Going, going, gone: Meditation on the banality of animal murder

How does it feel to be the man (and yes we can be 99.99% sure it was a man) to kill the last of a species rhinoceros? Never again will the West African Black Rhino step upon the earth.

How does it feel to be the man (and yes we can be 99.99% sure that it is a man) to ingest the powdered horn of that last rhino so that he may have a (purported) heightened sexual encounter? Does it have a special kick because he knows that never again will there be powdered black rhino horn?

How does it feel to be the man who kills the last shark in the sea? And how does it feel to eat that final bowl of shark fin soup? Do visions of that shark dying a gruesome death intensify the flavor of the soup?

How will it feel to be the man who kills the last tiger? (It will likely happen soon) Killed so that the precious skin can be a rug. How does it feel to own that remnant of a magnificent and now extinct species so you can walk across it like any nylon shag?

Watch out all creatures great and small
Please know that we shall kill you all.
The fewer, the dearer, the higher the price.
Thank greed and capitalism for your demise.
Meanwhile a few will shed a tear
To watch the last of you disappear.
Dashiell Bennett. Black Rhinos Are Now Extinct in Western Africa. The Atlantic Wire.

The pursuit of rhino horn — which is prized for its supposed medical value and as ornamental trophies — has decimated populations and reportedly pushed the price per ounce above gold in some places.

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About Author

Rowan Wolf obtained her doctorate in Sociology from the University of Oregon and has been teaching sociology since 1992. Her specialized areas of interest are systems of inequality (particularly race, class, and sex); globalization; organizations; and culture and socialization. Her deep concern for nature and animals extend to all areas of intersectional conflict. She lives with her partner (Kelly), and their three dogs (Cody, Fox, and Crow). Rowan serves as Editor in Chief of Cyrano’s Journal Today, a fraternal site of The Greanville Post. Rowan’s email is rowan@greanvillepost.com Click to see author's profile.

1 Comment

  1. Can infusing rhino horns with a toxic dye help to save South Africa’s rhinos from a gruesome fate at the hands of poachers? This innovative and controversial new approach is being spearheaded by the Rhino Rescue Project, and those involved hope it will deter both poachers and consumers by rendering the horn useless. Earth Touch rides along on one horn-infusion mission to find out more about the project and to see what the war on poaching is like for those fighting it on the ground.
    Hope is a South African white rhino who was attacked and left for dead by poachers. With her horns removed and a large section of her face hacked off, chances of survival were next to none. Saving the Survivors, a team of veterinary experts who care for rhinos that have been the victims of poaching and trauma, stepped in to help. Against all odds, and after multiple operations, their efforts have saved her life. This is the story of Hope.
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