Want to save the tigers? Farm them. Elephants? Kill them to harvest ivory and then render them into burgers. Orang-utans? No need to stop unsustainable palm production and deforestation, just add the apes to the farm yard where they can be gorown, slaughtered, and sold as monkey steak.
The evidence that this would be a good move is that we have been banning endangered animal trade for decades and yet, their numbers are still declining. If people can own such animals, they would have a vested interest in "protecting" them. Apparently, no one is interested in protection unless there is money to be made.
It is blatant commodification and something that many environmentalists support overall. If we can marketize natural "resources," place upon them a price, and confer ownership of them to individuals, we provide economic rationale to the capitalist. Otherwise, we fall victim to the Tragedy of the Commons.
John Stossel supports it, so it must be a good idea, right?
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What it all comes down to is providing support to the ethically challenged. Meat eaters can feel good about themselves for "saving the animals" just like they already do for buying "humane" meat. It doesn't really challenge the status quo at all. Although most people probably would not want to eat apes, elephants, predatory cats, wild canids, or bald eagles, there would still be a market out there for it. In fact there already is. We already know that poachers are providing illegal flesh to consumers all over the world. But zoos have been known to be part of the black market trade in "exotic meats," allowing wealthy assholes to buy the animal of their choosing to be slaughtered and consumed. Newer culinary niche markets are forming around the idea of eating exotic animals. I am sure Anthony Bourdain will be leading the way on that movement in America.
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