In Support of Proper Management of South Africa’s Wildlife Heritage
TGA Talk to hunting & WRSA audiences
The TGA’s primary purpose is to destroy the credibility of the animal rights doctrine within society… but it is a little bit more than that.
Our total vision is: To create a southern African (ultimately global) society that is properly informed about the principles and practices of wildlife management; that understands the wisdom of, and necessity for, the sustainable utilisation of our living resources (both wild and domestic) for the benefit of mankind; that supports animal welfare; and that rejects animal rights – the doctrine of which seeks to abolish all animal uses by man.
We are part of the wildlife industry. Everything we do, say and write about is in support of the proper management of South Africa’s wildlife heritage; in the best interests of commercial wildlife ranching; and to enhance hunting. I lump these three topics together under the general term wildlife industry.
It was never intended that the TGA should work within the commercial wildlife industry; and we don’t WANT to interfere with its domestic affairs. We work on its periphery, however, where we have direct access to the general public.
Some firebrand hunters have criticised us for refusing to get embroiled in the colour variant breeding and canned lion hunting controversies. But we have no special expertise in these fields; we can’t bring any new ideas to the table; the industry itself seems to be tackling these problems adequately; and they both fall outside our constitutional mandate. Several more-sober-minded members of the industry, however, recognising the TGA’s real purpose, have commented about us in a different way.
They have said: “The TGA is long overdue. If it had been brought into operation ten years ago, the industry would not find itself so unproductively involved in so many of today’s anti-hunting and anti-commerce controversies.”
But the TGA is here now…. and we are in operation. We have started the war to liberate the industry from the shackles with which the animal rightist NGOs have started to burden us.
The animal rightist NGOs’ resistance to everything that you and I believe in has been gathering momentum for the last 50 years. It has reached the stage, today, where its active programme of destruction is threatening the very existence of our industry. And in all that time no other structured organisation has materialised to combat this menace. We still have a lot to learn about the gigantic task we have set ourselves, but we are in harness and we have started work. And we haven’t been idle.
The TGA attended the CITES CoP17 last year as an accredited observer. Altogether 3500 delegates attended. I participated in all the convention’s functions and networked heavily. This was my third such convention and what I experienced left me in no doubt that CITES has been taken over – as in a Gupta-style state-takeover – by its accredited animal rights NGOs. Their incredible numbers swamped the proceedings and made it impossible for the voices of singletons like me to get my voice heard during the debates. IFAW alone, for example, fielded 38 delegates which intimidated and overwhelmed public and press opinion. Considering that none of these activists commanded a single vote, one has to wonder why they flooded the convention in such a manner.
Why would animal rightists – whose doctrine is to abolish all animal uses by man – want to attend the meetings of a convention the purpose of which is to REGULATE the wildlife trade? The reason is glaringly obvious. They attend for the express purpose of sabotaging the convention. It is their purpose to change CITES from being a regulator of the wildlife trade into an organisation that PROHIBITS it. And they are succeeding!
Before discussing their modus operandi, let me first explain that ONLY the 183 sovereign state members of CITES control a vote – a single vote for each state member that they are obliged to cast following every debate, on every item on the agenda. So, the maximum number of votes that can possibly be cast every time a vote is called for, is 183.
Prior to the 2016, the animal rightist NGOs secretly purchased votes from the poorer sovereign states with expensive bribes. Last year, they acquired the votes they wanted by more openly sponsoring the very high attendance costs of the poorer-state delegations. Each such sponsorship, however, came with a price. The willing victims of this scam were obliged to vote in the manner that their benefactors prescribed. So, they became nothing more than their paymasters’ puppets.
By thus – one way or another – engineering their control over enough votes, the animal rightist NGOs have, for years, been manipulating the outcomes of important CITES debates. This makes a complete mockery of the whole purpose of the convention – and it is a sad reflection on a very important wildlife management facility. Many countries – and businesses – pin their hopes on good outcomes at CITES only to be so often very badly disappointed. Swaziland’s well-constructed, but failed, bid last year to sell its stock-pile of rhino horn, for example, was actually decided well before the convention even began.
CITES is the biggest and most powerful weapon the animal rights brigade has ever had at its disposal. And the animal rightist NGOs very skilfully use their accreditation membership at CITES to their best advantage. Claiming membership of CITES somehow vindicates their bona fides in the eyes of the public.
It is inevitable, therefore, that the TGA must challenge the status quo at CITES. There is no better location for TGA action – where the most damage can be done to the animal rightist’s doctrine, to their purpose, to their character and to their public reputation – than at CITES. So THAT is where our biggest battle must take place.
My own inclination is to demand that CITES be dissolved but that is unlikely to happen because, in the process, wildlife industries – like ours – will suffer considerable collateral damage. Those states which remained members of the convention – and whose domestic laws on wildlife trade are linked to the convention – would most certainly deny the importation to their countries of our hunting trophies. And THAT would be catastrophic for the wildlife industries of southern Africa.
The tragedy is that CITES could be of very great benefit to its 183 sovereign state members (who are the only members that matter); but the convention will never work properly as long as the animal rightist NGOs are permitted accreditation. This leads us to the next possibility – changing the accreditation rules!
This would be a legitimate action, but it has to be proposed by one of the 183 sovereign state members. That means we will have to persuade the South African Minister of Environmental Affairs to make the application. But – if she cannot be convinced – we can still achieve our goal by appealing to one of the other sovereign states to adopt our proposal.
CITES is becoming dysfunctional and to be of any use at all in the world today, its integrity and relevance has to be secured. National prestige, also, impinges upon the conundrum. How can any nation – with whatever modicum of pride – openly consort with an organisation that is so clearly corrupt? What nobody can deny is the fact that animal rightsism – the instigator of the corruption at CITES – is the biggest confidence industry the world has ever known!
How can I possibly support that point of view? Like this:
Animal rights propagandists create illusions in the public mind – such as getting the First World to believe that the elephant is facing extinction – which is not true. Indeed, in southern Africa just the opposite applies. All our major elephant populations are excessive. We have, in fact, too many elephants and they are busy destroying the biological diversities of their important national park habitats.
Nevertheless – despite their blatant lie – the animal rightist NGOs then solicited hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars from the general public to “save” the elephant from such an ignoble fate. They told the world that, with adequate donations, they would be able to make their “home-made illusion” go away.
Now here is the crux of this story. Because their propaganda was based on purposefully fabricated information, that consequent begging for money action constitutes an act of common fraud. And when the same fraud is committed more than once, it becomes a racket; and racketeering is part of organised crime. And their elephant extinction lie was not repeated just once. It was expounded hundreds of thousands of times – all over the world media – during the two-to-three-year period leading up to CITES CoP17.
So, the TGA has a very good case to peddle!
South Africa’s wildlife industry is a commercial enterprise. It involves the production of sellable commodities – trophy animals to hunt; trophies to mount and export; quarry for recreational hunters; meat to eat; animal hides, leathers, skins, horns and tusks to sell; and there are a lot of related services that bring in a great deal more revenue, too. But without lucrative and readily available international markets for its commodities, the wildlife industry will fizzle out. Therefore, if we don’t combat the animal rightists and win our battles, the animal rightists will win the war; they will render international markets for our produce inaccessible; and our industry WILL fail.
This is what the TGA is trying to avoid. THIS is the kind of information the TGA is disseminating into the public domain; and people are starting to listen. It is within the wide scope of societal circles – NOT inside the confines of the wildlife industry itself – that this war will be won or lost. If we get the public on our side, we will win this war – which is why we are concentrating in that zone of essential influence.
So – if we cannot realistically cause the total extinction of CITES – and if we are going to, rather, try to regain and retain the integrity and the relevance of CITES – the TGA is going to have to do the next best thing. We are going to have to persuade the sovereign state members to change the accreditation rules. And that IS attainable – without any chance of incurring collateral damage.
NGOs that refuse to agree to the new criteria would then be denied accreditation. Thus, the animal rightists could be eased out of CITES without a drop of blood being shed.
What we cannot allow to happen is the closing down of all our international wildlife trade options.
There are three tenets of business administration that are pertinent to the CITES/animal rights debacle:
(1) A business prospers when its members constantly strive to attain its goals;
(2) A business just putters along if its members are more concerned about what they can get out of it rather than what they can put into it; and
(3) A business will fail if its members are saboteurs – if they engage in activities that negate its purpose.
Thus, the animal rights at CITES can rightly be called saboteurs; which means CITES is bound to fail. So long as the saboteurs remain in place, CITES will be forever beyond redemption.
South Africa needs to take cognizance of this reality.
If the animal rightists win their war against us, hunting in all its forms will be banned forever; and international wildlife trade will never be allowed. And denying the industry these two prospects will sound its death knell.
There is no point in the TGA working within the industry. It doesn’t serve any purpose to preach to the converted! We must operate in the realm of the public domain because: THAT is the animal rightists’ feeding ground; That is where they get their funding – their power and energy; and THAT is where they get the public support they need to sway government opinion – and the opinions of uncommitted members of the public – AND THE PRESS – towards their way of thinking. The TGA needs to take over this, the animal rightists’ powerbase.
To assure ourselves of success, we have to continually ask ourselves: Why are the animal rightists enjoying so much success?
(1) Because the public is generally ignorant of even the simplest of conservation principles. Consequently, the animal rightists can tell the man-in-the -street whatever they like, and he will soak up their propaganda like a sponge;
(2) Because for the last 50 YEARS, the likes of you and I haven’t taken enough trouble to educate the public towards our way of thinking; and
(3) Because we have given the animal rightists an open field on which to play – without any kind of opposition – for far too long. And on that field, they have been winning over the hearts and minds of society.
The TGA is designed to fill that gap – to be the missing opposition team that the animal rightists should have been facing during all those decades!
We are coming on to the field of play to oppose the animal rightists, however, in a game the rules of which they have developed and prescribed; and about which we still have everything to learn.
NB: This makes it imperative for the wildlife industry to become more involved with the TGA and make it possible for us to win every battle we wage against the opposition.
What are we up against? Formidable international animal rights NGOs: IFAW (The International Fund for Animal welfare – the biggest animal rights group on the world) earns over US$ 200 million a year. HSUS (The Humane Society of the United States) – US$ 150 million; and there are countless other NGOs with equally large incomes. So, we are up against some very big guns.
Within South Africa we have three major animal rights problems to address:
(1). An NGO called the Conservation Action Trust (CAT) which comprises some of the biggest and most vocal animal rights individuals in the country;
(2). The NSPCA – which has received donations (up to 4.5 million Rand) from HSUS – and whose senior inspectors have been trained by HSUS for free. And the NSPCA-CEO is now also a Director of an international animal rights organisation called WAP (World Animal Protection). The NSPCA is now therefore, a sympathetic and major conduit into Africa for the international animal rights community.
(3). SATSA (The Southern African Tourism Services Association) produces a regular Newsletter called The South African Tourism Update that is perpetually promoting blatant animal rights propaganda. Its most regular contributors are all affiliated to CAT. SATSA encourages foreign visitors to sign petitions which records their refusal to visit any game lodge that supports hunting (or culling). SATSA is persuading a great many foreign tourists, therefore, to support animal rights dogma and to reject our country’s official National Conservation Strategy.
We have not yet had the time to address ourselves to these problems.
The TGA, however, is not alone. There are many organisations all over the world that are fighting the same fight – but I think we are the only organisation that has no other commitment.
Can we win this battle? Yes we CAN… and so we SHALL. If we follow the philosophies of that great Chinese general and military strategist Sun Tzu (544 BC – 496 BC), we cannot lose. He advises:
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.”
That means if the TGA intends to win this war we will first have to get to know our enemy. The good news is that I have been studying the animal rightist NGOs since 1987 – when I attended my first CITES conference in Ottawa, Canada. We are already aware of their many foibles.
We are eager but being patient. We intend to win this war – battle by battle – without having to publicly cross-swords with our enemy. We don’t have to fight our enemies head on. We can defeat them simply by creating a properly informed public which – when they know and understand the truth about the animal rightists menace – will not support them!
We are entering this fray, however, very late in the day – but it is never too late to fight for what is right! Nevertheless, we perceive ourselves to be at a decided disadvantage. One consolation is that we cannot afford to lose because to lose means that everything we have striven to achieve, over the past several decades, will be lost forever. If we lose, there will be no wildlife industry left at the end of the day; no game ranches; no game fences; and no hunting of any description.
If we lose – by the end of this century – with Africa’s (south of the Sahara) human population threatening to number, by then, more than 4 billion people – our national parks might well have become rural slums supporting masses of poor and unproductive peasant people. And the wildlife that we know today could, by then, all be gone.
So, for many reasons we cannot afford to lose. But we will not win unless every single one of us stands in positive support of the TGA. The KZN Hunters Association – like many other hunting and wildlife industry associations – has become a valued corporate member of the TGA. And we are very grateful for that. But it is not enough. Your organisation’s corporate membership should be seen as validation of the fact that your superiors believe in and support the TGA’s vision and its mission – and that should be enough to encourage all its members to become individual TGA members, too.
The annual membership fee is not great – less than the cost of a single night out on the town with your spouse or girlfriend. Surely you can afford such a small sacrifice – once a year – to ensure the TGA succeeds? Just believe, and understand, that what you decide could be the making or the breaking of the TGA. We CANNOT operate without funds.
Why do we need funds? For many reasons!
Just at the moment, for example, we are seeking major funding to create a youth wing for the TGA. We hope to establish self-sustaining branches of our Young Conservationists League(YCL) in every major city. Young people between the ages of 15 and 35 – black, white, brown and green – male and female – will be invited to become YCL members. They will be trained in the principles and practices of wildlife management; in the importance of the TGA’s vision and mission; and be guided about how the TGA believes they should operate within the public domain. These young people will be our storm-troopers – social media enthusiasts – facilitators and hosts of public functions – solicitors of memberships and donations – and they will all have to be trained to convince the members of the public to adopt the TGA philosophy.
I believe these YCL groups could make a profound difference to the way the South Africa public thinks about ‘conservation’ issues; and towards public rejection of the animal rights’ doctrine.
When we get these YCL groups on the go, I hope that you guys will adopt these young people as your very own. Those of you who join the TGA as members, or partners, will become part of us; so, our provincial YCL groups will belong to you, too. In this way you and me, and the TGA – all together – will smash-open this seemingly impossible nut that we must crack. And we will get the public eating out of our hands – and not out of the hands of the animal rightists.
I have great expectations that our black YCL members will “get the right message” out to both the country’s black urban people, and to its black rural communities. This is a must if Africa’s wildlife is to survive both the current century and into posterity.
High membership numbers will do several things for us: They will give the TGA credibility within the public domain; they will generate a sustained yield of members and membership fees; they will, hopefully, generate and encourage donations to the TGA, too; and they will create a dominant and constant TGA presence in the face of the public.
The TGA’s full potential, however, will not be realised unless and until the people of the wildlife industry embrace the TGA as their very own. The TGA’s Board of Directors would like the people of the industry to “feel” that the TGA “belongs to them”. Everything we do is to help create public awareness of the industry’s functions, its successes, its failures and its problems, and to safeguard its future from attack by the animal rights brigade. The people of the TGA themselves gain nothing – except self-satisfaction – from the successes that we rack up. The tangible benefits accrue ONLY to the people in the industry – to people like YOU. And WE don’t feel that the game ranchers and the hunters of South Africa have YET generated any real kind of emotional ownership of the TGA. You guys hold us at arm’s length, and inspect what we are doing – like a mother changing her baby’s nappy – probably with the same up-turned noses, too – but few have been inclined to join us. We would like that to change; and we would encourage you all to commit yourselves to make that change. It is the only way the TGA can possibly survive. It is the only way the industry will survive – because we see our success as being a prerequisite for the industry’s success. I urge you, please help us make it happen!