In which I’m a vegetarian, but not an idiot.
Click on the image below for a really great #longread about zoo animal management, that really makes you wonder how anybody can get so fucking freaked out and upset about professionals doing their jobs.
Professionals. Experts. People who know way more than you do about managing animals. (It’s especially, uh, poignant, when considering that these same “protesters” probably had factory-slaughtered dead animal on their plate at their most recent meal.)
Go read it. They take animals they were going to cull anyway, and turn them into science lectures. It’s fucking great, is what it is, rather than hiding the facts of life to placate a ridiculously emotional populace.
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Back now? Good. Great read, wasn’t it? Real reporting. Balanced and neutral. Loved it.
Well, if you care, which you shouldn’t, here’s my hippie, vegetarian, pacifist rant:
Billions of perfectly healthy, viable animals are killed every year to fill plates. And how many death threats does that generate? A few, I’m sure, but nothing like Harambe, or that dentist and his lion, or this giraffe.
Everything dies, people. Everything. I put my dog down after she’d had a few dozen heart attacks to save her more suffering; this zoo put down an extra male — and then used him for education and lion food — to save him being savaged by other male giraffes and for the ultimate genetic diversity of the herd.
Like most of us, he was neither special nor rare. The zoo declined to rehome him because the outcry was fucking absurd and they refused to buckle… and to avoid “what Holst likes to call the ‘Disneyfication’ of nature.” I applaud.
“An editorial in the Los Angeles Times argued that Copenhagen had broken an “inviolate if unwritten contract” prohibiting the killing of zoo animals.”
What the fuck? One, the LA Times knows shit about zoo management, and two, there’s no such ‘contract;’ anybody managing animals at an expert level culls. And if you’re, say, a backyard chicken-keeper who is too squeamish to cull, well, nature culls for you. Usually after the animal has suffered more than it would have had you manned up and killed it. I once let a terminally savaged duck die slowly under a tree, bleeding and broken and in horrific condition after a dog attack, because I was too much of a pussy to put her out of her misery. I still regret it.
“Denmark’s largest pig slaughterhouse is open to the public, and a hundred and fifty visitors tour it each day.” I can’t even imagine what would happen if some American city kids were bused to a slaughterhouse for an educational field day; the press would probably explode! CHILDREN EXPOSED TO REALITY, the headline would read. SOME ATROCIOUS ASSHOLE SHOWED THEM WHERE THEIR FOOD COMES FROM. COMPLETELY HYSTERICAL FILM AT ELEVEN.
American zoos freqently “send surplus animals to roadside zoos,” where the level of care is unknown. Is that really better than just culling them? Sometimes, sure. Others? Fuck no. Caring well for animals, especially exotic animals, requires expertise. Merely thinking you love them is not expertise.
America’s folksy model is symbolized by Jack Hanna, the former director of the Columbus Zoo. He noted that he’d made six hundred television shows about wild animals and had never shown a kill. “There’s enough going on in the world — I don’t need to have a family with children sitting watching a lion take an animal apart.”
How is this anything but bullshit? Animals kill and eat other animals. Humans kill and eat animals. This is a fact. Pretending otherwise is weird.
And this little gem:
Tom Stalf, Hanna’s successor at Columbus, suggested to me that the children who viewed the autopsy at the Copenhagen Zoo “might be horrified but unaware of it.” He said that they might realize their distress only in middle age.
The fuck? They eat chicken nuggets for lunch, and seeing an animal autopsy will cripple them for life? If it does, we’ve utterly failed to teach them rationality.
I was disgusted at frog dissection in school; I’m still squeamish handling the meat I cook for others because I see it as body parts rather than food; I’ve turned away from kill scenes in animal shows. But I know that my feelings don’t alter the reality, which is that animals die and others eat them. I also know that humane animal handlers cull. (My aunt, who is the softest of softies, will have her vet come out to put down a horse in terminal distress, because that’s what ranchers do. It makes her cry, but she does it anyway. Because she’s not a cunt.)
We have a touring museum show that is nothing but human bodies. If you see that, will you be “distressed” for life because you find reality unpalatable?
“Asked several times if culling occurs in American zoos, Rob Vernon, a spokesman for AZA, said, variously, “No,” “Yes,” and “That’s a good question.” He made the candid observation that his own discomfort reflected the industry’s discomfort.”
American zoos do cull. They’d be remiss if they didn’t. And yet, in American zoos, the preferred term for culling is “humane euthanization.”
Because we’re pussies, apparently, in spite of our Wild West ancestors.
I mean, shit, human beings in multiple enclaves world-wide are fighting for the right to euthanize themselves. Everything dies. Killing an unnecessary animal, or a food animal, or a suffering pet: it’s unbeautiful, yes, but it’s a fact of life.
Pretending otherwise is ridiculous.