Meat of the matter

 
Published: Friday 15 October 2004

-- (Credit: EMKAY)After dolphin-friendly tuna now we have cheetah-friendly beef. The Cheetah Conservation Fund (ccf), a supposedly conservation-oriented group, has begun hardselling this product from Namibia; it is poised to enter the European Union.

On the face of it, cheetah-friendly beef is an attempt to popularise non-violent options of protecting livestock. Beef makes up for a large portion of the foreign trade revenues for Namibia. But ranchers in Namibia often come into conflict with the 3,000 odd cheetahs roaming the dry grasslands of the country. Conservation groups have often complained that the ranchers use violent methods to protect their livestock, consequently threatening the cheetah population.

In the past, the West has tried to control trade in the name of 'protecting' charismatic wildlife. Only time will tell if ccf's latest venture is any different.

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