Running Head: SAVE THE ELEPHANTS 1 Save The Elephants California Polytechnic State University Pomona Spring AG 401.08 D. Farias
SAVE THE ELEPHANTS 2 Introduction Elephants, one of the world's most majestic animals in today's society faces extinction; primary due to the China's market forces, forcing the value of ivory through the roof, to the price values that was once reserved for the one of the most valuable commodity, gold. Unlike most "middle" class citizens around the world, China's middle class citizens have quite the strong purchasing power. Due to the booming of China's middle class, consumer demands are at its peak, and the desire for ivory is at it's all time high. Because recently acquired ivory can be sold legally in China, and due to its popularity, about 80 percent of the middle class citizens in China now owns at least one or two pieces on this white gold; shockingly, according to National Geographic Battle For The Elephant (2013) "and further, some 84 percent say, they intend to buy ivory in the future." Ethical Egoism The primary reason for ivory dealers and traders to continue bartering is rather simple; The dealers and traders look at the ivories as if are cold hard cash. Since there are such a high demand for ivories, dealers and traders alike can't wait to get their hands on whatever supplies they can, and turn it straight into cash, despite any risk that may occur. The moral reasoning behind this business is when balancing self-interest against another, self-interest often weighs more. There is really no moral duty at all except to do what is best for themselves, survival of the fittest. As for the hunters and poachers, it is exactly the same. These elephant ivory hunters and poachers do what they do exclusively for money. Greed could definitely play a role in justifying their actions; however, at the end of the day it still comes down to self-interest: "The idea that each person ought to pursue their self interests exclusively." (Farias, 2012b, p. 4)
SAVE THE ELEPHANTS 3 The ethics behind Tanzania's decision not to burn their stockpile of ivory is purely out of self-interest. During the documentary film, journalist Aidan Hartley talks with the Tanzania officials, their attitude seems somewhat uncouth, and the reasoning for not burning the ivory was that the sales of ivory would help their nation with conservation efforts, burning it would be an errand for the foolish; which subtly translates to their sole interest in money. Further-more, during this segment of the documentary the officials also agreed to give Aidan a tour to their vault of stockpiled ivory. Aidan cunningly proposed the idea if enough money was given to Tanzania, would they burn the ivories; they immediately changed their attitude and agreed that they would. This further demonstrates their self desire and interest in money; however, this could all very well be the byproduct of corruption within this impoverished nation. Needless to say,
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