Who knew? Property rights protect the environment?


Something to put into our "Cor, Blimey, I never knew that Guv'" files.

As the hunting industry has grown, so have the numbers of large game animals that populate South Africa’s grasslands. In other parts of Africa, including Kenya and Tanzania, the opposite has been true: Large mammal populations have been decimated as farms and other human activities encroached on wild areas. But South Africa is one of only two countries on the continent to allow ownership of wild animals, giving farmers such as York an incentive to switch from raising cattle to breeding big game. ‘‘My first priority is to generate an income from the animals on my land, but conservation is a by-product of what I do,” York says.

Or perhaps this should be in our file marked "Blindingly obvious things that everyone should know".

The way to make human beings preserve something is to make the preservation of that something valuable to said human beings. If people are allowed to own the big game on their property, and also to monetise that ownership, then there will be more big game in those places that allow such practices. Thus, if you desire that there should be more big game you should support private property and the hunting of it.

After all, the private ownership of cows by farmers has not created a shortage of cows, has it?

And this speaks to that problem over elephants too, does it not? Elephants are valued for their ivory. Currently it is not legal to trade in ivory: meaning that elephants have no value except to those who will and do flout the law on ivory trading. Allowing ivory to be bought and sold would lead to the farming of elephants for their ivory. And thus more elephants.

So, what do people want? The moral purity of not allowing ivory to be sold or more elephants?