Tough questions

Prompted by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species meeting.

. . . the trade in species is staggering. Between 1998 and 2007, 130,000 butterflies, 73,000 exotic fish, one million birds, 16 million seahorses, 17 million reptiles, and 18 million bits of coral, mostly from Southeast Asia, according to CITES data.

How many of us, though, have thirsted for “tiger wine” from ground-up bones, or experienced the benefits of bear bile extracted from live, captive animals?

How can the regulators of the world cope with the Internet, which has become the supermarket of imperilled species, 70 per cent of the trade U.S.-based? Must customs officers be issued DNA kits at every border?

And how do we renounce that peculiarly Christian idea, that all creatures, great and small, were put on earth for us to use, and waste, as we see fit?

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