3.29.2009

Pesticide Used In Africa To Kill Lions

I watched this earlier this evening and wept.

"African herders whose livestock and livelihood are threatened by lions are killing them in the most effective and economical way they can. And overwhelmingly, that is by using a cheap American chemical called Furadan. It is marketed as a pesticide, to be used for protecting crops. But it's bought by many to kill animals. And that’s one reason why, conservationists say, Africa's lions are in trouble."

When a lion kills a cow, farmers sprinkle an insecticide called Furadan on the carcas prior to the lions eating it. Furadan, a substance banned in the UK and greatly regulated here in the States, although the EPA is working to get it banned, is cheap and easy to get on the open market in Africa. It is odorless and tasteless and virtually shuts down the nervous system, causing a slow, painful, horrific death.

Lion population has declined upwards of 85% over the past 20 years in Africa for a variety of reasons (mostly if not all due to the actions of humankind). It's on the verge of becoming extinct. It's an atrocity what is happening in Africa, and yet there is always an underlying issue at play that must be considered. When you are a farmer whose livelihood of self and family depends upon "x" crop and that crop is being threatened by outside forces (animals, disease, people...) it's easy to resort to desperate measures to keep that cash flow coming in. Thankfully there are conservation groups who are working with these farmers by reimbursing them financially for any loss of their crop, or in this case, cows. In order to recoop the loss, farmers must allow the conservationists to inspect the cows carcass to ensure no Furadan is present.

Stories like this make me think yet again how (ridiculously) damn important the System creators have made money. When people are willing to kill to survive, to keep from losing an income, you know our species hasn't evolved much beyond the period from when we were dragging our knuckles on the ground. While understandable from a perspective of human survival, we can be doing things differently to ensure such things like this do not have to happen. The idea of these conservationists is simple and brilliant. While it doesn't remove money from the equation (ah but I can dream), it solves the issue plaguing the farmers and the lions. I applaud them for their efforts.

8 comments:

nolocontendere said...

Damn that sucks. I can't watch stuff like that, or any news story about animals suffering because of human garbage. I openly wept when I saw the wildlife destruction in the aftermath of Exxon Valdez.

Mike and Julie said...

It's a sad thing hearing about all the suffering that different animals go through. It makes you sad and angry.

Nina said...

It was heart wrenching to watch. I also have a very difficult time watching animals suffering at the stupidity of mankind and our neglect and indifference towards their worth AND importance.

Devin said...

This is indeed heartbreaking Nina!! I was doing research into ancient Rome the other day and saw how the spectators were reported to have wept at a Roman Colloseum-where about 20 elephants were being killed for nothing more than sport -the man who put on the spectacle was a wealthy Roman general -Pompey- and he thought his spectacle would make him well loved by the crowd-instead when the spectators heard the distress and trumpeting of the elephants especially as they were being slaughtered they rained down curses on Pompey's head!! best to you as always -love your blog!!

Devin said...

Sorry about the multiple comment Nina-I just wanted to say how amazing it is to me that so many of us bloggers-or in my case people who try to blog -are animal lovers!! Michael Skaggs at The Hidden Agendas is also a big time fan of animals of every kind -best as always!!

Nina said...

i hadn't heard that story. thanks for sharing devin.

i've never understood using animals for human entertainment. i don't like circuses and i'm even bothered by zoo's. no animal needs nor deserves to be in a cage or chained up (w/the exception of being on a leash for walks in public of course).

animals are intelligent in their own right and it is OUR responsibility, when we are given to be their caretakers, to learn how to speak/understand their ways and language.

Nadja said...

It would be really interesting to get a reference to the show you were citing. I'm dealing with pesticide use in Tanzania in my PhD studies. Cheers!

NAG said...

It would be really interesting to get a reference for the show(?) you are citing. I'm dealing with pesticide use in Tanzania in my PhD studies and am not so surprised of what I read. I found that people sometimes use it to kill hogs etc.
One must be aware of the desperate situation many people live in and in lack of other help/knowledge such methods might seem like their best option.