In case you haven't been reading the updates, we are no longer updating the new postings after July 31st. Our website is deteriorating rapidly, and we simply cannot spend all of our time fixing it; that scenario means we don't have adequate time to post things in a timely manner. For additional information on this devolving situation, please go to the two posts immediately below this notice, starting with THIS LINK. Sorry for the inconvenience this will likely result in for our many visitors and those who receive our RSS feeds, but we're likewise certain that you--like us--are tired of hearing us complain about the state of disrepair if this website. And, without the requiste funds to build a new one, we simply don't see any logical way to proceed. If you have any suggestions to keep us alive, we'd be most interested in hearing them; you can send us an e-mail by GOING HERE. All the very best and thanks for your abiding support!
Help, Please! NAP has just opened up a new business (nonprofit) Facebook page, and we need desperately need your FB "likes" in order to obtain FB analytics. (What a world this has become!) With your personal FB account you can "like" a business page and/or a photo and/or a post on a FB business page, etc. (Unfortunately, a business FB account cannot "like" anything on a personal FB page and almost nothing on another business FB page, or else I'd reciprocate. Crazy, ain't it?) Looking forward to your help and please do leave a comment or more, too. MANY THANKS in advance!
Link to the NAP page: facebook.com/noanimalpoaching
P.S.--I'm working on a NAP Google+ page, too, and that should be ready shortly.
I must sincerely apologize for falling so far behind on this portion of the site. Alas, I never even finished the series on "Poaching The Bovid Family"--see here, here, and here--not to mention getting to several other, similar such series I had planned.
This has mostly come about due to website hosting software & hardware issues that starting plaguing me back in late July/early August. They got worse in September, and by October things got so bad that I had to shut things down for a week because nothing was working properly. Since then, I have been "limping along" as best as possible, but it has meant that all my energy and time has been devoted to making sure the daily Animal Poaching News section (and all the related subsections that stem directly from it) is up and functioning as it should, which has resulted in a near-complete neglect of this area. A large number of visitors have come to rely on the Animal Poaching News portion, so that (for better or worse) is where I have devoted all of my efforts of late.
I do not anticipate things getting much better anytime soon, either. I have pushed the host's software and hardware to--and indeed way beyond--their respective limits, and that surely isn't going to change in the near future. Further, to do what I need to do in order for this site to reach the goals I had set out when I started, I'd need to have the requisite financial resources to move things forward, and that's just not happening.
As such, I'll need to make some significant decisions by the end of the year; and there's a better than 50-50 likelihood that I may be forced to shut everything down at that point without the much-needed resources to (at minimum) have a better, more reliable site built. I abhor the thought of having to do that, but I see no point in "merely hobbling along" on one leg (so to speak) and consequently going nowhere as a result.
Again, I apologize for having neglected this area of the site the past few months. Stay tuned for the final verdict. If you have any suggestions, please let me know ASAP; or you can alternatively leave a comment right here by clicking on the "Comments" button (above). Thank you in advance.
Staged Animal Fights
I’ve been asked about animal fighting, more specifically about animals used by individuals to make money by getting those animals to compete in staged fights. Most typically, this involves dogs and roosters, but other animals are sometimes utilized in this idiotic, detestable practice. While it’s true that the animals involved tend to come from questionable sources—many of them are “found” and/or raised for the sole purpose of fighting other animals of their same species—I do not see these sorts of news stories as part of this site's purview, or directly related to this organization’s existence. In many ways--as I alluded to in post #2--they’re akin to the news stories about protests earmarking the harboring and ill treatment of elephants (and some other animals) by zoos and circuses, or the way elephants are routinely mistreated by their trainers and mahouts in many Asian societies.
Yes, such instances of animal abuse are both disturbing and malevolent; and yes, the people who do this sort of thing should be prosecuted for committing such callous acts of self-centered behavior that is directed toward otherwise innocent animals (i.e., solely to make money off of these animals by instigating and staging fighting); and, yes, the animals involved frequently to die from these human-initiated battles. However, this is not the same as poaching, or even cattle rustling, and these sorts of stories are best left to other sites and other groups to deal with. There are plenty animal abuse, animal rescue, and animal rights organizations that regularly shed light on such tragic, mindless behavior, and I believe that No Animal Poaching is not the most appropriate site to highlight this sort of heinous activity. If the animals involved are in fact poached animals—and I suspect that in most instances that’s not a very clear-cut, irrefutable fact—then that would seem to be a case in point where such news posting do belong here. But, as repugnant as these stories are, I don’t anticipate them appearing here on a recurring basis.
Think otherwise? Please feel free to comment and express your views. I would very much like to hear what you have to say about this.
Although there are those who believe that cattle rustling is not poaching (see this, for instance), I have a difficult time separating the two things. If one merely reads at some basic, dictionary definitions of poaching, it’s simply the matter of stealing that which is not yours; and I do not see how the notion of it being “wild” versus “private” makes any logical difference. Things (whether they be animals or anything else) that are “owned” by individuals are simply given that status because they reside/exist on someone’s property (sometimes they’re purchased, like cattle, and sometimes, like flora, they’re merely growing there, naturally). The act of illegally obtaining them doesn’t, whether stealing them from public (“wild”) lands versus private lands, in my mind, does not change a thing. Theft is theft. The item being taken (whether killed or taken alive) does not know or appreciate this differentiation, and the end result is the exact same thing: animals (or any other resource) have been surreptitiously taken to be sold (in whole or in part) for whatever reason(s) the new “owner” and buyer(s) intend(s). So, to me cattle rustling news article have been included on this site.
Plant Poaching. The Antiquities Trade.
It likely goes without saying, but, since this site is expressly about animal poaching, the focus is on animals and not on plants, which means there are not plant-poaching-specific news posts here. There are some articles on NAP that deal with both—just as there are agencies (like CITES) and organizations (like FFI) that address both plant & animal issues—but our mandate and express focus is on animal poaching only. (Conceivably, there’s no reason why a companion site to NAP couldn’t be created, one that would only address the poaching of plants. I believe such a site would serve a real purpose.)
Along a somewhat related train of thought, there are individuals who engage in the theft, relocation, and sale of very old, dead animal remains, most notably dinosaur-era bones. This has become a highly lucrative trade of late, and it clearly does deal directly with animal poaching of a sort (albeit long-dead, long-extinct animals). Although one of NAP’s key goals is to avert the possible extinction of extant animal species, I believe that’s where the similarity between animal poaching and the world of antiquities ends. As such, I cannot see any good, logical reason for posting news articles with this focus on this site. There is the connected topic of the “trophy animal” question and the taxidermy business, which both similarly deal with dead animals and animal parts in much the same manner as dinosaur-era bone trafficking does, but that’s perhaps best left to a separate, subsequent discussion/posting?
Two Types of Animal Farming
With respect to poaching, animal "farming" can be a tough issue to adjudge and come to terms with. On the one hand, there are thousands of farms that raise animals specifically for an urban or semi-urban economy, whereby people agree to buy their end products (whole and processed dead animals) in lieu of killing wildlife (and, at times, one another!) for their survival. These farms do serve a vital function in that they do society's killing for us, avoiding the necessity that we, individually, kill animals for consumptive, dietary purposes. Moreover, these farms raise and slaughter common, "domesticated" animals that are in no way in any danger of potential extinction (e.g., chickens, beef cattle, pigs, sheep, rabbits, etc., etc.). On the other hand, though, there are "farms" that deal with much more exotic animals--wildlife species that are far more in danger of potential extinction--and these farms are likewise the source of many live animal (i.e., exotic/novelty pets) sales that are generally earmarked only for the well-to-do buyer, often to keep as a form of live amusement/entertainment/a "trophy" on display; others purchase the body parts of these exotic wild animals in the belief that they cure ailments and/or buy them for the purpose of ingesting them as a pleasurable food source. In these instances--although the line that separates these two kinds of animal "farms" is admittedly quite narrow--I believe the former examples are not animal poaching cases while the latter examples, in the main, are. (A vegetarian could of course logically argue that all animal killing is the same thing. But, if we agree that most urban societies are not likely to give-up on all forms of meat eating any time soon, which means animal farming and the related slaughter of those animals isn't going away any time soon, either, I believe an unemotional comparison of the two types of farming can be made and appreciated.) In short, when it comes to animal farms, it seems evident to me that people can usually recognize the differences--"you know it (poaching) when you see or read about it"--and a clear distinction between the two needs to be made vis-a-vis this site and organization.
As stated yesterday, there are individuals who opt to hunt and fish for wild animals, as a food source, without licenses. I juxtaposed residents of urban and semi-urban societies who hunt for such "bushmeat" as a choice with people living in "traditional" and quasi-traditional societies who likewise hunt and fish for wild animals but do so because it's their main avenue of survival. But there also is a category of individuals who live in non-traditional locales who seem to flaunt the very notion of "rule of law" behavior, and for these individuals laws simply do not apply to them (in their own minds); they do whatever they want whenever they want to. In this example of hunting and fishing, this means anything goes.
Within modern, Western(ized) societies, and enshrined under numerous international laws, hunting and fishing permits & licenses exist not solely as income-generating mechanisms. They exist because nowadays there's a widespread understanding that, to sustain a given species or an ecosystem in the wild, certain restrictions--e.g., the need to abide by the use of permissible, sanctioned techniques and/or technologies to hunt or fish, an awareness of the seasonality/hibernation/migration factor of all wildlife, the adherence to a specific number (limits/quotas) one is allowed to catch, and the equally important adherence to a size and/or a weight minimum of the species being fished/hunted, etc., etc--need to be imposed and must be duly enforced. If not, the species or entire ecosystems in question will indeed become overhunted/overfished and, ultimately, left unchecked, could become threatened, endangered and/or extinct over time. Individuals and groups who avoid, or circumvent, such "extinction-preventing restrictions" (such as not obtaining requisite permits and/or licenses, ignoring quotas and/or size/weight minimums, etc.) are, in my view, animal poachers, and their stories do in fact belong here. This includes a solitary person arrested for fishing without a permit just as much as it applies to 20 people arrested aboard an ocean-going trawler out on the high seas, bringing in an enormous haul of protected species and/or using unpermitted technology to capture fish that are in no way likely to become endangered any time soon. There is no difference other than the scale of the two events.
Survival vs Bushmeat
On the surface, there are parallel activities that may not immediately reveal that one of them is directly akin to animal poaching, while the other is not. I believe that the juxtaposition of these two activities goes to the crux of what NAP is and is not all about. I'm thinking here about the seemingly similar subjects/topics of hunting for survival and the unlicensed slaughter of wild animals for human consumption.
By intentionally including the world "unlicensed" here I'm not referring to remote, indigenous peoples who live a "traditional" or semi-traditional lifestyle--for instance, in environs like the high arctic or deep inside the tropical forests of isolated locales like Borneo or New Guinea--societies in which some groups still spend a sizable amount of their time hunting, which includes capturing, killing, and eating wildlife for their very survival. To me, these people are not poaching animals so much as "living off the land." Hence, I would not include news stories about them as part of NAP's mission. (I concede that there's a stage at which animals in such "traditional" societies become severely reduced in numbers and may in fact be considered endangered or worse, at which point one might question the inherent logic in those societies carrying on their animal-killing ways, unabated. Similarly, there are situations when one wild animal species, left alone, without outside [human\ intervention, will systematically wipe out another animal species. These, however, are tricky issues--and not the directly within the scope of this site/organization--issues best left to philosophers, perhaps?)
On the other hand, people who today live in urban and semi-urban environments, but who elect, for whatever reasons, to go and butcher wild animals for their meat ("bushmeat" has become a common, useful term in many parts of the world), I believe such news stories should be part of this site and this organization's focus. Typically, these killings are not solely for survival reasons: There's almost always a trade-related aspect/by-product involved--body parts that are sold elswhere, for a number of uses, such as ivory, rhino horn powder, and sundry animal organs that are harvested for ceremonial, mediciaal, and/or for religious purposes--and that's where I believe the practice changes from "mere hunting" to true poaching. Traditional, rural societies hunt as a primary means of survival. Selected individuals in modern, urban settings hunt for food without a permit or license as a choice. In my way of seeing the world, the former does not constitute poaching, while the latter does.
Animal Welfare, etc., etc.
There are animal-related news stories and animal-based organizations that deal directly with certain aspects/subject areas of animal treatment other than poaching, and that's their specific foci. In this instance I am thinking about topics/associations/groups that examine such things as the (mis)treatment of animals in zoos, circuses, and in similar, display-oriented contexts/venues (such as throughout south and southeast Asia where, for example, elephants are "on display" in a variety of settings, many of which have come under heavy scrutiny of late, due to the callous manner in which those elephants are treated by their owners and/or mahouts). There are also countless associations that deal with broadly-defined "animal welfare" concerns--such as the many groups that rescue resident pets and feral animals, the animal cruelty & humane agencies, as well as conservation & environmental groups that investigate and educate the public about things such as animal abuse and deaths due to natural disasters, or illness from environmental pollution, or deaths from mass die-offs due to yet-to-be-explained phenomena.
All these groups deal first and foremost with animal concerns, but poaching is not their principal subject area, it's not the one thing these groups are working to eradicate. NoAnimalPoaching! is not a nature organization, our focus is not on conservation, environmental degredation, animal rescue, the use of animals in product testing, or quality of life concerns for animals, or the morality of eating animals as part of a human diet, or with any other, companion topic solely because it may have (in)direct relevance to animals. As such, I do not believe that NAP should include news stories/engage in projects of this nature. We deal specifically with animal poaching and animal poaching only.
Corporate Poaching & Human Trafficking
There are clearly a plethora of poaching-related topics, but not all of them seem appropriate for this site or organization. Some are better left to other organizations more finely attuned to these cognate and tangential topics. Some of these are obvious; some are far less obvious.
Although it's the exact same term, and it means essentially the same thing poaching means here, the practice of business or corporate poaching--or more appropriately, raiding (especially for sports franchises)--is certainly not the purview of NAP. Corporate poaching is about improving the bottom-line--both the corporation's bottom-line and the individual(s) being "poached" by that corporation--while animal poaching is most definitely not. This site/organization is centered around (non-human) animal poaching, which is an activity that is undertaken without an ounce of regard to those animals' best, self-interests. Animal poaching is about nothing but exploitation, pure and simple, whereby the animals being poached wind up dead.
In like manner--having indicated that corporate poaching differs from animal poaching because the former deals with humans, this raises the question of human trafficking, which is, at bottom, the "poaching" of humans against their will, much the same as animal poaching. Although it's an equally disgusting practice (just like animal poaching), human trafficking is not, per se, about killing the "poached" individuals; it's about using them as slaves and selling them as labor-intensive commodities, which means keeping them alive. While this is a repugnant practice, human trafficking news stories are not what this site or organization is about. The people who engage in human trafficking might be deemed "animals," but the human beings they poach/enslave are decidedly not animals.
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