$350,000 to Kill a Rhino? What's It Worth to Spare It?

Categories: Buzz

Thumbnail image for BlackRhino.jpg
"The last temptation is the greatest treason: To do the right deed for the wrong reason." --T.S. Eliot

Many words have flooded the Internet over last weekend's auction by the Dallas Safari Club of a permit that will allow a well-heeled hunter to kill one of the few remaining black rhinoceroses in Namibia. Many of those words, particularly those posted by others on the Facebook page of Corey Knowlton, the professional hunter who may have won the auction with a $350,000 bid, are variations of the word "penis" and "small." "Scum" is pretty popular too.

See also: Dallas Safari Club's Black Rhino Permit Sold for Much Less Than Expected

We say "may" because the club isn't naming the winner, and Knowlton was identified in another hunter's tweet. (We've left messages.) There's speculation online about whether Knowlton made the bid for himself or someone else. Considering the heat from the commenters on his Facebook page -- wishes that he die and burn in hell -- the man must have skin thicker than a rhino's.

The auction has its supporters, who point out that the rhino due for a bullet, named "Ronnie" by authorities to give this story extra pathos, is past breeding age and aggressive, and the money from the auction -- far less than the $1 million the club hoped for -- will go to conserve the species.

"Compassion for animals is an unappreciated commonality between hunters and non-hunters," Dallas Morning News op-ed columnist Gordon Keith wrote in defense of the hunt. "But compassion uncoupled from reason is destructive."

Compassion uncoupled from reason is also a way to describe God's grace, but Keith's point is, we think, that there are hard choices to be made about how to conserve the animals, and hunters and anti-hunters should respect the fact that they both cherish nature. That's a nice argument that entirely misses the point: What matters here is not compassion and understanding but passion and taste, and strangely the Facebook Army has it right: If you pay a load of money to travel far to shoot an old, one-horned bull minding its own business, NO MATTER WHAT THE MONEY GOES FOR, you look like a real dick.

It's a lot of money? You still look like a dick. Culling is an accepted way to improve a herd? Maybe, but still dickish in appearance.

Buzz doesn't hunt, but we don't object to other people doing it. Many people do, though, and it's impossible to weigh the proper balance between perception and reality, emotion and reason roiling their Facebook-posting souls. That's why it's better to tread carefully and be respectful of the heart when you're doing things like setting up an auction to kill an endangered species. Extravagant amounts of money + shooting Ronnie = really awful PR, and that doesn't do the cause of hunting or conservation any good. Motives matter, and at least part of the motive in this hunt is the pleasure someone's going to get plugging ol' Ronnie. That's just bad taste.

Maybe, in an act of grace, whoever claims the right to shoot Ronnie could find a way to spare him.


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160 comments
everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

It is worth noting that of all the people bitching about this, including rich celebrities, none of them ponied up the $351,000 it would take to buy this permit (ensuring that the charity still got the money) and then toss it in the trash.

John1073
John1073

An aggressive rhino? Are we to expect them to be loving and snuggle up to you? Of course he is aggressive. He probably lived that long by being a bad ass rhino.

But I say let the man hunt. The caveat is that he has to hunt him with a spear and a shield. Do it old school like our ancestors on the African plains. If he can kill Ronnie that way, more power to him.

joesmom1
joesmom1

I fully understand the need to hunt for food, and even to cull a herd.  Lord knows in my area, man has killed every predator (calling them vile vermin) and now we are over run with white tail deer, not to mention various rodents).  But I can't wrap my head around killing endangered or even vulnerable species for fun. . .to stick a head on the wall. . .to brag about doing it.  It boggles my mind that any sane human being could get their jollies engaging in such a bloodthirsty, heartless act.

ruddski
ruddski

Incidentally, I have done some exhaustive research, and can now answer the question posed in your headline

Q: $350,000 to Kill an Rhino? What's It Worth to Spare It?

A: $0.00

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum topcommenter

Here's the rationale, as to why hunting for sport is unethical:


1. Can hunting animals cause animals pain? Yes, because hunters can't ensure that they kill the animals instantaneously, and often don't.

2. Does the sport hunter need the nutrition the animal carcass provides in order to survive? By virtue of the activity being for sport, no.

3. Is hunting the animal for sport (not subsistence or security) then necessary for the hunter? No.

4. Is unnecessarily hunting an animal, and potentially causing it pain, unethical? Yes.


Then, is sport hunting unethical? Yes.


Conclusion: The hunter is unnecessarily causing pain to the animal, which is unethical.

ruddski
ruddski

The Namibian government would just auction it off again. They could keep up the circle of contribution until the rhino dropped of its own accord, after draining millions from someone like Sean Penn, who would never be the wiser.

But as you point out, lefties are cheap, a habit they developed in the glory days of collectivism.

jacobh1125
jacobh1125

@joesmom1

The conservationists who dedicate their lives to manage this herd of endangered species, realizes that $350,000 will go further to protect the entire species than one old ass rhino about to drop anyway.  What good is it to the herd if it cant breed, is old as hell and attacks the other rhino's?  How is this Rhino's existence benefitting the other rino's?

jacobh1125
jacobh1125

@CogitoErgoSum

There are limits on how many animals you can kill for a reason, its called herd management.  We can't have an over population of wild animals, it will cause mass disease, and we will not be able to eat vegetables because our farmers would not be able to grow crops or raise livestock because the masses of wild animals would destroy everything.  But that's for someone who thinks a little more than you before commenting.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@CogitoErgoSum 

More along the lines of an abolitionist rationalization.  A Hail Mary.

Hey man, save a cow.

Shove some venison down your piehole.

Or in your parlance, every meat you replace with bovine you cut flatulence and reduce the greenhouse effect.

Voot
Voot

@CogitoErgoSum 

Your syllogism is only valid if both hunter and animal are ethical peers inhabiting the same ethical universe and adhering to the same ethical values. But what you end up forcing trying vainly to make this the case is either elevating the animal to the hunter's ethical peer or reducing the hunter to ethically being fair prey for the animal, because it would be wrong for the animal to suffer the pain of hunger when a juicy hunter or even a human child was available.


In other words, you're peddling sentiment under a cape of pseudorationality and you're ending up looking like a psychopath wearing the ill-fitting human skin he's just harvested from an unlucky passer by.

doublecheese
doublecheese

Anyone with the name CogitoErgoSum should be familiar with the logical fallacy called "begging the question".  Maybe you are.  The problem is, you ought to be avoiding it.  

ruddski
ruddski

Unethical by your standards. Some people do not live by your standards.

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum topcommenter

@jacobh1125 @joesmom1 Besides being about two weeks late to the conversation, I can see you haven't read through the comments here. Get back to me when you do.

ruddski
ruddski

Excepting your $6,000.,000 contribution of hot air, of course.

ruddski
ruddski

"Is hunting for food okay?"

Only if it's food that Cogito likes.

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum topcommenter

@Voot @CogitoErgoSum This rebuttal falls apart in its logic. 


Here's why: There's no need for the human and animal to be ethical peers for the human to behave ethically by human standards. Humans have a level of cognition and reasoning beyond that of other animals. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to occupy the ethical high ground when it comes to inflicting pain on fellow animals, both human and non-human.


Your rationale is that because an animal doesn't have the capacity to be ethical, why should we behave ethically? In effect, you are saying we are no better than animals., when, in fact, the basis of all of modern society and law speaks to the contrary.

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum topcommenter

@doublecheese Please point out the flaws in the reasoning. And don't come back to me with infantile, never-ending streams of "Why?"

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum topcommenter

@ruddski So, your standards are that causing pain to animals for the enjoyment of it is A-OK?

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@ruddski 

I told Cogito earlier that it appears to me that Cogito is a vegan who will not rest until all humans are vegans; whereas, I do not care what Cogito does unless it involves little children.


I have come to the conclusion that Cogito's position is a matter of faith and not reason.  Therefore, no debate can be had.

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum topcommenter

@ruddski I told Paul earlier that those who can get their nutrition from vegetable products should stop eating meat. It is economically wasteful, agriculturally unsustainable and unethical.

ruddski
ruddski

Assuming you're truthful for the sake of argument, do you feel human consumption of meat should be banned?

Food stock rarely, if ever, dies happy. Should McDonalds exist?

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum topcommenter

@ruddski LOL. Keep assuming. Regardless of my personal dietary practices, this is an intellectual exercise worth pursuing. But, yes, I am.

ruddski
ruddski

If you aren't vegan, you're a hypocrite who just wants to force your sense of ethics on everyone, while giving yourself a pass for violating your own ethics.

Hey, it would really advance your personal argument if you WERE vegan, but given your comfort with fraud, who would believe you?

ruddski
ruddski

Cogito, I assume you are vegan.

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum topcommenter

Would you prefer "immoral"? I can use that term, if you'd prefer.

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum topcommenter

@Voot @CogitoErgoSum I dispute your definition of "ethics," period. Play semantics all you want. It will get you nowhere.

Voot
Voot

@CogitoErgoSum Sorry, ethics describes transactional behavior between peer agents, period. We don't treat children "ethically" any more than we treat animals "ethically". We might treat either on any number of other bases - kindly, protectively, whatever - but "ethically" is not possibly one of them in either case.

This alone shows your verbiage here to be bullshit and your rationales just that also, of the moment, pulled straight from your ass, with no logical foundations other than your own idiosyncratic feelings.

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum topcommenter

@ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul @CogitoErgoSum @doublecheese Deny, deny, deny ... this is your strategy of cognitive dissonance. You are guilty of that which you accuse me. You have already reached your conclusion: hunting is ethical, but you have done nothing to support it.


At least I have outlined rational and logical points, which no one, as yet, has been able to dispute in a substantial way. As I said, I understand that it helps you sleep at night to believe there is nothing wrong with unnecessarily causing pain to animals. That doesn't make it right, but it is understandable.


Good luck to you, sir!

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@CogitoErgoSum@ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul@doublecheese  

Cogito, I came to the conclusion that your position is a matter of faith, not reason.  As such there can be no debate on the subject.

It is obvious to me that you do miss the point.  Circular logic does not prove anything.  Stating your posting name as SumErgoCogito  makes just as much logical sense.

When circular logic is used to make a point there is no need to dispute your points as your logical method does not allow the conclusion to be made.  As stated before, your conclusion is part of your hypothesis and therefor your conclusion does not do anything other than restate your hypothesis.  Any points used to tried to support your conclusion (which is not possible due to it being a restatement of your hypothesis) are immaterial to your argument.

When Descartes penned his statement (Cogito Ergo Sum) he was arguing about what constitutes self awareness.  He was basically saying that within the human framework of self awareness, self awareness cannot be defined except as a circular reference.  In his statement, thought has to be axiomatic otherwise self awareness cannot exist.  The problem then is what is thought?


Perhaps studying the information contained in the following link will help you better shape your argument in defense of your thesis.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fallacies


Please also review the See Also links.


Good Luck!

Voot
Voot

@doublecheeseTo Debbie Descartes here, merely asserting something using the rhetorical trappings of reasoning makes it so.


Debbie, there's actually a term for your performance here: sophistry.

doublecheese
doublecheese

@CogitoErgoSum @doublecheese Because you argument is basically this:  Sport hunting is unethical because the things that comprise sport hunting are unethical.  More simply, Sport hunting is unethical because sport hunting is unethical.  You have not proven that the thing that comprise sport hunting are unethical, yet you base your conclusion on it.

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum topcommenter

@doublecheese @CogitoErgoSum I'm not sure that it is circular or begging the question. Just because I already ran through these questions and came to a conclusion before I posted here -- then outlined the rationale -- does not make it circular. Help me understand. Did I overlook something? I admit it is possible.

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum topcommenter

@doublecheese @CogitoErgoSum You are skilled at trying to poke holes by pointing to supposed fallacies, but you have yet to argue against the points within the argument. You just don't like the conclusion. With a name like "doublecheese," it's no wonder why.

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum topcommenter

@doublecheese You trotted out a mistake I made in a previous point, which was not relevant to this one, thereby casting aspersion. Ad hominem.

doublecheese
doublecheese

@CogitoErgoSum I can't rephrase the statements to avoid the fallacy, because the argument itself is fallacious, not just how it was worded.

doublecheese
doublecheese

@CogitoErgoSum It is not an ad hominem to point to your poor argumentation.  I suggest looking up that one too.

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum topcommenter

@doublecheese @CogitoErgoSum I'm still waiting for you to point out the flaws. You can't. Just personal attacks, also a fallacy. Please re-phrase the statements in the manner you think would avoid this supposed fallacy.

doublecheese
doublecheese

@CogitoErgoSum @doublecheese  Your conclusion assumes itself.  It is circular reasoning.  Please do look up "begging the question" if you are going to pretend to be some kind of philosopher with your screen name.  


We already know you like to misread Wikipedia, so here's a Wikipedia quote on this:  "This is an informal fallacy where the conclusion that one is attempting to prove is included in the initial premises of an argument,"


Now, look at your argument and see if you can find the places you have done this.

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum topcommenter

@ruddski Animals in the wild die painful deaths, to be sure. They were not caused by a thinking, reasoning human who knows it can be avoided in certain situations, namely sport hunting.

ruddski
ruddski

"So, your standards are that causing pain to animals for the enjoyment of it is A-OK?"

How do you think animals in the wild die, with a steady Valium drip?

The object is to kill the animal, not cause it pain, so you're completely misrepresenting hunting ethos. Some might characterize that as a "lie" about the sport of hunting.

I guess if you're comfortable with being lied to, you're comfortable lying.

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