There has been a lot of animal news recently. The ongoing removal of tigers, living and dead – both whole and in body parts – from the ‘Tiger Temple’ in Thailand is yet another reminder to travellers to please not support the ‘animals as entertainment’ industry.
Crocodiles and sharks continue to do what comes naturally to them. In turn, with the killing of Harambe the gorilla, humans did what comes naturally to us, which is to look after ourselves and our own kind first… especially when there is a high risk of being sued!
People like saying ‘life is precious’, but they usually don’t really mean it. Otherwise they wouldn’t support the premature termination of precious lives by buying bits of dead animals.
We often don’t even mean human lives are precious, or we would do more to help our desperate brothers and sisters out there, instead of helping ourselves to another piece of chocolate cake . If you do believe in all human lives are precious, the children of Rafiki Mwema in Kenya would benefit greatly from your support.
If we’re honest, what most of us really mean is just our lives and a those of few individuals selected by us are precious. Which I guess is quite a natural way for the apex predator to think.
Just looking at the way existence plays fast and loose with lives, it certainly is hard to see any evidence that life is objectively precious at all…
Subjectively, of course, is a different matter.
Nature is certainly not kind, but fortunately humans can choose to be.
Survival of the fittest has created a natural world that is full of traps for players of all ages. Most of us know better than to pick strange fungi and eat them, but who would have thought that grass could be a lethal killer?
Last week I wrote about the sickness affecting kangaroos in our local area. A professional autopsy has since shown it to be the result of chronic phalaris toxicity – poisoning caused by naturally present alkaloids in a common pasture grass. Since the finding we have spoken to a number of people and have found the problem to be quite widespread, as is the grass. It is also affecting some lambs. This year it may be particularly bad because of the long dry spell followed by rapid growth after good autumn rains.
Farmers can in many ways control what their livestock eats, but kangaroos range and graze widely. By the time they are showing signs of toxicity, it is probably already too late to help them. (See video of a strongly affected eastern grey kangaroo here.)
Sometimes it is hard to know how best to be kind. I think I would like someone to euthanase me if I was in that state, but other people might answer differently…especially people who truly do believe that life quantity (regardless of quality) is precious.
To euthanase or not euthanase? That is the question.
In the case of chronic phalaris toxicity in kangaroos, this may be the kindest option available. It is illegal to kill a kangaroo without permission so please contact a local wildlife carer or the government department responsible for wildlife for further help. (In Victoria, it is DELWP).
One lucky thing for animals is that euthanasia is an option available to them.
Why can’t humans be given the same option?
We defend the concept of ‘freedom’ yet still put up with the government denying us even the basic the right to end our own lives on our own terms. Why?