Blatant Speciesism

5 Jun

I remember, at certain times throughout my life, hearing people talk about “pest” issues and rodent “problems”. I remember specifically a few years ago people complaining about deer and moose becoming a major “problem” on the highways. I remember recently thinking that this was all very strange since, after all, we’re the ones destroying their homes to make room for our own.  They were well established and thriving without any unnatural worries before we came along and declared the world and everything in it as our own.

Now I’m obviously not saying that we shouldn’t have started building roads and houses and cities. I’m not even saying we shouldn’t take measures to decrease inconvenient incidents.We’ve installed fences along the highways with one-way gates; we’ve established strict rules regarding waste management to decrease wild animals in cities; we’ve offered a bounty on coyotes in Nova Scotia; we’ve–wait. What?

Yes. A bounty. $20 a pelt.

In the fall, headlines were made when a visiting musician in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia was killed by coyotes. Since then, there have been a few more non-fatal attacks. The general public became rather worried about aggressive coyotes and decided that something needed to be done. There were a number of options, but the Minister of Natural Resources decided to offer a subsidy to trappers for coyote pelts.

This blows my mind. Completely. Let’s think about what happens in bounty situations and the adaptations animals make to thrive in their environments. Trappers kill coyotes. Coyote population decreases. Coyotes start having more litters. Litters become larger. Coyote population increases. In fact, the government took these same measures back in the eighties and guess what–it didn’t work.

The kicker? The minister says this subsidy is not the same as a bounty. Why? Because the outlined intent is not to decrease the number of coyotes, but rather to make them more wary of humans. O.o

Immediate measures include public education, experts employed to catch particularly “dangerous” coyotes, and working with biologists who specialize in human-wildlife conflict. But apparently someone was feeling a little impulsive and Republican and, ya know, bang bang.

It is estimated that the boun–er, subsidy could decrease 8000-strong population of coyotes in Nova Scotia by approximately 50%. In whose mind is it okay to offer money for killing 4000 animals? Especially in a manner that has been proven ineffective in the past? Since when is it okay to kill someone for living in their home?

Speciesism isn’t something I talk about very often. When I do, I generally garner looks of disapproval that say “You crazy motherfuckin hippie.” And it’s not the issue I’m the most passionate about. Or even why I decided to become a vegetarian. But it really irks me when I hear people talking about the deer “problem” on the highway. I always want to retort with “Dude, we are the problem!” But this time I can’t not say something. I guess I just needed to vent. It pisses me off to no end.

It’s the same story we’ve seen a thousand times, really. As humans, we tend to consider ourselves gods and more deserving than any other creatures. Our defensive attitude often leads to rather offensive actions to eradicate anything that we deem to be a bit of a pain.

There is no animal in the world with more human blood on its hands than humans. But a bounty will fix that, right?


5 Responses to “Blatant Speciesism”

  1. LYDIA. :) June 5, 2010 at 7:14 pm #

    Meg, I’m glad you have the self-awareness and discernment to look at things critically. I don’t mean that to sound patronizing, but it’s refreshing to see a well-thought response to something rather than blind support or dismissal based on the source. Does that make sense? Here, it so often seems that things usually play out like this: The Democrats did it? Screw ’em. The Republicans did the same thing? All hail! Or reversed, but still, I really appreciate reading your thoughts on something your government did without sifting through blatant PRO/CON sentiments. Yeah.

    This makes me so sad. I guess I can proudly hop on the Crazy Motherfuckin’ Hippie Express because, to say exactly what you said, I don’t think it’s ever right to kill someone just for living in their own homes. I’ve been commuting this summer, and as the weather gets nicer and more people hit the highways for the mountain retreats, the amount of roadkill has been skyrocketing. I feel so sad every time I see their mangled corpses on the side of the road; I suppose that makes me the conductor of the CMHExpress. I still cringe when I drive past the scene of the bird + windshield incident. I feel so guilty about that. If we hadn’t made cars, that thing would still be alive. But I also really appreciate the function of my car. So, it’s a bit of a sticky situation.

    I mean, I certainly don’t want to go all Timothy Treadwell, but I do feel the need to respect the environment and her natural inhabitants. And also the need to write you a novel-length comment, apparently.

    • megnorris June 5, 2010 at 7:31 pm #

      I love your novel-length comment! Made seemingly even longer due to reading it on the worpress app instead of my computer screen 😛
      Also, I’m glad there are people like you who understand and appreciate critical thinking 🙂
      As bad as it might sound, I almost (but not quite) the same seeing roadkill and hearing about a fallen soldier. And I don’t mean I feel the same amount of sadness, I mean I feel as though it’s the inevitable result of human greed/decision in both cases. And now I’m going to stop “audibly” walking the maze that is my brain.

  2. Sam June 5, 2010 at 10:42 pm #

    Well as someone who is a vegetarian partly because of the issue of animal rights I find myself in an interesting position. lets see where this strem of concousness leads us: In the case of the coyotes the bounty does seem like a knee jerk reaction to a percieved problem. Are humans better or more worthy than animals?It depends on how you quantify it. There are some things that animals do that make humans look very average indeed. On the other hand animals have not invented the wheel, build New York, Discovered the germ theory of disease that sort of thing. Do we have bigger claim to the world than they do? No. Do they have a bigger claim than we do? No. Animals like humans and all they do are products of nature, Thats why unatural is a misleading term but more on that another time. I’m willing to entertain the notion that we are not the most important ceature on this planet but regardless I feel even if we do on the face of it conclude that we are the paragon of evolution on this planet it doesn’t give us the right to arbitraryly enforce our will on lower animals. Road kill is an unfortunate side effect of having roads. We as humans will not (and CANNOT) stop using roads because too much of our basic needs are supplied by them. I don’t disagree with people who hunt and kill animals to survive and feed themselves. But when there is a level of arrogance and scorn over the top of what people do that I get annoyed. Animals are not the problem. Humans for the most part are not the problem. Its just the attitude of some that is a bit skewed.

    • megnorris June 6, 2010 at 1:11 am #

      I appreciate very much that our views are compatible, yet not entirely the same. It’s what makes life interesting. xx

  3. Chelsea July 1, 2010 at 8:57 pm #

    “There is no animal in the world with more human blood on its hands than humans. But a bounty will fix that, right?”

    THAT should be PETA’s new slogan. not… whatever it is. i don’t follow PETA.

    point is, i wish people would think more like that more often. stop putting humans as the most important species. :/

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