#3. The Asian Rhinoceros Makes a Great Placebo
You know all about this one, right? Rhino horns are used in traditional Chinese medicine; it is pretty much the basis for westerner's views on the subject. And most of us think that throngs of Chinese men are downing ground up rhino horn to get their dongs hard or get "women in the mood." Turns out we are wrong, but the truth is no less retarded. It seems that the Chinese prescribe ground rhino horn to prevent fevers and convulsions. Their medical industry is, in hindsight, largely rhino horn-oriented.
While it has no known healing properties, rhino horns are a well known cause of pants-shitting.
Clearly lacking the advanced technology required to produce aspirin, a drug that has been in production since 1853, they feel the need to rely on what essentially amounts to a giant finger nail growing on a large land mammal's face.
It seems that rhinoceros horn is made of of keratin, the same stuff your hair and fingernails are made of, so if for some reason it actually did work (it doesn't) to prevent fevers and convulsions, they could skip the whole "we have only 1000 of these things left to harvest" aspect and just harness the hair and fingernails of the over one billion fucking Chinese people.
As mentioned, the fevers can be reduced with aspirin, or Tylenol. Convulsions are a bit trickier, but there are nice synthetic drugs that don't have the horrible guilt of annihilating a species attached to them that do a much better job than rhino hair clippings.
#2. Tigers Are the Swiss Army Knives of Chinese Wildlife
If Walt Disney movies dating before the 90s are to be believed, tigers are ferocious assholes that want nothing more than to feast on sweet human flesh, preferably children. And to be honest, what predator worth its salt wouldn't want to eat humans? Unless armed with an assault rifle, mankind's only defense against these predators is running and shitting themselves. Or, as they do in India, wear a mask on the back of your head to scare them away, because, presumably, one of the world's most successful predators is just too big a wuss to attack someone from the front.
Shown with antelope too stupid to wear a party favor.
So what does this super predator have to fear from people? Oh, wait... They live in China, so everything.
China doesn't really play nice with most animals, but tigers, being masculine and powerful, are extra fucked. While most ancient medicines seem to have a rough logic to using animal parts as medicine (tiger penis works like Viagra), China has its own set of rules that takes even this shaky logic and views it through a kaleidoscope, while using hallucinogens.
They use tiger bile to cure convulsions in children. They use tiger blood for willpower and overall health, and tiger gall stones for weak eyes. They also utilize tiger fur, which seems to make sense until you hear what they're using it for.
No, the tiger fur isn't for badass pimp suits; it's to burn. To get rid of centipedes. Hey, when we said "retarded," we meant it.
Westerners are forced to rely on V-8 and healthy diets instead of cat blood, and we're forced to scrape by with glasses for our eye problems. Many of us might consider burning the rare and expensive hides of large Asian hunting cats for our bug problems, but we're sure a large number would simply settle for bug spray.
As you can see, everything you can kill a rare, exotic apex predator for can be accomplished without the horrific genocide and ingestion of disgusting body parts and fluids, though of course all the modern alternatives have the nasty side effect of actually working.
#1. Mountain Gorillas Make Awesome Souvenirs
Here at Cracked, we use the word "retarded" pretty wantonly. But every so often, we come across something so mind-bogglingly retarded, so utterly stupid, it defies comprehension. The poaching of mountain gorillas falls into this category. First off, gorillas are apparently popular as "bush meat," which is a blanket term for "endangered animals people like to eat because they are fucking assholes."
But again, bush meat ALMOST makes sense; we can at least grasp the concept of people enjoying food that's rare, forbidden and liberally spiced with evil. But no, with gorillas, things move beyond merely immoral into pure "What the FUCK?" territory. Gorillas are often being poached for their heads and hands. As souvenirs.
We almost can't joke about this. Almost. In Africa, they seem to have precious little in the way of noteworthy natural resources, aside from diamonds, emeralds and rain forests, so the people in nations that have mountain gorillas have taken to killing and dismembering them to sell their heads and hands as trinkets for tourists.
They hate that.
While in America, scientists were teaching Koko how to use sign language and giving her kittens, the Africans have been busy making sure her cousins never say a fucking word.
One of these. Just as trinkety, just as bullshitty, but nowhere near as bad for the gorilla population.
You can find more from David at Associated Content.
For more crazy things humans have done with animals, check out 7 Insane Military Attempts To Weaponize Animals. Or find out Swaim's thoughts on this whole extinction hoo-hah, in Extinction Is Only For Ugly Animals.
And stop by Cracked.com's Top Picks to see what we're looking at when not admiring our Elfin tree fern.