Oh the Hypocrisy

You’ve seen the commercial, haven’t you? Asking you to donate a spot of cash to help stop the vile poachers of an endan­gered species? Ones so beautiful and majestic, you can’t help but offer some assistance. The Bengal Tiger. Or one already extinct: the Western Black Rhino. How terrible. How cruel.

If you’re an American, I need you to pay close attention to what I am about to say, and if you aren’t go ahead and set the paper down for a second.

Shut up. Just shut up about it, okay? We get it, killing these animals is tragic and they are all going away, and that is terrible. But you are, ultimate­ly, American. Like me, you have no spiritual, emotional, or cultural ties to these animals.

Obviously that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t care, but what does need to happen is a serious reevaluation of the way we perceive poachers, what they do and why they do it. In the com­mercials I mentioned above, there is a criticism placed on the inhabitants of the countries the animals live in. As if all poachers killing a Bengal tiger are Indian and as if all poachers killing rhinos are African.

That just isn’t the case. Poachers come from all over the world to cash in on the value of these animals, whether it’s for ivory or skins or in­gredients necessary for traditional Chinese medicine (you can thank Chairman Mao for that one). Or they are rich people doing it for mere sport, which is quite possibly worse. So please, stop blaming the poor people of those third world countries.

Ah! That reminds me! The poor people of those third world countries! So, when poachers do come from within the country the animal is being killed, do not forget that those peoples’ history and culture are directly related to the animal, and sometimes even define the animal as sacred. So it would take something very serious to make a person kill those rare animals.

Like starvation, you jerk. It’s pret­ty easy to sit back on your couch, shov­ing Cheetos into your face and criticize people in other countries for killing beautiful animals when you don’t have to worry about starving to death if you don’t. The fact of the matter is we aren’t talking about poor people getting rich killing tigers, we are talking about folks making ends meat. And yes, that was some very unfortunate wordplay.

Admittedly, there are people get­ting rich off the animals being poached, but in most cases it isn’t the poachers. Think of it like any other business. The manual laborers are not the ones that are going to make mad bank. When they are citizens of third world countries, they are more than likely just trying to survive.

No, the solution isn’t to go ahead and let the poaching continue. Maybe instead of pouring all of those dona­tions into arresting these, ahem, crim­inals, we should pour them into feed­ing, housing, and educating those criminals so they don’t need to poach. As a bonus, we could throw in some medicine so people stop trying to cure their cancer with ground up Rhino horns.

What I am saying is, those com­mercials are terrible. Most likely, you and I are also pretty terrible!

That reminds me again! We are ter­rible! Do me a favor, stop reading, and do a Google Image search for “Colum­bia basin pygmy rabbit.” All done? Yeah, that thing is adorable, right? So small and fluffy, I just want to hug it.

Too bad that won’t ever happen! Because just by living the lives of aver­age Washingtonians, you and I did such an efficient job poisoning the Columbia River that they disappeared in 2007. For no good reason other than the enjoyment of coffee and driving cars.

With that knowledge, maybe we can have nightmares for the next few weeks. Maybe those nightmares will find us, dig deep holes, and root them­selves in a place that will prevent any further hypocrisy on our parts.

But probably not.

ILLUSTRATION BY FELICIA CHANG