|07-01-2010, 07:57 AM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Can selling animal products be reconciled with my truth?
I guess this post is mostly an attempt at ordering my own thoughts around this subject. I've come across a great opportunity which I'd like to take up but it throws up a couple of hard questions I have to answer.
I live in Africa where there is an awesome abundance of wildlife and thanks to major conservation efforts over the last decades many previously endangered species are back to healthy populations.
The thing is, in order to achieve this man has to help nature a little along. Meaning that if left to truly roam free without borders animal herds sort themselves out by sick and weak ones dying of the strenuous conditions of finding waterholes. Modern game park management provides these animals with all they need within easy reach because man has crept up on their habitat and has to fence them in. Even a huge park like the Kruger Park (and it is massive) still is a closed environment and has to be controlled. Biodiversity doesn't happen naturally in a place where humans live.
This process is called culling. Where not suitable animals are singled out and have to be removed from the environment. What happens to them then depends on how much money is available. Sad but true. Since most of the time the enormous funds of moving large amounts of wild animals (the conversation efforts really have great results) are simply not available the animals are being slaughtered and their parts processed. Meat to the poor, skin to the tannery, carcass left for the pray in the parks.
All the conservational efforts have to be funded. In South Africa our government has millions of poor people to feed still so there's not much left in the budget to look after making sure biodiversity is not just an empty word. Hence Nature Conservation gives permits to hunt specific animals if and when their population reaches dangerous levels (too many for the space they can be in). And that makes a lot of money. The hunting itself and then the selling of the skins and horns. Nowadays this is all done with strict regulations, permits etc. Those are pages after pages of documents where each animal is tracked and traced.
I've heard there are even plans in place to tag the actual skins with some or other code to being able to store movement of same in a global database.
So, long story.
I have been approached by a skin, horn and leather wholesaler to head their sales & marketing efforts. Mainly placing them into the online realm but also other channels. They are good in sourcing the products and doing all the paperwork etc but they are not good in selling.
And I'd jump at the challenge immediately as there's just nothing really convincing on the net. Neither in terms of explaining the whole industry nor selling the product and thus helping conservation efforts even more.
But I still wonder ... it is still dead animals I'm dealing with. Am I just being silly? After all I am still not a vegetarian and happily gulp down a chicken schnitzel. I can block out my mind there by not thinking about how that schnitzel actually came to be because when I do that I can't eat it. I can't kill a fly and I rescue big scary rain spiders that got lost inside a house.
So ... is it enough to simply acknowledge the fact and move on? Like I do with eating meat? I know that the day will come where I will face the dilemma head on and change my diet but right now that is just not going to happen (for a variety of reasons).
Also another thing ... I am VERY sensitive to residual energies in a place. I can feel when things are "stuck in the wall" so to speak. For example I have visited Robben Island here in Cape Town which is an island off the coast where they had the political prison that housed Nelson Mandela for 28 years. And it was the most dreadful experience as I could still feel the pain and hardship of that place.
So yesterday I went into the storeroom of this wholesaler with lots of animal skins lying around. Zebra, springbok, nguni (cow). I did it because I thought if it is truly a bad thing surely I'd feel something from the animal kingdom. Instead I was greeted by a very peaceful energy. I touched the hides and it was something quite special I must say. It's almost like the message was something like: "it's part of the circle of life and it needs to happen, but in a good way and you got to make sure of that"
I also saw some of the products that are made out of these, like patchwork carpets and wall mounts. They are very beautiful and well done.
Hmmm I guess by writing this I have found my own answer. If I'd imagine that no animal is ever killed again on this earth then I realize we're all going to die. Nature hasn't set it up that way and there's a reason for this. Perhaps I'm wrong, in the end nobody knows for sure until we experience it. But there's killing and there's killing. If done in the so-called "humanely" way then surely there's nothing wrong with it? That doesn't mean I personally have to go as far as being able to kill myself. Which I am not at all, ever.
Well thanks for reading if you did so far ... Am I a hypocrite? Do I try to justify something just because it looks like a good opportunity to get out of my current financial dilemma? Or am I just silly, after all all native peoples of the world have used animal skins forever for all sorts of reasons....
|07-02-2010, 02:57 PM||#2 (permalink)|
Join Date: May 2010
Location: south africa
I live in the East Cape SA. I feel for your question and you will eventually know what to do from your own heart, in the moment.
But anyway here is my 5 cents worth.....
(o yes i am vegan and don't use leather so you can guess where I am headed...!!!!!)
I just believe it all goes about intention and honesty. I love your remark about eating chicken because you don't think about. Exactly. Can you sense in those suppliers of hides and horns any inkling of that kind of awareness? The primitive peoples who hunted for survival brought a totally different mindset to their hunting and use of animal products, they co-existed with nature. I do not sense that kind of impulse from your merchants! In fact the feeling I get is.... not lekker.....sorry.
Skelly, be sure the feeling you got in the room of hides was not just the resignation our animal brothers and sisters have developed over aeons of our disrespect. Sure - a quiet emanation. I believe the peace you felt was due to your own compassion and gratitude. Maybe that was all you had to do with this group! Just my feeling. I could be wrong.
Where I live the hunting season is on for the winter, mainly for meat but some trophies too including hides. It is huge money. That is the issue. Ja they have all the cool permits and licenses and restrictions on three months of hunting only and yes the endless "we must cull the kudus and the springbok...because because....etc" Bottom line is stil - humans enforcing our own needs/greeds first and animals experiencing fear, panic and further distrust of our species. Not such a good recipe for a New Earth.
That sense you have when you gently remove a rain spider from your house will lead you in the end.
Light and Love
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