The international union for the conservation of nature announced recently that the northern white rhino and the javan rhino are now ‘possibly extinct’, obviously it’s pretty difficult to determine if every single one has been wiped out but this is pretty sad news.
This is sad news for the beauty of biodiversity and the other benefits offered by broader heterozygosity.
But do not be mistaken, this is sad news for humankind as well, because we played a large role in this, and in particular the practice of traditional chinese medicine played a huge role in the poaching of the rhinoceros for its horn. A horn that is made primarily from keratin and which contains no medicinal properties whatsoever that fingernails or the human hair would not be able to provide.
So despite the fact that there is no science to show any benefit to the use of rhino horn in medicine, and despite the fact that it is clear that this apathy towards inter-special genocide is a bad thing for the biosphere, it’s not stopping.
People are still spouting superstitious reasons to use rhino horn for remedies with no effect, people are still contributing to the destruction of the rhinoceros for the benefit of no-one except themselves and their wallets.
And for those of you who’ll back this up by citing the placebo effect, is it really worth the slaughter of these endangered species for an effect you can get by any intervention?
Would it not be simpler to, I don’t know, get a treatment that doesn’t involve wiping out this rare and beautiful creatures?
Superstition is no excuse for this, no matter how nicely you dress it up.
This is wrong, and the ethical connotations of this should have been enough to stop this practice years ago.
Alas, people do not always listen to reason.