I am thinking of creating a new series called "WTF Is Wrong With People? here on Wasaga.com
While I realize that the use of the phrase WTF (I'll let you Google it if you don't know the acronym) is perhaps not the most lady-like choice of words in most situations. It is at times the only way to express the complete and utter disbelief that one feels when reading about the greed and accompanying lack of compassion or common sense of some members of the human race.
My husband and I were drinking our morning tea when I read this article in the Toronto Star about some guy who was caught trying to board a plane with suitcases (yes, plural) full of tiny, endangered animals. The animals included a couple of leopards, a baby bear and a monkey, among others. Apparently the man, flying first class was headed to Dubai with the critters. The article says the animals were drugged to keep them from being noticed by officials.
One can't help but wonder if the entire human race is doomed because there are too many people who will do anything for the all-mighty dollar. This story of a man who took on substantial personal risk to try to export these poor animals to the über-rich emirate is only half the story. The other half is that someone, no doubt a bored cazillionaire with a yen for the exotic, was waiting at the other end for this disgusting delivery.
There is a famous quote from the 1960's which goes "never trust anyone over 30". The youth of the 1960's who protested, often at great personal risk to end the Vietnam war, segregation in the south and worked to raise awareness about so many worthy causes felt that adults of their time were the ruination of the planet. Now it is the internet generation and they too are trying - in their own way, to find solutions for the serious issues of today. The important issues for them, although different, are every bit as menacing and sadly, mostly caused by the activities of people who came before them. Each generation feels that adults have mishandled the planet. One can't blame young people for this feeling. The problems of the world seem so immense as to be almost unsolvable, but there is reason for hope.
If you go back to my Mother's generation, or her Mother's generation, you will find examples of masses of people who tried hard to end the injustices of their day. Young people should Google the Suffragettes, the meanings of the songs "16 Tons" or "Strange Fruit" or Japanese Internment if they think that their voices do not matter. When we feel that a situation is hopeless, we need to open our history books.
Clearly every generation contains a mixture of people who are content to make enough money to keep their children fed, clothed, healthy and educated but there will always be people who have no conscience or moral compass and will do whatever they can to enrich themselves beyond what they could ever need. This particular news story is one that gives normal people the feeling that the world is beyond help. Having a personal menagerie serves no purpose except for bragging rights over other equally bankrupt individuals; and there seems no shortage of these types.
However the problem will only grow worse if we do not stop engaging in this culture of glorifying the ownership of exotic things. We change the world with our voices but also with our mass spending power. Spending is a form of voting. People who care about the future of this planet and the people on it don't buy diamonds if it means workers in Africa will die trying to supply them. We don't want exotic woods in our homes if it means the destruction of 200 year old giant redwoods. Fur was hugely popular before the 1980's but we made it less so by deciding that it was an industry not worth supporting. Many people have become serial label readers in an attempt to learn more about the every day products they buy so as to avoid products which exploit children, animals or cause cruelty. Even the Toronto Zoo is struggling because less people want to see animals held captive for the amusement (they use the word "education") of people. When our society learns where these animals come from, how they are exported and how they suffer during their lives as a result of this human obsession, it becomes harder to support.
The fact that the smugglers were caught not by alert airport staff but by Freeland; a dedicated network of anti-trafficking activists based in Thailand, is a clue that the black market for animals is more widely frowned upon than it once was. Involving the citizens from countries who have long believed in animal parts as medicines in their own education and enforcement is reason to hope that this too will end.
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