Animal, Crackers

Votes for monkeys!

Since the dawn of history, mankind has been been interested in animals, particularly mammals.  Sometimes it's for food, other times for muscle power; but dozens of creatures are beloved of human beings simply because they're appealing in some way.  Humans caring about animals is generally healthy; we ought to be good stewards of the world we live in and offer due consideration the beasts we share it with.

The troubles arise when a wise concern for the well-being of animals metastasizes into what amounts to a worship of animals over the needs of human beings.  The most extreme groups, such as the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and People for the Ethical treatment of Animals (PETA) perpetrate and support terrorism "on behalf of the animals."  If innocent human beings are hurt or killed, well, what's one human soul against 100 liberated weasels or whatever?

You don't have to murder people directly to cause them harm on behalf of "the animals."  We've noted before how environmental extremists plan to use the recent listing of polar bears as "endangered" as a weapon against any form of "polluting" human activity - in other words, all human activity.  This ridiculous and wrongful "endangered" listing was put in place despite the fact that scientists have proven that the population of polar bears has more than doubled over the last forty years.  If a species is truly in danger of extinction, you'd expect to find fewer and fewer of them, not more and more.

The State of Alaska has noted this.  The Wall Street Journal of August 6 reported on p. A1, "Alaska sued the U.S., saying its listing of polar bears as a threatened species will hurt oil exploration and tourism."  Listing various animals as endangered attacks human activity, but Alaska would like to have more human activity, not less.

Alas, such nuttery is becoming more and more common.  News reaches us from across the pond that Spain's parliament has granted human rights to great apes.  Does this mean that the zookeepers must read them Miranda warnings before incarcerating them?

The government is now committed to update the statute book within a year to outlaw harmful experiments on apes in Spain... Keeping apes for circuses, television commercials or filming will also be forbidden and breaking the new laws will become an offence under Spain's penal code.

There are only two things this will accomplish, neither of them good.  The less important is that Spain is now out of the running for hosting the next Tarzan remake and that Spanish children will have to go to Portugal or France to see a circus ape.  Far more serious is the effect this nonsense will have on undermining the very idea of what rights are.

In order to possess rights, you have to be able to understand your rights and to realize that you need to extend your rights to others.  The insane do not have the same right to freedom as the sane because they do not comprehend their obligations regarding looking out for everyone else.

It's also why, until recently, parents had a great deal of authority over their children: adults understood that kids have not yet developed the understanding of the rights, privileges, and obligations of a functioning society that are required to freely operate in society.  Children need someone to guide them and teach them.  Alas, we seem to have a whole lot of "adults" today who never quite got a grip on this point.

But enough monkeying around.  The rules of political karma dictate that when politicians do something this stupid, news will arise from elsewhere to underscore just how dumb they are.  Sure enough, CNN reports:

An estimated 125,000 Western lowland gorillas are living in a swamp in equatorial Africa, researchers reported Tuesday, double the number of the endangered primates thought to survive worldwide... The last census on the species, carried out during the 1980s, estimated that there were only 100,000 of the gorillas left worldwide. Since then, the researchers estimated, the numbers had been cut in half.

Let's do the math here.  Last time anyone tried to count, a quarter century ago, they calculated 100,000 gorillas.  More recently, they'd guessed half of them were gone, leaving 50,000.  Now they find 125,000 of them, more than twice as many as they thought were in the whole world, living in just one swamp.

It's no surprise that those who make a living getting grant money to protect endangered animals aren't gong to admit that the gorillas have been doing quite well without help from do-gooders.  The Wall Street Journal of August 6 reported on p. A10, "Craig Stanford, a professor of anthropology and biology at the University of Southern California, said that the new census is important but doesn't mean gorilla numbers in the wild are safe."

What level of population increase would make gorillas safe enough not to need tax money to protect them?  The Professor doesn't say.

We have no desire to see any species go extinct; we would like to see a real live dodo just as much as you, instead of the sorry imitation currently serving as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.  Just as the "science" behind global warming does not even remotely justify destroying our economy, we should not put unreasonable burdens on private citizens and private businesses because of scientists who cannot count - or, worse, don't much care what the count is when it doesn't fit their grant requests.

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other articles by Petrarch or other articles on Environment.
Reader Comments
I believe that the article misses a very important part of this argument: 'Protection' can and often does do harm to animals. When I started hunting when I was around five or six (twenty years ago) there were a number of ducks that were illegal to shoot. The redhead and the canvas back being the two that I can think of.

Today both are legal to hunt, still in only very restricted numbers. Not only that but the number of birds you can shoot as gone up dramatically over the years. Because the bird population has become incredibly large. The reason isn't governmental protection directly (although it is important that there is a bird limit that is enforced) it is instead because there are many hunters out there that want the bird population to grow so they can shoot more. That means they put there money where their mouth is providing numerous areas all over the country that are great duck and goose habitat.

Instead of simply protecting animals agencies should, whenever possible given the animal, say that once the animal has reach a population of X in the wild that it will be legal, at least in some limited way, to hunt them. Not enough wolves in America, once the population reach 5,000 there will be 50 licenses issued each year. I'm willing to bet some rich hunters would become more than happy to buy some land and make sure that it is decent wolf habitat.

Instead, at the moment, any one that lives near wolf territory wants the animals gone. Making both humans and animals 'happy' is the best possible way to successfully save animals, because then people, every day average people, will help protect them instead of quietly killing them and hiding the bodies.
August 18, 2008 8:06 PM
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