Protecting Beast from Man

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe has reached a new low. Officials from the same government that has caused that nation's economy to collapse are now preventing human beings from availing themselves of one of the few sources of food there are left: wild game.

Hungry Zimbabweans threatened to kill and eat a giraffe after it wandered towards the outskirts of the capital Harare, it has emerged.

Scores of people rushed to the scene after the adult giraffe entered Seke district from surrounding farmland. Police said several wanted to butcher the animal "for the pot", according to the state-owned Herald newspaper.

"We have to guard the animal," said one officer. "We have to remain here until it is taken to a safe place."

The incident comes as wild game increasingly falls victim to President Robert Mugabe's policies, with impoverished Zimbabweans turning to any possible source of meat. Poaching is reportedly rising rapidly, with two elephants recently killed in Hurungwe. [bold added]
If I were to propose such a scenario as the logical outcome of the notion that governments do not exist to protect individual rights, but to regulate the use of natural resources by man, most people would regard me as a crackpot. And yet, here it is: Starving human beings are being forbidden at gunpoint to eat animals.

More telling was the headline under which a summary of this story was reported in the print edition of today's Houston Chronicle: "Hungry crowd lets giraffe live". The headline was obviously wrong since the story accurately reported that police prevented the starving crowd from eating. This is immediately obvious from the first line, part of which appears below:
HARARE -- Police stopped villagers from slaughtering and eating a giraffe that strayed into the outskirts .... [bold added]
One wonders how this mistake came about in the first place for such a clear-cut case of government-enforced famine. Did whoever selected this from the wire attribute "noble" motives to the villagers? Did he think the police "talked sense" into the crowd. And did he stop to think about what differentiated the use of force against rational human beings from the use of force against unintelligent animals? Regardless, he seems to have no problems with what the Zimbabwean police did, and major problems with what the villagers wanted to do, even despite their dire situation, as evidenced by the words in bold above.

Look long upon Robert Mugabe. This brute is not content with already having shown (yet again) how disastrous collectivism and government planning are when put into practice -- he is now demonstrating how dangerous the government can be when it decides to protect nature from exploitation by men, rather than its citizens from the threat of force initiated by other men.

The only thing more amazing to me than any of this is the deafening silence from around the world that has greeted this outrage.

-- CAV


Galileo Blogs said...

There is further irony.

Only a society in which man's rights are protected can people have the wealth and time to protect exotic animals in zoos for their enjoyment rather than eat them.

Or, observe how the British treat their cats and dogs as beloved domestic pets, while the poor in vast parts of Asia and Africa run after dogs and cats with sticks and stones to eat them.

The "animal rights" thing is a very recent phenomenon in the Western world. The wealth of the West grew and with it the concomitant ability to enjoy pets and zoo animals in an era when only man had rights and animals did not.

Zimbabwe is a good warning of what happens when man's rights are taken away. I suspect that even the giraffe won't last long in that kind of environment. I wouldn't be surprised if a bribed policeman has already sold it for the cooking pot.

Gus Van Horn said...

"[E]ven the giraffe won't last long in that kind of environment."

You indicate the further irony here. Even the ability to have a police depends on a requisite level of civilization. Zimbabwe is on the verge of descending into savagery.

In Anthem, Ayn Rand's dystopia was primitive, disputing the leftish assertion (e.g., in 1984) that a collectivized society can sustain a high level of technology.

Here, we see that a fully consistent socialist paradise like Zimbabwe can't even support such pet causes as animal "rights"!