American hunters are embroiled in a culture war with anti-hunting extremists but they do not stand alone. I am pleased to announce the launch of the True Green Alliance (TGA), a new South African-based NGO established on Feb. 27, to destroy the credibility of the animal rights doctrine worldwide and to educate society in the principles and practices of wildlife resource management. As president of TGA, I recognize these two desiderata go hand in hand as it is impossible to convince anyone of the pernicious effects that animal rights extremists have on the earth’s living resources unless the counterpoint is understood: the wisdom of sustainably utilizing these resources for the benefit of mankind. Simply put, if man does not use his living resources in a wise, sustainable manner, he will not survive. Our civilization depends on a strategy that negates the cancerous animal rights challenge.
While most hunters focus on the negative effects that anti-hunters have on their passions, only as a secondary concern do they consider the even more critical negative impact that a ban on hunting will have on wild animal populations and their habitats. What some hunters also forget is that the danger posed by animal rights extremism extends far beyond the realm of wildlife.
It is for this reason that the TGA refers to “living resource” management and not only to “wildlife management” (conservation). Living resources include both wild “resources” (wild fauna and flora) and domestic “resources” (e.g. cattle, sheep and goats). In order to spread this concept more forcibly within society—that wild and domestic “living resources” are equally important—TGA proposes that wild animals should be called wild “products of the land” and domestic animals tame “products of the land,” and that both can and should be used wisely and sustainably for the benefit of mankind.
If the man who enjoys his barbecues and bacon and eggs for breakfast but still considers wildlife to be some sort of “sacred cow” can recognize this, he will be far more inclined to reject the animal rights philosophy. It also will encourage farmers and their associations, which are also harassed by the animal rightists, to embrace the TGA. Through unity the alliance will generate increased authority and credibility in the eyes of society.
Within hunting fraternities worldwide, irresponsible and unethical practices periodically attract shameful condemnation from the public. The same applies to agriculture. Such complaints, however, should be investigated and handled by a genuine “animal welfare” organization and animal “rightists” should be legally denied the opportunity to interfere.
Combating the Animal Rights Doctrine
The animal rights doctrine advocates the total abolition of all animal uses by man and promotes absolute veganism. As unreal as such a goal might seem to responsible and intelligent people—and as unlikely as it might be that the nefarious animal rightists can ever achieve their goal—they continue, surprisingly, to win the hearts and minds of our unversed society. The reason is twofold: Animal rightists’ propaganda strategies are well formulated; and responsible people have given them an open field to play on—without real opposition.
The TGA proposes that it be the opposing team based in Africa and was created for just that purpose. The TGA’s position statement on the animal rights doctrine leaves no doubt that:
- There is no place in any civilized society for the animal rights doctrine;
- The animal rightists cannot achieve their objectives without violating the legitimate rights of other people; and
- The animal rights doctrine is incompatible with the principles and practices of science-based wildlife management (conservation).
Finally, society should be guided into the understanding that, due to their modus operandi, animal rightist NGOs can be legitimately classified as racketeers. In their current propaganda, for example, they are broadcasting to the world that, because of uncontrolled and uncontrollable poaching, the African elephant is facing extinction, which is untrue. And on the basis of this fabrication, the NGOs solicit large sums of money from the gullible public, ostensibly to help them to save the African elephant from extinction, yet very little, if any, of the monies so fraudulently obtained is ever used for the purpose for which it is petitioned. When a large group of NGOs propagate this same lie and defraud the public en masse in the same manner, the TGA presents to the world a perfect example of organized crime.
Arguing Facts over Fiction
In Africa, south of the Cunene and Zambezi Rivers, every major elephant population is expanding—in many sanctuaries doubling their numbers every 10 years—and they are all numerically grossly in excess of their habitats’ carrying capacities. As a consequence, national park habitats and their once extensive biological diversities are being destroyed. The greatest threat to the elephant’s future stems from the elephants themselves. In southern Africa, where they are breeding themselves out of house and home, any poaching activities are not impacting elephant population dynamics as I have tracked and reported in several of my books beginning in 1986 and, most recently, in “ELEPHANT CONSERVATION—The Facts and the Fiction” (2016). These are the types of truths the TGA will disseminate worldwide.
In step with the NRA Hunters’ Leadership Forum, the TGA will stand up for hunters and hunting at home and abroad. It is hoped that within a few years it will have true global impact, but at this stage it will concentrate on enhancing its operations in South Africa. The immediate aim is to be fully operational by the time the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) 17th Conference of the Parties (CoP17) opens in Johannesburg, Sept. 24-Oct. 5.
To date the TGA has obtained pledges of financial support from the three major hunting associations in South Africa; the South African Wildlife Ranchers’ Association; the Private Rhino Owners Association; and from several individuals. Of course, it will be difficult for it to succeed without the support of those whose interests it represents. The TGA, therefore, welcomes donations and membership applications from both South African and foreign parties. For more information or to contribute to TGA, please email me directly at [email protected]
About the Author
As president of the True Green Alliance, award-winning author Ron Thomson is leading the charge for this South African initiative. Often referred to as a “living legend” and “one of the greatest wildlife, conservation and hunting writers of our time,” Thomson has a history steeped in wildlife conservation and in fighting against animal rights extremism. With vast African Big-Five hunting experience gained during a colonial period that is long gone, his articles and books continue to draw the respect of hunters and conservationists worldwide. For more information, click here.