s to be proved if Whitlock caused “undue pain & suffering”…erm der…if anyone has any doubt on whether that dog suffered, then that person should get someone to whack them over the head with a baseball bat several times; then say otherwise!

“How the hell can anyone say; that poor dog didn’t suffer?? If Whitlock wanted to kill Captain (dog) because he thought he was suffering, why didn’t he kill him; instead of dumping the dogs body in a dumpster???” 

” Whitlock has been diagnosed with psychosis and has showed signs of paranoia and schizophrenia, exacerbated by alcohol and marijuana. WTF…never heard anything so stupid in all my life…of course the dog bloody suffered…terribly in agony!! But not only that…the streets would be a lot safer, with this pathetic excuse on 2 legs; being slammed up in jail!!” R.I.P Captain x

A 26-year-old Vancouver man who admitted that he killed his German shepherd with a baseball bat last July will have to wait awhile longer before finding out his sentence.

Provincial Court Judge David St. Pierre reserved his sentencing decision on Tuesday for Brian E. Whitlock, who has pleaded guilty to causing undue pain and suffering to an animal. No new court date was set, but St. Pierre said he hoped to conclude the case as early as next week.

During Tuesday’s sentencing hearing, Crown counsel Jordan Hauschildt said Whitlock should receive a sentence of four to six months in jail, less time served. Whitlock has already spent 45 days in jail.

The court was told that Whitlock admitted hitting his dog Captain in the head with a baseball bat four or five times as hard as he could. Hauschildt said Whitlock did not account for several puncture wounds on the dog’s body. “That is an abhorrent way for an animal to die,” Hauschildt said.

Hauschildt told the court that the case has generated significant media coverage, as well as two online petitions that have generated more than 130,000 signatures calling for justice for Captain. Another petition circulated by the Animal Advocates Society of B.C. garnered 750 signatures calling on the court to give Whitlock the maximum sentence of five years in jail. Hauschildt said Whitlock has also received death threats.

Several women in the courtroom cried openly during Hauschildt’s description of Captain’s death.

“I can’t believe the following quote from the trial…”

During the hearing, St. Pierre said the issue was not whether Whitlock had the right under the law to euthanize his dog. He did. Instead, it must be decided whether he caused undue pain and suffering when he killed Captain. Whitlock has also pleaded guilty to other charges of mischief and assault. “How stupid, it’s a no brainer; of course he caused pain & suffering!”

Brian Whitlock, 26, threw Captain the dog into a dumpster & left him to die!!

The court was told that Whitlock believed Captain was poisoned after eating something, which caused him to behave erratically. “Its more likely that Whitlock was behaving erratically from booze & drugs; perhaps the dog was acting in self defence from Whitlock…does anyone know what state Whitlock was in on the night it happened??”

He said he kept Captain in a separate room because he did not feel safe being with the dog. “This beautiful angel was not taken in as a police dog; because he was too friendly!!”

He decided to kill Captain because he felt the dog was his responsibility. He did not take him to the SPCA because he couldn’t afford it and because he was afraid of what Captain might do to other people.

Defence lawyer Tony Paisana said Whitlock has been diagnosed with psychosis and has showed signs of paranoia and schizophrenia, exacerbated by alcohol and marijuana.

Paisana said Whitlock loved Captain and slept with Captain every night. After he hit Captain with a baseball bat, he placed the dog – still alive – in a dumpster, wrapped in the blanket they slept in together.

“He believed his dog was suffering and that it was up to him to put Captain out of his misery,” Paisana said. “But he didn’t put him out of his misery did he?? He left him to suffer, a slow agonising death!”

News Link: http://www.vancouversun.com/life/Sentencing+delayed+killed+with/8480502/story.html#ixzz2VM18matc

Related previous news link:-https://preciousjules1985.wordpress.com/2012/12/04/graphic-image-animal-cruelty-charges-filed-against-owner-of-german-shepherd-found-in-kitsilano-dumpster/

Dog Set Afire in George County Dies Of Its Injuries

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“He may have wanted this little pup to go to heaven, the psycho ..but please God…I hope there is a hell for people like this!”

Man arrested on animal cruelty charges, was wanted on two warrants

GEORGE COUNTY May 23– A Lucedale man arrested on a charge of animal cruelty Tuesday is accused of dousing his 5-year-old Chihuahua mix in a flammable liquid and setting it on fire, George County Sheriff Dean Howell said.

The dog, namedSocks,” died of massive burns to the body Thursday at George County Animal Hospital.

“Brandon Pierce – Peice of shit, I would like to do same to him”

Arrested on a charge of misdemeanor animal cruelty was Brandon Pierce, 20. Authorities, however, said they hope to upgrade the charge against Pierce to a felony charge of aggravated animal cruelty as early as today.

Deputies said the dog was on fire when they responded to a 911 call for help at the home on Greenwood Road, where Pierce lives with his family. The caller said Pierce was “going crazy on meth.”

When deputies got to the scene, Howell said, Pierce was acting “erratically” and saying he “wanted the dog to go to heaven.”

R.I.P Socks died after being set on fire. Picture courtesy of :-http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/24/brandon-pierce-dog-set-on-fire-help-go-to-heaven_n_3331400.html?utm_hp_ref=crime

Pierce was taken to George County Regional Hospital initially, then released to the custody of the sheriff’s office. At the time of his arrest, he was also wanted on two warrants for failure to appear in court.

After word spread about the incident, George County sheriff’s spokeswoman, Shonna Pierce, said the Sheriff’s Department was flooded with calls from people wanting to pay the bill for the dog’s emergency care.

“It is awful,” said Shonna Pierce, who is not related to Brandon Pierce. “Just awful. If you are going to have pets in George County, you have to be responsible for them. If you are not going to be responsible, you are going to be held accountable.”

After the arrest, Brandon Pierce was taken to the George County jail, where he remained Thursday.

Misdemeanor animal cruelty falls under the Mississippi Dog and Cat Pet Protection Law in the state.

The crime is punishable by up to a $1,000 fine or six months in Jail.

Pierce has had previous charges of animal cruelty. Before the death of Socks, Pierce had been charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty. Mississippi animal cruelty laws, however state that a second offense of aggravated cruelty is punishable by one to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

Rest in peace little Socks. We hope the person responsible for your horror and death is punished with the maximum sentence allowable by law.

News Link:http://www.examiner.com/article/lucedale-man-on-meth-douses-dog-with-flammable-liquid-and-sets-pup-on-fire

Rhino: No Horn Of Plenty

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“This is a long post, but if you are interested in Rhino, this is a must read & well worth the time needed to read it!!”

More rhinos will be killed in the next two years than will be born, so those charged with saving the endangered animal are considering radical and previously unimaginable solutions.

Twenty-four-hour watch: An anti-poaching team guards a de-horned northern white rhinoceros in Kenya in 2011. Photo: Brent Stirton

The battle to save the African rhinoceros has all the ingredients for a Hollywood thriller. There are armed baddies with good guys in hot pursuit. There is a hint of glamour. And the drama is played out against a backdrop of a beautiful, bloodstained landscape.

It is a story that begins, perhaps improbably, in Vietnam soon after the turn of the 21st century. A Vietnamese official of some influence, so the story goes, lets it be known that he, or perhaps it is his wife (for the sake of the story it matters little), has been cured of cancer. The miracle cure? Rhino horn powder.

With disconcerting speed, the story shifts to southern Africa, where a series of gunshots ring out across the African plains. This is followed by the hacking sound of machetes – it takes little time to dehorn a rhino because its horn consists not of bone but of keratin fibres with the density of tightly compressed hair or fingernails.

The getaway begins, armed rangers give chase. Once the horn leaves the flimsy protection of the national park or game reserve, where its former owner lies bleeding to death, it may never be found.

White Rhinoceros with a calf at Lake Nakuru national Park in Kenya. Photo: Martin Harvey/WWF

Its new owners never brought to justice. Sometimes they are caught. Sometimes they get away. Either way, another rhino is dead in a war that the bad guys seem to be winning.

The story shifts again, back to Vietnam where even the prime minister is rumoured to have survived a life-threatening illness after ingesting rhino horn. More than a cure for the country’s rich and powerful, however, rhino horn has by now crossed into the mainstream. Young Vietnamese mothers have taken to keeping at hand a supply of rhino horn to treat high fevers and other childhood ailments.

It is also the drug of choice for minor complaints associated more with the affluent lifestyle to which increasing numbers of Vietnamese have access; rhino horn has become a cure-all pick-me-up, a tonic, an elixir for hangovers.

With this new popularity has come the essential paraphernalia common to lifestyle drugs the world over, including bowls with specially designed serrated edges for grinding rhino horn into powder. In a short space of time, rhino horn has become the latest must-have accessory for the nouveau riche.

The sudden spike in Vietnamese demand, the miraculous fame of a saved official or his wife, and rhino horn’s emergence as a symbol of status all came at a time when legal stockpiles of rhino horn were at an all-time low. Demand and supply. This is the irrefutable law of economics.

Or, as one expert in the illegal trade in rhino horn put it: ”It was a perfect storm of deadly consumption.”

The rhinoceros is one of the oldest creatures on earth, one of just two survivors – the other is the elephant – of the megaherbivores that once counted dinosaurs among their number. Scientists believe rhinos have changed little in 40 million years.

The rhino’s unmistakable echo of the prehistoric and the mystery that surrounds such ancient creatures – this is the animal that Marco Polo mistook for a unicorn, describing it as having the feet of an elephant, the head of a wild boar and hair like a buffalo – have always been its nemesis.

As early as the first century AD, Greek traders travelled to the east, where the rhino horn powder they carried was prized as an aphrodisiac. But the rhino survived and, by the beginning of the 20th century, rhino numbers ran into the hundreds of thousands.

They were certainly plentiful in 1915 when the Roosevelts travelled to Africa to hunt. Kermit, the son, observed a rhinoceros ”standing there in the middle of the African plain, deep in prehistoric thought”, to which Theodore the father is quoted as replying: ”Indeed, the rhinoceros does seem like a survival from the elder world that has vanished.”

The Roosevelts then proceeded to shoot them.

Rhinos are epic creatures, gunmetal grey and the second-largest land animal on earth. Up to five metres long and weighing as much as 2700 kilograms, the white rhino, the largest of all rhino species, can live up to 50 years if left to grow old in the wild. In an example of advanced evolutionary adaptability, the black rhino will happily choose from about 220 plant species, eating more than 70 kilograms of plants a day.

These impressive numbers, combined with some of the rhino’s more limiting characteristics – it has very poor eyesight – have added to the myth that surrounds it.

”A slight movement may bring on a rhino charge,” reported nature writer Peter Matthiessen in the 1960s. ”Its poor vision cannot make out what’s moving and its nerves cannot tolerate suspense.”

Thus it was that the rhinoceros became a permanent member of the ”big five”, the roll-call of the most dangerous animals in Africa as defined by professional hunters.

But respect has always been tinged with derision. ”I do not see how the rhinoceros can be permanently preserved,” Theodore Roosevelt is reported as wondering, ”save in very out-of-the-way places or in regular game reserves … the beast’s stupidity, curiosity and truculence make up a combination of qualities which inevitably tend to ensure its destruction.”

In the 1960s, one eminent scientist described the rhinoceros as ”a very pathetic prehistoric creature, quite unable to adapt itself to modern times. It is our duty to save and preserve this short-tempered, prehistorically stupid but nevertheless so immensely lovable creature.”

Such disparaging remarks aside, they were, of course, right to be worried.

We have been here before when it comes to saving the rhino. In 1960, an estimated 100,000 black rhinos roamed across Africa, absent only from tropical rainforests and the Sahara. By 1981, 15,000 remained. In 1995, there were just 2410 left on the continent. In 2006, the western black rhino was declared extinct.

In Kenya, the numbers of black rhino fell from 20,000 at the beginning of the 1970s to 300 within a decade. This catastrophic fall in rhino numbers was the consequence of a poaching slaughter that consumed the country’s wildlife as lucrative ivory and rhino horn was consumed to meet the growing demand in Asia; rhino horn also made its way to the Arabian Peninsula, where it was used to fashion the handles of traditional Yemeni daggers.

It was in Kenya’s south, in the Tsavo National Park, that the war against rhinos reached its nadir – the park’s rhino population fell from 9000 in 1969 to less than 100 in 1980.

Since then, rhino numbers have rebounded thanks to a combination of legal protection – the trade in rhino horn was declared illegal under the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in 1975 – and beefed-up security.

When I visited the Tsavo West Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary three decades after the massacre, I was met by guards in full military fatigues and armed with machineguns. ”These rhinos in here,” one guard told me, ”they receive more protection than many African presidents.”

Kenya’s population of black rhinos grew to about 600, with the continent-wide figure thought to be 10 times that number. Efforts to save the white rhino proved even more successful, with more than 20,000 in South Africa alone. A corner had been turned, it seemed, and the battle to save the rhino was counted among the great conservation success stories of our time.

And then Vietnam acquired a taste for rhino horn.

In 2007, 13 rhinos were killed in South Africa. In the years that followed, the rate of killing grew steadily. From 2007 to 2009, one quarter of Zimbabwe’s 800 rhinos were killed, and Botswana’s rhino population has fallen to just 38. In South Africa, home to 90 per cent of the world’s white rhinos, armed guards patrol the parks.

Even so, 448 rhinos were killed in 2011. The following year, the number rose to 668. In the first 65 days of 2013, poachers killed 146 rhinos. At current rates the figure for this year will be close to 830.

As a result, rhino populations could soon reach a tipping point that may prove difficult to reverse. The rhino death rate will exceed its birth rate within two years on current trends, according to Dr Mike Knight, chairman of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s African Rhino Specialist Group. ”We would then be eating into rhino capital.”

Chief scientist of South Africa’s National Parks Hector Magome agrees: ”If poaching continues, the rhino population will decline significantly by 2016.”

The importance of saving Africa’s black and white rhinos is given added weight by the negligible numbers for the world’s other three surviving rhino species – the almost 3000 Indian rhinos live in highly fragmented populations, while just 220 Sumatran and fewer than 45 Javan rhinos survive. Vietnam’s last population of Javan rhinos was declared extinct in October 2011.

It is proving far easier to quantify the threats faced by Africa’s rhinos than it is to arrest the decline for one simple reason: what worked in the past no longer holds.

The recent upsurge in poaching has taken place in spite of the CITES regime of international legal protection. Security is also tighter than it has ever been.

In South Africa’s Kruger National Park, home to almost half the world’s white rhinos, 650 rangers patrol an area the size of Israel or Wales. This falls well short of the one-ranger-per-10-square-kilometres ratio recommended by international experts, and more than 100 rhinos have already been killed in Kruger this year.

Thus, those charged with saving the rhino are considering radical and hitherto unimaginable solutions. One such approach gaining traction is the controversial plan to legalise the trade in rhino horn, dehorn thousands of rhinos and flood the market with newly legal horns.

Were this to happen, supporters of the proposal say, the price of rhino horn – which reached $65,000 a kilogram in 2012 – would fall, and the incentive for poaching would diminish.

Dehorning has long been opposed by conservationists – rhinos use their horns to defend themselves and while feeding. But the failure of all other methods has convinced some that the time has come to contemplate the unthinkable.

”The current situation is failing,” Dr Duan Biggs, of the University of Queensland and one of the leading advocates for legalising the trade in horns, said recently. ”The longer we wait to put in place a legal trade, the more rhinos we lose.”

Dr Biggs and others point to the legalisation of the trade in crocodile products as an example of how such a plan could work.

Critics counter that any legalisation of the trade in rhino horns is unenforceable. They also argue that lax or ineffective legal controls in Vietnam – where trading in rhino horn is already illegal – and elsewhere ensure that it will be impossible to separate legally obtained rhino horns from those supplied by poachers.

”We don’t think it would stop the poaching crisis,” says Dr Colman O’Criodain, of the World Wildlife Fund. ”We think the legal trade could make it worse.’

The debate about saving rhinos is riddled with apparent contradictions: that we must consider disfiguring rhinos if we are to save them; that rhino numbers have not been this high in half a century but the risk of their extinction has never been greater.

And so it is that the story of the rhinoceros has reached a crossroads. It is a story that pits, on one side, a creature that has adapted to everything millions of years of evolution have thrown at it, against, on the other, the humans that will either drive the species to extinction or take the difficult decisions necessary to save it.

News Link-http://www.theage.com.au/world/no-horn-of-plenty-20130514-2jknt.html#ixzz2TKNlQary

AgGag Casts Doubt On Bill Requiring Quick Turnover of Animal Abuse Photos To Police

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Tennessee’s proposed “Ag Gag” law suffered a setback Thursday when the state’s attorney general labeled it “constitutionally suspect” and said it could violate freedom of the press and the right against self-incrimination.

The bill, awaiting either Gov. Bill Haslam’s signature or veto, would force anyone who purposefully took pictures or video of livestock abuse to turn those over to law enforcement within 48 hours.

That limits the media, incriminates those who captured the video through trespassing and exposes police to copyright problems should the public ask for copies, Attorney General Robert Cooper wrote.

Haslam has until Wednesday to either sign or veto the bill, his spokesman confirmed, but the governor’s office offered no further comment. If he took no action at all, it would pass into law automatically, with those who broke it facing a $50 fine.

The bill’s author, Rep. Andy Holt, R-Dresden, said he didn’t see a constitutional problem and compared its provisions to forcing medical doctors to report suspected child abuse.

A hog farmer and relentless critic of the Humane Society of the United States, Holt said the only reason someone would want to videotape animal abuse and hang onto it would be for profit.

“If people are engaged in criminal activity, it will be abundantly apparent.  “No it will not” You don’t have to have two months to provide clarity to law enforcement,” Holt said. “Ask yourself this question: Should an animal have to suffer an abusive situation for two months?” “Those animals will suffer whether being videod or not, if they are already in an abusive situation; often the management don’t know their animals are being abused. To ensure a conviction, evidence has to be collected over a period of time, so people can’t say it was a “one off” act of violence…FFS people…open your eyes. Those who want Ag-Gag laws must want them for a reason!!”

A two-month undercover investigation by the Humane Society led to state and federal animal abuse charges last year against famed Tennessee Walking Horse trainer Jackie McConnell of Collierville. The group released stomach-turning video of McConnell beating a horse and of its legs being chemically burned to encourage the breed’s prized longer, higher gait.

Holt said his bill has nothing to do with that case. Instead, it would prevent video of legitimate animal husbandry being represented as inhumane and used for fund raising, he said.

Humane Society leaders held a news conference earlier Thursday at Gaylord Opryland Convention Center, where the group is holding its Animal Care Expo. They denounced Holt’s bill and called upon the Tennessee attorney general’s office to investigate the walking horse industry.

A letter from the group to Cooper cites a 76 percent positive rate on U.S. Department of Agriculture tests for foreign substances on horses’ legs at the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration last year in Shelbyville.

“We need to know what perversion looks like and not be a part of any activity to either celebrate it, encourage it or somehow honor it,” said Dr. Michael Blackwell, president of the online Humane Society University.

Mike Inman, the Celebration’s CEO, didn’t respond to messages left Thursday but has said that walking horse trainers found McConnell’s actions deplorable. He said the industry is striving for 100 percent compliance with the federal Horse Protection Act.

Written by Heidi Hall The Tennessean

News Like:-http://www.tennessean.com/article/20130510/NEWS0201/305100086/AG-casts-doubt-bill-requiring-quick-turnover-animal-abuse-photos-police?nclick_check=1

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