NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Taming Animal Rights Activists

July 24, 1996

U.S. animal rights activists are on a crusade, not only to hinder medical research by denying scientists the right to use animals in research, but also to eliminate the killing of wildlife in Africa.

Having endangered scientific research programs here, they are out to deny a source of livelihood to many poor African villagers.

  • Twenty-nine of the world's 36 poorest countries are African -- with an estimated 150 million to 325 million Africans earning less than $1 a day.
  • Yet in Zimbabwe, revenues from a sport hunting program has built several health clinics in rural villages and generated millions of dollars split among communities.
  • In one village, each of the approximately 120 households earned $450 by selling their legal hunting rights to a safari operator, whose clients paid him for the privilege of hunting elephants nearby.

Statistics from Kenya point out just how deadly elephants can be.

  • At least 358 Kenyans have died as a result of elephant-human clashes since 1990.
  • In some districts elephants reportedly kill more people who are protecting their own crops than poachers kill elephants.
  • Experts say that if landowners can't make money from wildlife, they will wipe it out.

Kenya did what animal rights activists proposed: they banned all hunting in 1977. But Zimbabwe granted proprietorship over wildlife to landowners in 1982 and allows hunting.

The result?

  • Between 1970 and 1989, Kenya's elephant population plunged from 167,000 to 16,000.
  • But in Zimbabwe, the population increased from less than 40,000 to more than 50,000 since 1982.

Source: Ike C. Sugg (Competitive Enterprise Institute), "Selling Hunting Rights Saves Animals," Wall Street Journal, July 24, 1996.


Browse more articles on Environment Issues