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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Biodiversity is good vs. minks can go straight to hell

Biodiversity is priceless and must be conserved. After all, it is diversity within and between living things that supports ecosystems, buffering them against variations in climate and other environmental factors. For this reason, biodiversity is generally thought to make ecosystems stable and resilient to change. In turn, we humans base our societies and economies on the stable and relatively predictable provision of ecosystem products and services. In short: humans need biodiversity, because we need sound and stable ecosystems.

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)

The worst part?

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.


  1. God saw all the He had and made and said "It is good"

  2. ...but then was all, "But what's the deal with those minks?"

  3. I've always thought it's awful the way those savage mink drape their dead skins over the bodies of wealthy women just to make them look insensitve and tasteless. Even in death they're nasty little buggers.

  4. It's OK to hate artificially selected things, right? Heirloom tomato plants are on seriously thin ice with me.

  5. Yeah, you can totally hate artificially selected things all you want without any fear of violating the biodiversity mandate. Like all of those crazy-colored peppers at the store? Peppers were meant to be green. End of story.

    And Geoff - draping their dead husks on the bony shoulders of frigid heiresses is the one and only way that minks have been able to garner any kind of sympathy. It's all part of their larger plan to...I don't know, garner sympathy. So that they can kill more chickens.

  6. Stupid idiot minks.

  7. Update! More proof that minks are terrible things in general, and especially when they get to where they're not supposed to go - in this case, Scotland:

    Thanks for the heads-up on this, Rob!