While going through this vast literature on a daily basis—as I have been doing extensively since I decided to establish noanimalpoaching.org—one reads and assesses a vast array of articles and news stories on these interrelated topics. Most of those articles and news accounts are short, familiar, to the point, and they’re are by and large focused on only one small facet of animal poaching; and most of them, quite truthfully, are either redundant and/or aren’t worth referencing. However, once in a while you run across a gem: a piece worth savoring and rereading, one worth talking about, and telling others about, because it’s first rate, or noteworthy, or remarkable, or maybe even all of these things. And that’s exactly what a recent article in The Atlantic is, because it’s unquestionably all of these things, and it’s about as comprehensive an article as one can hope to read on animal poaching—that is, traditionally-defined animal poaching, as is exemplified by the global ivory trade and its inestimable, dreadful, subsidiaries and consequences.
I am referring to Matthew Scully’s article of June 6th entitled “Inside the Global Industry That’s Slaughtering Africa’s Elephants,” which you can access right on this site. It’s rather lengthy compared to most, typical newspaper-length pieces, but not overly so. But, in my opinion, it’s not long enough—in fact, I couldn’t stop reading it, and I was sorry when I came to the end. Not because it wasn’t good but because it’s that good, that comprehensive, and that emotive. (indeed, I found the article extremely moving and about as wide-ranging in scope as one could ever expect of the topic). I don’t intend to review the piece here—I’ll let you read it yourselves and benefit from its authority, and from Scully’s thorough knowledge of the subject matter without my biased comments—but first I shall merely add one, brief aside on the author and what he's up against.
Mr. Scully is a Republican--a conservative speechwriter no less—and he’s also the author of Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy. I mention this not because there’s anything inherently bad or wrong with Republicans. But, when one compares his apparent first-hand insights and incisive analysis to what has recently be stated by other Republican commentators on the status and necessity of animal welfare laws—see, for example, this and this for contrasting, if not diametrically opposing perspectives on the need for wildlife protection (and both items published within one day of Scully's piece)—it becomes infinitely clear that there’s a huge difference between real knowledge and political rhetoric. One can only hope that informed individuals such a Skully will be able to help guide their party’s policies on the environment and on all kindred matters in the foreseeable future, because it’s clear that, the way things stand right now, the future isn’t very rosy for animals who must rely on the ideology of currently-elected Republican officials’ for their wellbeing or for their very existence.