Suggestion: A Media Junket for the Daily Maverick Team of Journalist

Richard Poplack.

Editor-at-Large. Daily Maverick.


Dear Richard,

Thank you for responding in such a friendly manner to my several letters of attack against your Newspaper (The Daily Maverick).

I note that you are “The Editor-at large”. A bigger ‘gun’ than a mere journalist!  So thank you for responding. It gives me hope that we (wildlife management professionals)  can start giving you (The Daily Maverick) the kind of support that you seek from those of us who know what is going on.   But let’s call a spade bloody shovel – and thus clear the air between us. YOU say you project the truth!  We say you don’t KNOW the truth – when it comes to wildlife management; and you accept animal rights propaganda as reflecting ‘the truth’.  If THAT is true, then I must tell you that the Maverick has been projecting criminal lies since time began.

My concerns are that your journalists (and maybe you also???) clearly have no idea about the damage they are doing to our wildlife by giving “the enemy” – some of the biggest animal rights extremists in the country – a platform to broadcast their propaganda to our society-at-large.  I believes that  (you??) and your journalists are giving the animal rightists ‘space’ because you think the animal rightists are in the majority (they are not!) ; and because you think that the animal rightists emotion-charged attitude will gain you a greater readership, than you would get if you support the honest science of wildlife management.  So, in “our” eyes your newspaper and your journalists have become THE ENEMY to our wildlife management profession and to the wildlife industry.

Having said that, however, I owe it to you to tell you why!

There are two sides to the massive war-of-attrition that is being waged world-wide between those of us ‘in the hunting and wildlife management profession’ and what I call the  ‘animal rights brigade’.  ‘WE’ believe in the sustainable-use of our living resources (plants and animals) for the betterment of mankind (specifically, in this country, for the betterment all South Africa’s people).  Whereas it is ‘their’ (the animal rightists) purpose to ABOLISH all animal ‘uses’ by man.  In their book, they include in their attacks, the farming of animals for the production of milk and meat and eggs for the consumption of man; the eating of meat by man; the keeping of pet dogs and cats; the riding of horses; the ploughing of fields and the pulling of carts by horses and oxen, and a whole lot more. And they insist that man should subsist, exclusively, on a vegetable diet.

The animal rightists call themselves “ANIMAL WELFARE” people but THAT they are not.

Animal rightists claim that animals – all animals – have the same ‘rights to life’  as do human beings; and that man has no right to kill animals in order to obtain meat for man to eat.  They also say that man has no right to “use” an animal for any purpose whatsoever. They also insist that man should NOT ‘eat meat’ at all.

Animal welfarists do not agree. TRUE animal welfare people do not oppose the killing of animals by man for whatever purpose, but they have provisos.  They say that when man kills an animal to obtain benefits (whatever those benefits may be) such killing must be conducted in a humane manner; and that when man ‘uses’ a live animal – for whatever purpose – such ‘use’ must be carried out without cruelty.  We wildlife managers and hunters are all in support of animal welfare considerations. We also all equally strongly reject the animal rights doctrine.

AND, for the record, the act of killing is not “cruel”. For killing to be cruel it must be carried out with the intention of causing pain and suffering! When a beast is killed by man, to obtain meat to eat, it is NOT his intention to cause ‘pain and suffering’. Quite the contrary.

There are a great many more differences between the philosophies of animal rights and those of animal welfare – which I cannot go into in a simple e-mail. I attach, however, two public information bulletins from the True Green Alliance which will tell you most else that you need to know.

The foundation cornerstones of the wildlife management profession are contained in the mission statement of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (The IUCN) – specifically, in what is called “The World Conservation Strategy” (WCS )(1980). VERY briefly, the third objective of what WCS calls “Living Resource Conservation” states: To ensure the sustainable utilisation of species and ecosystems (notably fish and other wildlife, forests and grazing lands) which support millions of rural communities as well as major industries.

In 1980 the whole world was so taken with the provisions of the WCS that it was called “the blue print that would take mankind and nature into posterity in symbiotic harmony.”

The principles of South Africa’s National Conservation Strategy are all based on the WCS!

The WCS is the  linchpin upon which a great deal of modern wildlife management philosophies and practices are based.  It is therefore, a major component  of civilisation’s foundations. I think it is necessary and desirable, therefore, that your journalists spend a little more time reading and discussing its provisions.

I add a document which both describes the aims and objectives of our “TRUE GREEN ALLIANCE” – AND which outlines, also, the animal rights doctrine explicitly. If you read it, you will see why we believe there is no place in any civilized society for the animal rights doctrine.

I would also like to offer you the opportunity to better educate your journalists into the realm of science-based wildlife management.  I have a small booklet called: “Managing Our Wildlife Heritage” which explains in some detail all the facts, principles and practices surrounding the art and craft of wildlife management.  It was written some 16 years ago but the principles it expounds are still valid today (Indeed they will be valid forever). And it is being used in those South African universities where wildlife management is being taught.  I would be happy to send you ten copies free of charge – in the interests of bringing your Daily Maverick journalists, up to date with the scientific realities of wildlife management.  I am a university-trained Field Ecologist, myself, and I have 62 years of practical hands-on experience in this field – obtained during long term and continuous service in some of southern Africa’s greatest national parks.  Two of my previous postings were those of Provincial Game Warden-in-charge of Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe; and Director of the Bophuthatswana National Parks Board in South Africa. I would request, therefore, that you compare the proof of my capabilities (contained in my small gift to you {ten wildlife management booklets}), and my vast field experience in this science, with the qualities of some of your rabid animal rights contributors to the Daily Maverick. How does my university training, my hands-on experience working inside some of Africa’s greatest wildlife sanctuaries, and my 62 years of  service within the top national park departments  in southern Africa, compare with one of your regular contributors (Don Pinnock) whose background in wildlife knowledge is derived, so I understand, in taking tourists up the mountain in the Gilbraltar cable-car (which he was trained to drive himself), there to show the introduced macaque monkeys to his visitors, on the mountain-top? And the Daily Maverick has the audacity to regularly publish this person’s animal rightists views on current wildlife management matters; when I (and several  of my colleagues) struggle to get the opportunity to tell the REAL TRUTH to your readers.  It is no wonder that the Daily Maverick  has got the reputation of being ‘the animal rights mouth piece’ in South Africa.  Everybody in South Africa’s wildlife industry, therefore,  seriously doubts the Maverick’s statement that it “TELLS THE TRUTH”.

My second last utterance: According to the American RICO Act (Racketeering Influenced Criminal Organisations Act) the way the animal rightists operate brands them as being part of  international organized crime.  So the Daily Maverick is gaining the reputation of rubbing shoulders with the likes of Al Capone.  They make money by telling lies – which makes them fraudsters.

Finally, Sir, I would like to offer you and the journalists of the Daily Maverick, the opportunity to attend (in person) a special Media Junket for your elucidation, free of charge,  sometime later this year? And at that junket people within the wildlife industry, who know their subjects, will provide answers to  whatever questions are thrown at them.  Such a junket will give both of us a good opportunity to clear the air; to hopefully provide your journalists with the means to determine what is true and what is not true (in the field of wildlife management); and thus to generate a lasting friendship.  We – the people of South Africa’s wildlife industry – would be delighted to work WITH the Daily Maverick and to provide South Africans with the REAL TRUTH for a change. But we will shun you – and we will tell others to shun you, too – if you continue to be ‘the mouthpiece of animal rights-ism’ in South Africa.

Please excuse my bluntness. What I have said above comes from the heart. Nevertheless, keep in touch.  And please give me the name and address of your nearest Post Net Office.

In all sincerity,

Ron Thomson. CEO – TGA

One Comment

  1. Dave Jackaman

    Well said once again Ron.

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