Tuesday, May 20, 2008

At War With Wildlife

Sometimes I wonder if humans are capable of thoughtful interaction with each and other species. Americans seem to think the answer to just about every problem can be found at the end of a shotgun. My neighbors see a raccoon and get the gun out and blast the poor critter. Forget opossums, they do not stand a chance, people shoot them on sight, for no reason whatsoever. Not too long ago I heard beagles being hunted at night and they obviously treed some poor creature for the brave human at the end of the gun. The next day ran into the DNR officer and asked what someone was doing hunting at night. The reply was coons, they are vermin and we encourage hunters to hunt them. Of course I noticed the DNR Suburban, painted with lovely scenes to encourage African Americans, women and children to hunt.

Any wildlife that makes the mistake of wandering into a populated area will be blasted. Most of the time, the police take charge of the situation. You've seen the television coverage. Multiple police officers running amok with guns drawn, looking for the wandering bear, mountain lion, dear or occasional steer. You know the cops are getting off on the chance to kill something, draw blood. If not they would call in the experts with the tranquilizers. But we need to kill what we don't understand, what we fear.

If we are squeamish and not able to kill ourselves, then we just live trap the offending wild animal and drive to our local animal shelter. The shelter is more than happy to take care of the problem, the animal will be killed, not released to some mythical forest on the northern end of the county. Michigan shelters kill thousands and thousands of healthy wild animals every year.

Last week, a Battle Creek Michigan police officer, shot and killed a black bear in cold blood. The bear was wandering a neighborhood late at night. The cop, who always wanted to go bear hunting, didn't call for help from the zoo, from trappers, from a bear expert, he drew his weapon and shot the defenseless creature dead right there in the street. What a manly man he is.

The natural world, the one that we depend on for our own lives, is under assault by our selfish behavior. The senseless killing of wildlife is a symptom of humanity without compassion or conscience. Why can we not recognize the value of all life? Why must we eliminate the different? Why must our fear lead to destruction? Before you pick up that gun or otherwise plot to murder an animal, step back, consider, think, contemplate, question why are you destroying another life. If you actually contemplate your actions, you will quickly see there is nothing to be proud of when you take innocent lives.

Black Bear Story from WZZM13 TV

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