Dozing polar bear, Indianapolis Zoo

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Endangered Species Thursday: The ends don't always justify the means

Thank goodness for the people who actually read this blog and send me things. I've been slapping myself silly this week trying to get images ready to submit to my stock agency, finish a project for the day job, get ready to go to Montana this weekend, finish some sewing I'm doing for Christmas, and a lot of other things you don't give the tiniest shit about.

But this means I haven't had much time to read the stuff that interests me on the internet and then share it with all of you -- you know, cheery stuff like turtles choking on plastic bags, the innumerable species on the brink of annihilation, and people who commit ugly acts against animals in supposed defense of those same species.

Michael, sender of all things good, is a cat-lover, and was appalled by this story. Me too. Apparently, a guy on the Gulf Coast is accused of shooting and killing a cat he claims was preying on endangered plovers in an area where he regularly leads bird-watching tours.

This has, of course, pitted bird lovers and cat lovers against one another, and the conflict has become somewhat ferocious. But why the binary thinking? Yes, of course feral cats preying on endangered birds is a problem. No, unilaterally shooting them is not an appropriate response to that very real problem.

One of the issues in this case is, no doubt, that the accused is being tried under a law where it's frankly a stretch for the prosecution. (Lawyerly Disclaimer: I am not a Texas lawyer and I don't know all the facts of this case.) It would have been a better use of government resources to round up and care for the feral cats in this area than it would have been to put this man on trial.

It's an ugly case. Look, I know how desperately depressing species loss is. But don't lose your head, people. Let's think of solutions that don't involve bloodshed. It's like that old joke: What do you do if you see an endangered animal eating an endangered plant?*

Well, damn sure you don't blow it away with a 22-caliber rifle, pally. Feh.

*Yes, I know domesticated house cats are not endangered. You still shouldn't shoot them.


kris said...

I am scratching my head on this one - too many "what the..."'s to even come up with a comment.

sasha said...

I'm glad you're here for lots of reasons! I would like to see proof of this so-called Christmas sewing.

Kristy said...

Well, what do you do if you see an endangered animal eating an endangered plant? Break into a chorus of "Circle of Life"? Or rattle a bowl of Purina Endangered Animal Chow and say, "Here, fella! Try this instead," ? I'm stumped.

But I don't approve of shooting cats. Even when the cat pee on the bed is clearly some sort of assisted suicide plea on their part. No.

Trailhead said...

Cat pee on the bed? Kristy, meet Sasha. Sasha, meet Kristy.

This is either a more common problem than I thought or you two have the only cats in America wondering why the humans won't stop sleeping in their litter box.

Trailhead said...

Damn it, screwed up the link to Kristy.