For my regular visitors, if you find that this blog hasn't been updating much lately, chances are pretty good I've been spending my writing energy on my companion blog. Feel free to pop over to Home is Where the Central Cardio-pulmonary Organ Is, and see what else has been going on.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

more interfering celebs.

Well, it was no surprise to see yet another star putting in her two cents, Pamela Anderson. At least she's a Canadian, though she hasn't lived here in ages. This quote is the one that gets me...

"As a proud Canadian who frequently travels abroad, I am alarmed that people are starting to see Canada as a country more beholden to a pack of greedy hunters and to the seal-skin 'fashion' whims of a few countries than to the massive international outcry against the hunt," Anderson, a vocal member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said in a letter faxed to Harper's office.

I can't say anything about the fashion whims of other nations, but the use of the term "greedy hunters" is what bothers me. Greedy? Only a person who has no idea what it's like to make a subsistance living can make that sort of claim. It's another example of people protesting when they really have no idea what they are talking about. Mind you, I wouldn't expect a member of PETA to even care to find out, since their goal seems to be the elimination of humans anyways.

I do understand that a lot of people who protest things like the seal hunt and other forms of hunting do mean well. If I had the knowledge they have, I'd probably feel the same way. As I mentioned in my previous post, however, I have more information available to me. Here's one example.

My sister and her husband are farmers. They used to run a dairy farm (they've since switched to beef). They grew most of their own feed, pastured their own animals, rotating their fields on a regular basis to ensure the land was never overtaxed by crops or grazing. They have extensive acreage that includes quite a lot of bush, just like all the farms surrounding them. There's lots of wildlife.

For years, my BIL (like many other farmers in the area) maintained a trap line for coyotes. The coyote population wasn't really that excessive at the time, and they tended to be solitary animals. It was rare to see them in packs. Meanwhile, the furs brought in a bit of extra income, and what farmer in Canada can't use some extra income?

People who were against the trapping of these animals successfully lobbied the municipality to ban trapping. These people meant well, of course. Trapping can be a painful way to die, though it's a relative thing. Wild animals don't usually die of old age, after all - they are usually killed by other animals, or by starvation and disease. Still, these people meant well. Unfortunately, they also forgot one important detail.

People are part of the balance of nature, too.

Within a surprisingly short time, the numbers of coyotes skyrocketed, and their behaviour changed dramatically. Suddenly, there were packs of coyotes everywhere. A solitary coyote will hunt smaller animals - rabbits, raccoons, etc. A pack, however, will hunt larger game, such as deer. That doesn't mean they're always successful, however. Farmers began finding the remains of deer that had obviously gotten away from the packs and dies much later of grevious wounds. The packs also started going after much easier game - cattle. The cows, after all, are fenced in and can't really get away. To a beef or dairy farmer, the well being of their cattle is paramount. Their livelihood depends on them. Other domestic animals were endangered as well, as were the children living on these farms.

Soon, the municipality was forced to admit that banning the trap lines was a mistake and reinstated them. My BIL, frustrated by such actions, never did start up again. Instead, he "sold" his line to a local Native who maintained several trap lines in the area. Before long, balance was restored. The coyote population returned to sustainable levels, and once again became mostly solitary animals that kept other populations (the rabbits and the raccoons, again), in check.

This incident reminded me once again of the detail so many seem to either ignore or forget. While it's certainly true we humans cause problems and should behave more responsibly, we are still part of the equation - a vital part of the balance of nature. Extreme groups like PETA would have us believe that getting rid of humans would solve all the world's problems, forgetting that we too play our part in the earth's balancing act.


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