An Angry Letter and A Positive Update

Dear Readers,

Thank you for visiting again after my prolonged absence.

Sh*t is hitting the fan these days, and I would be remiss not to put in my 2 cents. There are no cute drawings in this post because I don’t feel like it.

In a disgustingly anthropocentric move this week, President Trump and his cronies began the reversal of Obama’s ivory ban. Whatever bogus science Safari Club International claims supports this decision, the symbolism, much like in every other despicable decision this administration has made, outweighs any argument in support.

Mr. Trump, Safari Club and NRA lobbyists, and Fish/Wildlife Service puppets:

  1. This decision normalizes the vile pleasure trophy hunters experience from traveling across the world to kill an already endangered species. FOR A TROPHY. And, I don’t know what your definition of hunting is, but having a safari guide drop a hunter off at a sleeping elephant or an elephant that will stand its ground to protect its herd so the hunter can shoot it is not hunting. It is murder. It is deplorable and heart-breaking.
  2. Have you seen a dead elephant, or do your sons just saw off the tail and tusks and carry on before the rest of the terrified herd returns? Do your sons get back on their private jet while the rest of the elephant herd mourns, in human fashion, the loss of the one your sons just murdered? Do your sons boast about their “kill” while the dead elephant’s insides slowly decompose, causing the skin of the elephant to look like used tissue paper, crinkled and thin, while its majestic soul seeps out of its deflated body. How does the evil of this, or of the murders of lions and rhinos, how does this not weigh on you? Where is your humanity? Did it get locked in a bank vault? Did you lose it in a bankruptcy proceeding? Maybe you were born without it.
  3. Where is your common sense? There is no room for “well-regulated” trophy hunting (it burns my fingers to even type this) when 100 elephants are being poached every day. How does hunting. an. ENDANGERED. SPECIES. HELP? How? Elephants are literally disappearing. And reversing a symbolic and effective ban on the body parts ripped from murdered elephants just so Trump’s sons can continue with their awful, bloody hobby – it is just shockingly brazen to me. I just can’t understand. I can’t. Safari Club’s cited experts are wrong, for a lot of reasons. The lies are so obvious, it’s unbelievable. 
  4. What a legacy you are leaving, Mr. Trump. The White House, with its complicated yet sacred history, is a zoo now. Filled with your incompetent loyalists angling for a tiny bit of power or 15 minutes of fame. What a legacy. Despite a business with locations all over the globe, you are appallingly out of touch with reality. And, despite having brokered a few deals since your messy regime came to power, you’ve done nothing good. You are not improving our lives. You are embarrassing. You’re racist and narcissistic. The half of America that voted for you, deserves you. Because you’ve always been that way. But elephants? Please, please leave them out of your path of destruction. Elephants are good. Elephants are one of the only reliably beautiful parts of nature left. Despite hardships caused by climate change, that myth you continue to try to dispel, elephants haven’t resorted to dirty tactics to save themselves. They are hoping, maybe, humans will come to their senses and save them, or at least stop murdering them.
  5. You are doing this so a couple of wealthy hunters can bring back an elephant tusk to the U.S. From two countries. You really think hunters will limit themselves to those two countries? No. Trophy hunters are no better than poachers. Anyone who would murder an elephant is obviously not keen on showing the slightest bit of human decency, so why would they follow your rules? Money and lordship over the animals is what drives them, and you.
  6. You are breaking the hearts of the millions of people who work, everyday, for modest pay (usually no pay, actually), to improve the lives of animals. We want nothing in return except for healthy populations of endangered species. No fame, no money, no power. But you, that’s what drives you. And you are killing everything good on this planet for a deal, for a dollar, for power. What a monster.
  7. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke is a disgrace, too. The world is falling to pieces and he’s installing hunting arcade games in the Department of the Interior. He’s also a scam artist but, taken in the context of the rest of Trump’s cabinet, that’s not really news.  
  8. The worst part is, this will never stop. You, Mr. Trump, are old, ill-informed, and unfortunately set in your ways. I expect nothing less from you than ugly, money-driven transactions, at the expense of good people, defenseless animals, and the environment.

 

This stinks. So, let’s talk, instead, about people that actually care what happens to the rest of the world, and not our humiliating monkey of a president. Wait, monkey is too generous. I am truly horrified, but moving on.

Steven Wise heads up the Non-human Rights Project, which files suits on behalf of non-human animals (originally primates) to free them from captivity or otherwise fight for body liberty, or rights on the personhood spectrum. Recently (and as suggested in my paper, hehe), this group of animals grew to include elephants. This week, perhaps serendipitously in contrast to the horror of a reversed ivory ban, the NhRP filed suit in Connecticut on behalf of three elephants living in a ramshackle zoo up there. Apparently the zoo has repeatedly failed inspections, and what the hell is an elephant doing in Connecticut, anyway?

Minnie, Beulah, and Karen were all born in the wild. Now, they give back rides to nasty little kids and they have untreated sores on their feet. Their zoo has, 50 times, proven to be an inadequate home for them. Yet, here they are. Because the zoo wants to make money. Any person with a sliver of sense would see the elephants belong in a sanctuary, but in the spirit of the times most of the people involved continue to be disappointing and worthless. Hopefully Mr. Wise’s arguments are strong enough to convince a judge in Connecticut that the way we view wildlife is messed up. Fingers crossed for this trio, because it will set a ground-breaking precedent to grant them the relief NhRP is seeking on their behalf.

 

Finally, a few nights ago I attended a talk by Pat Awori at IFAW’s D.C. office. Ms. Awori grew up in  Kenya and is now a career conservationist there. It was interesting to get the perspective of someone native to the area. She spoke about confusion over land-use and the need for economic investment to spur conservation efforts within the Maasai community. She was engaging and honest. And her life’s work is being slapped in the face by rich white men and their children. I. Literally. Can. Not.

 

Sign the petitions below and be on the lookout for the public comment period regarding the regulatory change. It should be opening soon.

 

Petition Site

White House Petition

Change.org

Another Change.org

 

Sweet dreams everyone except the entire administration, Safari Club International, and the NRA. You guys suck.