Every Friday I post the most interesting vegan news articles and blogs I’ve read. This week in vegan news …
1. Drones, poison and armed guards in the battle over rhinoceros
Near the end of 2011 the western black rhino was officially declared extinct. Back then CNN reported that the International Union for Conservation of Nature warned “that other rhinos could follow saying Africa’s northern white rhino is ‘teetering on the brink of extinction’ while Asia’s Javan rhino is ‘making its last stand’ due to continued poaching and lack of conservation.”
Now, once the Indian defense ministry approves, regular operation of unmanned drones will be used to combat poachers in northeast India. According to the Associated Press, “In recent weeks, wildlife authorities in Assam have deployed 300 armed guards to protect the rhinos in Kaziranga but they have been no match for organized gangs of poachers who have been managing to strike at the rhinos with increasing regularity.”
“Stealing antique rhino horn kept in the UK can deliver similar profits with much lower risks,” wrote BBC news. A DNA database of rhino horn is being developed in the UK to combat the thieves. There’s been over 20 criminal instances over the past 2 years. PC Andy Long, a wildlife crime officer in Essex, calls it a “highly organized crime at an international level.”
In South Africa, where more than 200 rhinos have been poached this year alone, they’re trying a far more drastic approach — poisoning all the rhino horn with a non-lethal mixture of dye and parasiticides that will make whoever consumes it “seriously ill,” reported The Guardian. “If the poacher hacks off the horn, he’ll immediately see it’s contaminated. We’re saying to the poachers: ‘Don’t bother coming to Sabi Sand. You’re wasting your time,'” said Andrew Parker, chief executive of the Sabi Sand Wildtuin Association.
2. The problem with the vegan police
While researching this column each week, it seems as though half the stories are of this variety: a person or celebrity declares they’re going to go vegan, and a week, month or year later they proclaim to the world how hard it is. Long-term vegans certainly don’t make it easy to get into the club wrote Paige Singleton at Vegan Soapbox. There seems to be whole group of “Gotcha vegans” or “vegan police,” who “scour the sphere for vegan slip-ups, trying to find aspiring vegans eating something that contains hidden meat or dairy products.”
In that environment, even the most dedicated vegans can find it hard to succeed. Case in point the Happy Herbivore who wrote back in 2011:
No matter how hard I tried, no matter how perfectly I thought I was living, something I did was always wrong. The vegan police were always ready to jump in and take away my vegan card. Now, mind you, it wasn’t like I went an ate a burger or something… it was more acute than that.
For example, I once tweeted I’d eaten cotton candy at a baseball game. Big mistake. I received a wave of angry texts and tweets about how I wasn’t vegan if I ate cotton candy, and how unresponsible it was of me not to source the sugar in the cotton candy first. I think my reaction was R-rated but in the retelling of this story, let’s just say I shouted “good grief!”
It’s an issue on many vegan blogs and one of the reasons behind the crazy-vegan stereotype that keeps many non-vegans away. “A great way to lead is by personal example, and that’s something we all can do. But insisting on perfection, in myself and others, is more likely to scare people away than bring them to the truth,” wrote Singleton.
3. Mike Tyson goes vegan and drops 100 pounds
Last year Mike Tyson went vegan and declared he was going to live a different life. A hundred pounds later he sat down with Oprah for an episode of “Oprah: Where are they now?” which aired this past Tuesday.
“Becoming a vegan gave me another opportunity to live a healthy life. I was so congested from all the drugs and bad cocaine, I could hardly breathe, [I had] high blood pressure, [was] almost dying [and had] arthritis. And once I became a vegan all that stuff diminished,” he said.
You can watch a clip from the show below.