[Profit is the driving force behind the extinction of many animals. Now with less than 100,000 left, it appears that the giraffe might also meet the same fate. This article from The Guardian highlights the disgusting nature of consumer culture in the US, and how it is contributing to the decline of a magnificent species. Without revolution, the “free market” will continue to hurtle our planet and its inhabitants towards disaster. Capitalism is the disease that poses a threat to all life on Earth, Leading Light Communism is the cure. -Uziel]
Nearly 40,000 giraffe parts have been imported to the US in last 10 years
Researchers from the Humane Society found 52 US locations in which giraffe products continue to be sold
The giraffe population has fallen by around 40% since 1990. There are now fewer than 100,000 giraffes alive in the world, and there are now fewer giraffes than elephants in Africa.
Yet in America, trade in giraffe parts is booming. A report by the Humane Society of the United States, released on Thursday, found that nearly 40,000 giraffe parts have been imported to the US over the past decade, the equivalent, they estimate, of nearly 4,000 individual giraffes.
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Researchers found giraffe products on sale in nearly 52 US locations. The most common products were giraffe hide boots and speciality knives made from giraffe bone, but they also found giraffe rugs, furniture and giraffe skin Bible covers.
When researchers interviewed those selling giraffe products they found that many admitted they had purchased the products from trophy hunters.
Two sellers, BS Trading in Texas and Whitten Cases in Florida, made claims to investigators that aggressive herds of giraffes must be killed in order to save African villages. The Humane Society says this is false, and that recent expert evaluation of giraffe species has found no evidence of either aggressive giraffe behaviour or retaliatory killings of giraffes. Neither store responded immediately to the Guardian for comment.
Some trophy hunters, including the American woman who made headlines after she hunted a wild giraffe in South Africa last year, claim that their hunts are part of conservation efforts, and the money raised from them goes into protecting other species. But Adam Peyman, the programs and operations manager at the Humane Society, told the Guardian that trophy hunters are able to make considerable profits from participating in the giraffe trade.
“Our investigation indicates that trophy hunting outfitters in Africa are capitalizing on every last bit of these beautiful animals,” he said. “They are selling them to taxidermists, animal product manufacturers and dealers, who in turn market them to sellers in the US. As this is completely unregulated, it is an easy alternative for products from other, more protected species like elephants and lions, but may still have the similar macabre allure. The prices of these products vary widely, but it is clear that outfitters and dealers try to squeeze every last dollar out of the carcasses of these animals, evidenced especially by the grotesque pillow our investigator found that was furnished from a giraffe’s face, eyelashes and all.”
In March, giraffes were moved to a list of vulnerable species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), one level below endangered. In the US, giraffes are also not listed as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act, which means all the sales of giraffe parts are legal. The Humane Society is currently campaigning to have giraffes listed as an endangered species under the act.