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Monday, July 20, 2015

Humane Policies and their Outcome

It's blackberry season again. I am not a very assiduous picker of blackberries; my style is more opportunistic. So every time I go out for a walk, I come back with some fruit that is ripe and just happens to be handy.

A pear drops from a tree, and I pick it up. A few blackberries just shout at me that they need to be picked, and I comply. If I don't lose everything on the way when I am chasing butterflies, I usually have something to share with Bow when I get back.

Sometimes the blackberries are so few, they just tumble into Bow's mouth, and we wonder: where did they go? But the blackberry bushes have their own plans, and their provisioning of the wildlife is not just a matter of free food for the masses: it is all about reproducing the blackberry kind.

There is a natural ebb and flow in the life of any species; its reproductive cycle. There is a time to sow and a time to reap, and every generation has its place. I can see this when I look at the purple milkweed seed pods which are now making ready for next year's crop of milkweed plants.

Sometimes we don't want to allow a species to reproduce and to prosper, and so we do things to interfere with its life cycle. That's what I am planning for the kitten.

Rather than killing it, which would be horribly cruel to the individual kitten, I am planning to spay it. But did you know that the "humane" plan is the one that spells death to the species, whereas the cruel plan has a way to revitalize it? It's called killing with kindness.

In Australia at the moment, the authorities are planning a mass extermination of feral cats.

Plan to Cull Two Million Feral Cats in Australia

This is an outright plan for genocide, but believe it or not, despite the horrors for all the cats who will die, this is better for the cat species than to round them all up, spay and neuter, and then let them go. Why? Because no two cats are alike, and not all of them are going to fall for the poison. The ones who will avoid getting killed are going to be smarter and better evolved to live in a treacherous environment. They may be harder to tame, too, because they will be aware of human cruelty, and so they will not allow themselves to be captured and de-sexed.

I know a little bit about avoiding genocide, as I am descended from people who did just that. It's not true that all individuals in a species or an ethnic subgroup are the same. Natural selection works best under dangerous conditions.

Throughout human history, we have tried to exterminate many species that we just don't like. Rats, lice, fleas, mice, cockroaches, various strains of bacteria, not to mention the pesky virus that we call the common cold. How has that worked for us, so far?

Every weapon we unleash against these natural enemies has found the next generation stronger and better able to cope with adversity. Animals -- and humans among them -- thrive under conditions that require skill in order to avoid extermination. Any weapon we devise, including antibiotics, eventually becomes useless as the creatures we are fighting evolve to cope with the new challenge.

The greatest danger to any species -- and to any ethnic subgroup -- is for their enemies to feed and to support and care for them while they see to it that they do not ever reproduce. That is what is being done to chimpanzees in America today in the sanctuaries in the name of humane treatment. If you think about it, the same thing may be happening to some human groups we know about.


  1. It sounds like the Australian person proposing the cat culls does hate cats. He can say he does not, but has he not considered that humans immigrating to Australia, people driving cars, flying planes, and many other activities also resulted in the death of native birds. This cat cull reminds me of these neighbors who hated cats so much, and they would go to animal control thirty miles away to obtain cat traps. Yes, animal control used tax payer dollars even back in the 70's to hand out free cat traps for anyone who wanted these. These wacko neighbors placed the traps in the national forest, and apparently some teenage boys not knowing what they were thought "score" and took said traps. What a lovely use of tax payer dollars.

    1. Hi, Julia. There is a lot of craziness in various government policies, including the one you just described. While I am not exactly a cat lover myself, I have serious concerns about the Australian policy, as poison can end up affecting unintended targets. It does not seem like a smart policy. But it may have as a consequence a resurgence of the cat population in a much stronger form. Things like this have an enormous potential to backfire.

  2. What if the native birds it the poisoned food? You know I figured out some birds were visiting my backyard because I had left out Irina's food when she was sitting there one day. So if birds eat regular cat food, I would imagine they would also eat poisoned bait left out. Also, I doubt this cull, as much as it hurts me personally because I love cats, will even put a dent in a feral cat population. Cats are pretty good at hiding. It will probably just be a waste of tax payer dollars, kind of like when our local government hired a firm to spray the fragrant and beautiful Scotch broom plants, just because these were not indigenous to California. Well the plants came back the next years, so that worked really well. Personally, I do not support animal culls. But I am not in Australia, so I guess this is up for their people to decide if it is a policy that is the best use of their time and money.

  3. Yes, I agree. The blue jays around here sometimes end up finishing Brownie's dog food. That is a valid point about the birds. And yes, cats are pretty smart. They will not all fall for the bait. But as you say, it's in Australia, and it is not really our call.