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Sonoma County Gazette
Mama Kodiak Bear with her cubs in Alaska

OPINION: Who is the Animal?

Apr 20, 2017
by Katy Byrne


Humans are busy trying to take over other populations. It includes the animal kingdom.

People seem to have become even more destructive in this age. Not to bring you down, but we have to stay aware.

Hunters are going into caves in Alaska when mother bears and cubs are asleep to kill them. Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, said the repeal of the Alaska Wildlife Management Rule (February 2017*) would allow “the worst wildlife management practices introduced in the last century,” including shooting hibernating bears with their cubs; using airplanes to scout and shoot grizzly bears; and baiting and trapping bears with steel-jawed, leg-hold traps and wire snares.

Oh, I know all the arguments: population control, “good meat,” and trophies over the fireplace. Seriously? Killing for a trophy is population control? Really? I ask, why would we cause more suffering when we might research kinder ways to “balance nature?”

With all the money we’re already losing and spending on building walls and wars couldn’t we just find a kinder way to take care of the voiceless ones?

Is this the world we want to pass on to our kids?

A few examples are: Pedals, the standing bear who had his own Facebook fan page was so wildly loved, but killed by an arrow in a New Jersey bow hunt. 

So, what’s going on with humans? When will we have a civilization that’s civil? Research shows that neglecting or abusing animals is often an indicator or predictor of other kinds of crimes. (The Link Coalition.) In other words, people who hurt animals often harm people. Children exposed to domestic violence are three times more likely to be cruel to animals and children who witness animal abuse are at a greater risk of becoming abusers. Up to 75% of domestic violence victims report that their partners threatened or killed family pets. 50% of school shooters have histories of animal cruelty. So, can we just stop it?

This year again, Bison were “culled,” (don’t you love this doublespeak - we wouldn’t want to say “murdered”) at Yellowstone Park. Really?

So, could humans have too much anger and anxiety pent up and need to release it by pointing something at innocent beings? Seals bludgeoned year after year in slow deaths? What does this show the kids? Besides the atrocities and detective shows they see on TV?

Let’s just stop it. Instead of Nike’s old adage about tennis shoes, “Just do it,” let’s start a T-shirt rage called, “Just Stop It.”

Not to depress those of you who care - on an up note - the NYPD offers rewards for reports of animal cruelty! And heavier penalties for animal abuse are on the horizon. The ALDF in Cotati, California is offered a 5,000 reward to find persons who hit a cat’s chest with an arrow. Now, this is exciting news.

And nowadays in Spain, dog “owners” who do not pick up their dog’s poop- will be fined…or will have to do street cleaning! Human beings keep fooling around with crap, but there’s movement in more ways than one.

So, what will motivate us to protect and make safe this world for people and animals? Maybe it’s some motivation that we now know we can get cancer from eating some meat. And even “cage free” birds don’t mean the egg is good. So, which is it? The chicken or the egg?

The bad news? The average American is responsible for the deaths of approximately 2,500 chickens over his lifetime. And now we might die from eating them. There is enormous suffering for many of these birds.

What to do? Take pictures when in doubt of possible abuse or neglect and inquire about how to help with your local animal control.

A happy example is “The Black Mambas” – a group of women in Africa who joined together to become an anti-poaching unit with zero tolerance for hurting Rhino’s. “Since forming this brave community, there has been a “76% reduction in snaring and poaching within their area.” (British Guardian, 4/16).

Our local organization: ADLF, Animal Legal Defense Organization in Cotati, Ca. does a huge and hard job advocating for animals that are profoundly important. Please send your inquiries or donations to:

Repeal Alaska Wildlife Regulation Management Bill

There is a petition started by an Animal Legal Defense Fund contract attorney who used USDA records to go after puppy mills and save endangered species at Cricket Hollow Zoo. People can also go to their website where they can find more information about ongoing efforts in this case and donate to help in those efforts.


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