Humans are eating a scaly anteater into extinction


#1

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#2

The title is a bit wrong. Should read "The Chinese are eating a scaly anteater into extinction."


#3

What I don't understand about the trade in endangered species is - why don't people just create counterfeit versions of this stuff? Ok, not very easy with a pangolin fetus (gag), but for things like powdered rhino horn, it's hard to understand why you'd go through the trouble of actually killing rhinos when you could quite profitably manufacture simulated rhino horn and rake in the cash. The fact that this apparently doesn't occur must mean that the sellers actually believe in this stuff, which is surprising.


#4

God damn it.


#5

We're grownups, we can handle the term 'pangolin'.


#6

How could you possibly think that Rhino Horn and the like is the only stuff that the Chinese won't counterfeit?

I mean, Jesus, they have a counterfeit egg problem!

I am sure lots of animal parts are fake, but the top tier stuff is real. Is the larger issue maybe that Chinese Healthcare is in need of reform?


#7

Seems like a good response to this would be for some enterprising social entrepreneur to flood the market with counterfeit animal parts while simultaneously publicizing the fact that you probably aren't really getting rhino horn / pangolin scale / whatever - so why bother?


#8

Aww, my college mascot was a pangolin. It was a very small college, and the only team was fencing. But still.


#9

You have to admit it: they look delicious.


#10

Oh what's the harm? So people want to explore alternative medicines, big deal. You know western medicine doesn't understand everything. The people taking it are reporting that they feel better or can get erections easier or whatever, so why should we stop them? It is probably less harmful to them than the so called medicines that they would get from big pharma.

EDIT: I apologize, I thought the sarcasm would be evident. I can't tell you how often I hear the above arguments when I talk about TCM or other alternative medicine. This is clearly one of the harms of ignoring science and going with kooky alternatives.


#12

I think that (unfortunately) change for a culture has to come at least partially from within. It makes no sense to speak from outside and say, "Don't live that way because we don't choose to do so." Even if your arguments are valid (don't kill all the animals, they'll be gone) they still may not be heard.

The person quoted in the article was actually a British zoologist, and the IUCN is through the Zoological Society of London (ZSL). I'm sure they're working with locals to change perceptions, but really a local voice to bring up outcry in China is needed if they want many sympathetic ears.

China may be improving. They already had a ban on endangered species, and in May they extended the prison time for breaking the law to 10 years - both for trafficking and consuming the product. (Farmed flesh is totally fine.) The only question is whether or not they'll enforce - they didn't before.

Here's another link to the IUCN, and pangolins. Here's a page on Prof. John Baillie.


#13

How is it wrong? The Chinese are representatives of humanity, just like Israel/Hamas, or the Ukraine rebels and Russia. Just because the United States didn't play a part in driving this species to extinction, doesn't exactly make up for a species being driven to extinction by humanity. Especially when it isn't like we can do absolutely nothing to stop the Chinese. We are one species and its a small world, our terrible deeds shame us all.


#14

Good. Keep eating them, humans. wink


#15

Yes—Chinese humans. We can't just wash our hands of this by blaming the Giant Pandas.


#16

"Humans bombing the Gaza Strip"
"Humans committed the Holocaust"
"Humans responsible for whaling"
"Humans responsible for Armenian Genocide"
"Humans responsible for drone strike causalities"

Do you agree with these headlines? After all, humans are behind these atrocities, and we are one species and its a small world, our terrible deeds shame us all.

Or you are omitting that the Chinese aspect of this story in order to not sound racist. Alternative/Chinese medicine is fucking stupid and the leading reason behind poaching. Why not give them a little heat that rhino horns isn't going to cure their impotence?

Especially when it isn't like we can do absolutely nothing to stop the Chinese.

Okay. Lets shoulder all the guilt for these poaching endangered animals. When Steve gets an ulcer over it, every Chinese person who practices Chinese Medicine will realize their wrong doing and cease their demand for pangolian shells and tiger dicks.


#17

You damn well know those Giant Panda's blood thirst cannot be sated.


#18

Luckily not everybody is into artichokes.


#20

The article mentions Indonesia, Vietnam, India, and Zimbabwe in addition to China. So, no that is not what the title should read. (Not to mention the high probability that people consume pangolin in countries not stated in the article.)


#21

I get the impression that it's the guilt by association which is bothering @friendlysoviet. So perhaps the headline should just read

Humans are eating a scaly anteater into extinction, but NOT @friendlysoviet because he is pure of heart and would never harm such a majestic creature


#22

I don't understand why these sorts of trades don't make the effort to farm the animals they consume.