South Africa: Living With Wild Animals, Part One - Cash Cows or Fellow Beings?


The world is witnessing an unprecedented, human-induced collapse of biodiversity and is in the middle of a global pandemic caused by the consumption of wild species often kept in cruel, unsanitary conditions. Laws insisting on animal welfare and legal rights would have prevented this.

Let's face it, we treat most fellow animals very badly and rationalise ourselves into complacency. In addition to vast feedlots and hatcheries, we're penetrating deeper and deeper into wild areas, clear-cutting forests, and are shaking loose viral contagions like the Covid-19 pandemic.

Most of our diseases are zoonotic - derived from animals. Hundreds are known, thousands more are lurking in non-conventional food like pangolins, civets, snakes, lion bones, bats, primates and bush meat. It's time to take a hard look at how we regard the wild creatures with whom we share this planet.

Wild animals are regarded by humans in two very different ways: as commercial objects or with compassion. The position we take has to do with how we ourselves engage with the world.

According to David Bilchitz, a professor of Fundamental Rights and Constitutional Law at the University of Johannesburg, one view, sustainable use, sees wild animals solely in terms of their benefit to...

See What Everyone is Watching

More From: Daily Maverick

Don't Miss

AllAfrica publishes around 800 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.