Something Rotten in the Den of State

BY JOHN NASH

This week, after a recent spell of malady, I was finally able once more to enjoy my frugal weekly treat – that of watching the amiable and extremely knowledgeable Charlie Jacoby on Fieldsports TV, whilst enjoying a small glass of amber fortitude in homage to the departed sunset. Unfortunately, my wrinkly euphoria was, without warning, most violently and rudely interrupted. 

I refer, of course, to Charlie’s revelation about the recent EFRA committee meeting.

Of course, being an intelligent and erudite reader of CSM, you will be aware that there has been, of late, a bit of a Carrie-on while our idiotic government panders to the animal rights vote, driven by a prime minister under a powerful female thumb and the influence of some rich chums who hide their fortunes and lavish lifestyles behind “a love of the environment, heh-heh”.

In furtherance, our government has an “Animal Welfare Action Plan” that, of course, has nothing to do with animal welfare and everything to do with massaging people’s emotions in order to milk a simple kiss X (mwah) out of them at voting time. Part of the “Action Plan” is a proposal to ban the importation of hunting trophies. 

Embracing animal rights is a cunning Islington Bubble type plan that will allow the Conservative Party to simultaneously demonstrate that it’s (a) not really the nasty party, whilst (b) stealing a popular emotional harvest that was planted long ago and fertilised by the copious manure of deceptive animal rights (AR) loonies. The Government ploy includes a proposed “Animals Abroad Bill”, that, according to government apparatchiks, will apparently “tackle animal cruelty and support conservation efforts overseas”.

My arse. 

It will add absolutely nothing to help conservation overseas and will demonstrably harm it. It will also “ban the trade in hunting trophies that threaten the conservation status of species abroad”. Crap – firstly, the law, together with CITES via JNCC, already regulates and filters UK imports to prevent species endangerment, and secondly, modern regulated trophy hunting (the kind that enables permits) doesn’t threaten any species with extinction anywhere. That’s why it gets permits. 

In reality, such an idiotic ban would damage high value hunting and the sustainable harvest of natural resources, and thus undercut rural incomes and conservation funding together with the economic and conservation benefits that sustainable hunting provides. Sadly, it will help destroy a major South African initiative in which all forms of wild animal breeding, hunting, meat production, auctions and restocking are simply classed together as “wildlife industry” because of their inseparable nature. You damage one part, you damage all of it. Baby and bathwater stuff. You know.

It is also rank eco-colonial arrogance. In Southern Africa, where most UK hunters go, there are thousands of proper scientists, vets, field managers, ecologists, farmers, private reserve owners, rangers and wardens, plus hundreds of thousands of rural people who live in “tribal” areas with wildlife, all looking after their wildlife very well (with only a couple of exceptions), backed by stiff laws. Put simply, you cannot legally hunt an endangered animal in Southern Africa. Endangered animals in South Africa are protected by severe TOPS regulations (Threatened or Protected Species regs, under the control of the DEA and the South African National Biodiversity Institute, SANBI). They will not issue a hunting licence or an export licence for you to kill any endangered animal that is minding its own business. These are supremely experienced, qualified people who have lived with their wildlife for generations. It is therefore not necessary for us in the UK to unilaterally ban the importation of their legal hunting trophies, quite apart from being ill-considered, pointless and unfair. It is a further fact that 1.3 million km2  of sub-Saharan Africa is dedicated to trophy hunting. So why a ban?

Of course, we understand if Boris is under a conjugal threat from her indoors, and, being adults, we understand that every Government will hop onto any passing open bandwagon like a tramp pouncing on a sandwich. That’s all fairly familiar and innocent. 

But, oh my days, then this:

In a week that saw the resignation of Owen Paterson over sleaze allegations, a torrent of red-hot sleaze was actually oozing like La Palma in the EFRA Committee room on November 2nd, where MPs were “taking oral evidence from experts” (don’t laugh) to ascertain if a ban on hunting trophies will help or hinder conservation efforts overseas. Sounds fair enough. A transcript is here if you have difficulty sleeping. A video is here

But the Committee only called three “expert” witnesses – Eduardo Goncalves of the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting (CBTH), Dr Mark Jones of the Born Free Foundation (BFF) and a Dr Audrey Delsink, Wildlife Director at Humane Society International South Africa (HSUS).

Whaaaaat???? What in the name of red, white and blue blazes are EFRA doing talking to these three mentally-affected cockwombles?  Who invited these odious rodents into the building?  All three are prominent animal rights activists – jelly-heads – who work for organisations that make a seriously fat living out of their over-promoted and largely fictitious war against trophy hunting. These blatant deceivers collect huge volumes of money in donations. The Humane Society of the United States collects a cool $200 million a year, (half of which it spends on fundraising and, for good measure, salts a lot of it away in its off-shore Caribbean bank). The Born Free Foundation extracts five million £££ a year in the UK (and, I kid you not, spent half a million on political EU lobbying), while wily Goncalves, that brazen fraud, makes Lord knows how much from his devious CBTH campaign and the sales of his sensationalist eco-porn penny dreadfuls. In passing, Goncalves’ CBTH is not a charity – it is or was a registered company with his wifey as sole officer, so what is it doing there? (And, a bit of scandal, a current rumour in the hunting world has it that Goncalves might have taken down his con-trick supporting website in preparation to delist his company before he has to produce his first full public accounts showing how much his fat scam has lifted off other charities and the unsuspecting UK public). We’re all watching, Eddy. None of these organisations have any experience in conservation game farming, venison production or hunting or trophy hunting. They all live by sucking the public teat by fair means or foul.

These brass-necked jelly-heads don’t just have a slight conflict of interest – each one of them works for or leads a cash-generating business – each of them IS a blatant conflict of interest. Tainted??? They make Chernobyl look sanitary. Their businesses make millions via the very publicity that this committee is giving them. These snake-oil sellers should be tarred and feathered and run out of town, not politely entertained by a kabuki theatre EFRA performance. The whole thing is an astounding exhibition of bare-faced cheek and sleaze that makes the alleged Owen Paterson affair look pale by comparison. 

These three rodents are like the ISIS of the wildlife world, no different from stone-faced religious fundamentalists who hang their evil crimes on Christians. Providing them with a public forum and assisting their scam is bad enough, but it gets even worse. There were no witnesses at the Committee hearing from any hunting, game farming, meat production, tannery, taxidermy or private conservation reserve owners or organisations in Africa or anywhere else, who might be able to cast some actual light on the subject. Not one. Zippo. Just these three clowns spouting a stream of lop-sided deceit and lies.  

This was not so much a kangaroo court – it was more like our Mother of Parliaments being held down and violated by three mentally diseased kangaroos. And while you ponder this superbly tasteless metaphor, you can add the nasty vision of flint-eyed Carrie, Zac and a herd of zealous MPs and celebs stuffing the poor old girl’s mouth with a ball-gag, masking her eyes, and holding down her arms and legs for their own Inquisitorial gratification.

Just imagine. Three proselytisers of the crooked global animal rights movement, who shouldn’t be allowed through the front door of a doss-house, let alone Westminster, providing the only evidence, unchallenged, to EFRA. It beggars belief. Rather than call them to speak, the Chair should have called the fraud squad. The whole tawdry affair should be set aside judicially, and its organisers left discreetly alone in the library with a Bible, a glass of port and a Webley .45.

It is a scenario devoid of a single nanoparticle of justice. Not even the IUCN agrees with these three smug shady-bugs. There was little objective truth in any of their evidence. It stinks of corruption.  Is there nobody left with any semblance of standards? Why was it left to Charlie Jacoby at FieldsportsTV  (worth watching) and the very pragmatic Jens-Ulrik Høgh from the Nordic Safari Club to expose this outrage? 

“Animal rights” (ARs), like its sibling, academic ethics, is an interesting philosophical game, but in the real world it is a multi-million pound global con game – a con because it is neither about animals nor rights. It is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It wraps itself in animal welfare but it has nothing to do with animal welfare.  

It’s deceit is simple. It asks people, “Will you support us and help animal welfare?” Of course, there is only one answer – everybody supports animal welfare as a concept, and as far as practicable in reality. The technique is a classical leading question – it already has only one answer, and that answer is not so much seeking your opinion (your kindness is a foregone conclusion) as it is advertising the questioner’s own false piety. Even an Inuit who harpoons animals or an African who hunts with a spear, both leading to rather graphic, colourful and gruesome terminations, will vote for animal welfare. It’s an infallible scam, a shell game. 

Government lawyers please note: One objective of the EFRA Committee is to “…support conservation efforts, overseas”. All of the evidence given to them on November 2nd was, in fact, about ARs policy, and ARs are about people’s feelings in this country, and certainly not about conservation overseas. It should therefore be struck out. Now add the blatant financial conflict of interest. Now add the proven deceit. Now add the lies.

Dear Reader, animals don’t have rights. Animals can’t have rights. Animals don’t give each other rights. The lion gives no rights to the gazelle, nor the cat to the field mouse. How can anyone give rights to the gazelle and the mouse? (ARs simply ignore them, beg for money, and concentrate on the charismatic animals). Although sentient and beautiful, antelope and mice have no rights. Evolution works by producing a surplus, then whittling it down to produce the fittest survivors in a given time and place. There are no rights involved – in fact nature is the opposite – it denies any rights. And nature is where wild animal hunting takes place.  And don’t let anyone tell me that the lion and cat only kill what they eat – I will kick their stupid ARs so hard, they will be wearing it for a neck-warmer.

Rights are human things. Yours and mine. Rights are the way we govern and exchange our civilised human affairs with each other, not animals. ARs are a fantasy, a bagatelle of an under-exercised, overfed mind. ARs cannot be explained or defended because they don’t exist, but when dressed up as animal welfare, they becomes a source of global power and vast sums of money. Hence its fork-tongued salespeople turn up, conning the EFRA Committee.  

That’s why the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) invades animal welfare institutions, regulators and NGO’s worldwide. Here, it is invading our Parliament.  It features prominently in global CITES and similar gatherings. It has unlimited money to buy publicity and bribe its way into NGO’s, charities and rescuers in need of precious funds – mostly hard-working pragmatic and helpful folks who alleviate actual animal suffering. After sliding in like a drug dealer offering cheap skag, however, HSUS soon (via free “ staff training”) turns its victims into jelly-head clones, political spawn to further its own power and income. It is an insidious parasite upon human kindness with a modus operandi remarkably similar to the zombie fungus, Cordyceps.

ARsoul and witness number 1, Dr Mark Jones, plied his early trade as a vet for fifteen years in the factory fish farms of Scotland, hardly cathedrals of animal welfare or environmental rectitude. Then he learned to farm people’s kindness, and crossed the Rubicon to easy money. He was the first Exec Director of HSUS in the UK. He basically brought this global AR confidence trick to our shores and spread AR disease among our kindly citizens. At around the time his parent HSUS in America was found guilty of racketeering, he jumped ship to another duplicitous AR eco-chugger, Born Free Foundation, (BFF) whose prehistory includes using 27 captive lions to make a popular film about one free one (and they weren’t set free afterwards, though). Today, Born Free is another AR vector, fond of shipping a few “rescued” lions at vast expense and publicity, across the world to its facility in South Africa (at Shamwari, £1000 a night!), but in that country there are already 10,000 farmed lions who, like battery chickens, are worthy of help at a much lower cost. BFF will tell you all about “their” chilli-bombs and beehives fending off elephants or lion-proof fences around cattle kraal compounds, claiming they mitigate animal/human conflict in Africa. Great pictures. Great stories. Great fundraising. Irrelevant in the face of a tsunami of human population increase and concomitant demand for land that wildlife will lose. 

ARsoul and witness number 2, Wily Eduardo Goncalves (ex-CEO of the dangerously nutty and parasitical League Against Cruel Sports) is no better. His CBTH campaign is a litany of deceit. His “books” are largely fictional eco-porn designed to horrify his concerned victims into coughing up. Goebbels would  have been proud of him. He has a whole stampede of air-head celebrities and deceived MPs as his willing donkeys, but he is not an ecologist…his qualifications are, unsurprisingly, in politics. He has been asked by genuine African leaders to stop his celebrity campaign because it is damaging rural lives and conservation efforts. His anti-hunting campaign is actually offensive cultural disrespect – rich, urban white AR delusion riding roughshod over African, Inuit and other cultures and rights elsewhere. 

It is not necessary to repeat my earlier warnings about HSUS, Goncalves and Jones. Their organisations sell emotional masturbation. They are to wildlife what sheep-shaggers are to farming or shoplifters are to retail. Parasites. I will leave it to others like Jens-Ulrik Høgh (who at least speaks the truth as a knowledgeable international hunter and avid conservationist) to point to some of their lies and deceit. 

ARsoul and witness number 3, Dr. Audrey Delsink is an HSUS rep in South Africa where, allegedly, HSUS have turned the once-useful NSPCA into a frightful campaign group more interested in headlines than animals. (Sound familiar, dear UK reader?). Recently, the NSPCA in South Africa had their website suspended by their service provider because it allegedly defamed a local animal transport company, so the NSPCA re-registered it offshore apparently to avoid the South African Courts and resumed their offensive and unwarranted attack. This is typical of HSUS influence.  Animal welfare????  You’re ‘avin’ a giraffe, guv….Dr Delsink was paraded on video to represent “the authentic voice of Africa” to EFRA. She is not. She is the authentic voice of the American mega-parasite, HSUS. 

You doubt me? Here’s another elephant in the room.

For the benefit of the Committee, these three clowns wove “helpful” horror stories of extinction, particularly elephants. They bleated on about how trophy hunters are driving everything including elephants to extinction – the familiar “Don’t let us say goodbye to the last one” sort of cunning message that we see daily on UK TV adverts. 

Really??? The last elephant??? MP’s rightly concerned. Now, Dear Reader, let me enlighten you – Dr Delsink’s own very fine PhD and life’s work has been in the game reserves of beautiful South Africa, specialising in the contraception of elephants using porcine drugs. That’s right – she has spent her working life administering pig contraceptives to hundreds of elephants. Commendable. But the reason for this work fatally undermines the ARsouls’ extinction case – contraception is needed because there are far too many elephants in Southern Africa!!! The truth is that there are probably 100,000 too many elephants across their southern range states. And that’s why Dr Delsink has to shove piggy pills up their pachyderminous lady-bits. Yet here she was, supporting AR fiction about extinctions. If you inserted three butt-plugs to stop these ARsouls talking out of their posteriors, and applied a bit of common sense, you’d see that these zealots, in maintaining their fiction about extinction, are arrogant false witnesses. For money. In our Parliament. Who the Hell set this up?

In passing, Dr Delsink’s admirable work further demonstrates the shortcomings of ARs zealotry. There are probably 100,000 too many elephants in the southern range states, measured solely by the way they are eating and destroying the habitat. Giving all of them piggy contraceptives (even if you could) will mean no increase in population. Yippee. AR success. But, er, the overgrazing problem is already here and now, and elephants live for 70 years. Each one eats, say, 150kg of greenery per day, about 50 tons per year, or 3500 tons in a lifetime. There are 100,000 too many, so they will consume 350,000,000 tons of the fragile African bush even with contraception. That’s a whole lot of gobbled up shrubbery and, like all vegetarians, they produce copious volumes of methane at the other end (about 2% in elephants if you are interested). Mercy. 2% of that lot is 7,000,000 tons of methane. Call Greta, quickly. 

Back to serious business. And did the EFRA Committee call any proper experts?  Reference was made to lions and the popular AR “Cecil the lion” fantasy, an old lion famously shot outside Hwange Reserve. Did they call on the eminent Dr Amy Dickman, a foremost UK lion expert and member of Oxford University wildCru team who actually collar and study these Hwange lions, including Cecil?  She hates hunting as a necessary evil, but, balanced scientist that she is, acknowledges its important economics. No, they didn’t call her – in fact Goncalves and his pissant zealots disgracefully threw her out of an earlier trophy hunting meeting in our Parliament building. Did they call Ron Thomson, past Chief Game Warden-in-Charge of that very same Hwange, whose dedicated life’s work and animal husbandry is in part responsible for Hwange’s burgeoning population of lions and elephants today? No – Goncalves defamed and crucified this honourable man in his shitty little con-trick books and he set the world’s gutter press on Ron in order to line his own greasy pockets.

So, did the EFRA MPs call SUCO, the Sustainable Coalition in South Africa who sustainably raise millions upon millions of wild animals? No. Did they call SAPA , the South African Predators Association, who raise lions and are trying desperately to improve lion farming standards without any help from anyone, all the time fighting a multi-million £££ global HSUS-led ARs war against them?  No.  Did they call PROA, the Private Rhino Owners Association (a website well worth a visit if you want to be fascinated) who actually love and raise rhinos? No.  Did they speak to PCOASA, the Professional Culling Operators Association of South Africa who could explain the industrial nature of sustainable game meat production. No.  Did they call GameSA, the Game Abattoirs and Meat Exporters of South Africa, to acquaint themselves with the process of turning the meat of a wild, trophy hunted animal into safe, delicious food?  No.    

EFRA would rather listen to three shabby tin-rattlers who crap on the hard work of thousands of busy foreigners, and, for good measure, also regularly insult Traditional Chinese Medicine (provided by 300,000 practitioners in over 140 countries). Meanwhile, these slimy shit-flingers actually save precious few animals themselves, except where clickbait publicity is involved.

The truth is there are no unbiased, scientifically rigorous studies anywhere that show modern trophy hunting is responsible for any extinctions in Southern Africa. The populations of every large plains animal in South Africa are rising, going up, increasing, and the reason is simple – farmers and private reserve owners raise the animals for stock sales, hunting and meat. This isn’t mentioned in the game these three ARsouls play. They talk about banning trophy hunting because “animal populations are falling across Africa” as a whole, but they also know that all of the populations of the main plains animals are rising in Southern Africa. They know this. They also know that while hunting takes place (especially high-value trophy hunting) there is absolutely no chance of any of these animals (or their habitat) becoming extinct, and that is where and why UK trophy hunters go there.   

UK hunters don’t go to Africa “as a whole”. They go to where the animals are legal,  plentiful and export permits are available under CITES – the hunting grounds Southern Africa. Their hunting pays, in part, for the creation or maintenance of forty million acres of private reserves in South Africa alone. The vast private hunting grounds there and elsewhere are, in effect, all protected natural habitat, home to trillions of other protected creatures and plants as well. South Africa’s consumptive wildlife industry supports 100,000 jobs and trophy hunting alone 17,000. The three ARsoul eco-chuggers giving “evidence” didn’t mention that, either, did they? 

If you think trophy hunted animals are not eaten, or that the consumptive wildlife industry is about a few rich, fat individuals careering around the bush shooting random stuff, get an idea of the overall system in South Africa here.  

By the lowest possible estimates, South Africa has 6 million significant wild animals, up from half a million fifty years ago. An increase of 12x does not suggest extinction and there may be three times that number. Accurate figures are difficult to ascertain in an industry that often involves cash payments (nod, nod, wink, wink, taxman watching). Well over a million wild animals are shot on privately owned reserves in South Africa every year. However, this renewable  hunting harvest is never more than a percentage of the annual births, so the numbers keep rising, droughts permitting.  The animals are not in any danger of extinction. The system yields more than fifty thousand tons of low fat organic meat a year (see pic below). Africans eat their wildlife – get over it. It’s stripey venison.  Yum.  

Fifty thousand tons of animals produce a mountain of skins and horns as by-products, a few of which go to tanneries and taxidermists, but most of which get turned into glue, pet food or something else. Why the fuss about a few items taken to be lovingly admired as trophy mementoes? Although Goncalves lied to EFRA, hunters in the UK take many thousands of deer parts as cherished trophy mementoes of their hunts – are horns better respected and admired when turned into bonemeal or dog chews

Here’s another practical rub. A vast volume of decorative, fully biodegradable skins and horns is available, by-products of the 50,000 tons of annual meat farming in South Africa (there are at least twenty heads and hides available in the pic above). They are not hunting trophies – they are meat industry by-products. If processed, they will become simple taxidermy and tanned products. As legal trade exports, how will you tell them from trophies? 

So, banning hunting trophies means banning all taxidermy and tanned products (an AR wet dream), putting hundreds more Africans out of highly skilled legal employment, just to throw the valuable by-products away and destroy African economic opportunity. For what? For HSUS to salt more cash away in the Caribbean, or Goncalves to buy himself another farm in Portugal?

The three ARsouls lied to the Committee about rhinos.They are the same idiots largely responsible for a global ban on  trade in rhino horn. It means that legal rhino owners can’t trim horns and sell the trimmings. But rhino horn is valuable, so their rhinos have to be fed and protected from poachers 24/7. It’s very expensive to guard and protect them on thousands of acres of land. The only way to bring in income to protect them is to sell off a few to trophy hunters. Other reserve owners won’t have rhinos on their properties because rhinos attract armed poachers. Thus the stupid horn ban removed rhino income potential, diminished rhino numbers, turned them into unwanted white elephants and got rhinos killed, not protected. Well done, jelly-heads.

Raising wild animals for hunting and meat in natural habitat is a real, excellent, economic use of poor quality, dry land in Africa and a spectacular conservation success in South Africa and Namibia. It is low-carbon and organic (with very few exceptions, “trophy hunted” animals are always eaten, not wasted).  So, why don’t ARsouls acknowledge this wonderful success? It’s because they are not really interested in conservation. Their philosophy is a cancer, and these three grinning “witnesses” were nothing less than three ominous lumps on the breast of Lady Justice. Truth, whole truth and nothing but truth? Pass me a sick-bag.

And that, dear reader, is why these ARsoul, jelly-head, quasi-religious puritans and eco-chuggers should have no part in deciding what is good or bad for conservation overseas. They are not interested in overseas conservation, except where it provides them with publicity, from which they derive social currency and cash. They use wildlife as an animal shield against charity and charlatan laws. They have no place advising MPs, let alone being given an unopposed monopoly of speech to advertise their purulent philosophy. We need to ask how this disgrace happened and have the whole baleful issue set aside in a proper judicial spring clean of these Augean stables.    

It is beginning to look like our click-bait government is actually green in parts, but unfortunately, it is rotten green mould, not green conservation. This happens when unelected hands are on the levers of power. 

Disclaimer. I am not  trophy hunter, never have been. I am not a member of any hunting organisation and I club shoot only paper targets and flies. I am not paid in any form to write this or anything else. 

John Nash grew up in West Cornwall and was a £10 pom to Johannesburg in the early 1960’s. He started well in construction project management, mainly high rise buildings but it wasn’t really Africa, so he went bush, prospecting and trading around the murkier bits of the bottom half of the continent. Now retired back in Cornwall among all the other evil old pirates. His interests are still sustainable resources, wildlife management and the utilitarian needs of rural Africa.