But does that mean that we have to like every animal out there?
Yeah right. Let me introduce you to minks. Minks, for those of you who don't know, are murderous beady-eyed devils. They make seriously foul messes wherever they go. Their stench could deactivate the magnetic strip on a credit card. And they kill chickens.
And yesterday, they killed my chickens. In characteristically brutal fashion.
|The Chickens, 2010-2011 (barely)|
They did it for mink funsies.
Yep - by all appearances, the mink killed them for the fun of it. Didn't even eat the chickens. Just killed them, probably had a giggle fit, and left. Now I'm not naive when it comes to the ways of animals, or to the tenuous grip that chickens have on life even in the best of times. I've lived almost all of my life in the country, and I've had chickens killed by dogs, possums, etc. That's just the way things go. But the mink attack was different. This was carnage.
My initial reaction was one of rage. Rage against the minks. If I could have done so, I probably would have sent the whole species straight to hell, if I didn't think that they'd like it there. I went to work in a gloomy mood, hunched over my keyboard with cup after cup of coffee, and gave my mind over to blind mink hatred. At some point, however, a voice of reason began peeking through the cloud of hate. It was a quote from the great Aldo Leopold, in Round River:
"The last word in ignorance is the man who says of an animal or plant, 'What good is it?' If the land mechanism as a whole is good, then every part is good, whether we understand it or not. If the biota, in the course of aeons, has built something we like but do not understand, then who but a fool would discard seemingly useless parts? To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering."
I had to admit, Aldo had a point.
So, there you go. I still detest the miserable, hateful little buggers. But they are part of the greater whole. So I, and we, have to tolerate them. Just like we have to tolerate many animals, predators and pests alike, that we find objectionable. Some of us hate dogfish, some hate wolves, some hate moles. Lots of people hate minks. But we're all part of the same whole.
So, I suppose I will tolerate minks, after all.Still, it might be a good idea to remind me of that the next time one crosses in front of me while I'm out with the dog.