THIS I BELIEVE*
Give me a break ? a Fish Empathy Project? I read a recent headline, “ANIMAL RIGHTS ACTIVISTS’ CAMPAIGN, PITCHES FISH AS SMART AND SENSITIVE”. These activists said fish should not be fished. So what happens to the food chain?
Is it crueler to be hooked and cooked than eaten alive? No moral person of values ? I want to be politically correct here ? would deny that needless suffering inflicted on animals is wrong. Here’s my value, best affirmed by Plato: “…this world is indeed a living being endowed with a soul and intelligence…a single living entity containing all other living entities, which by their nature are related.”
I grieve when my earth-mates are harmed or lost forever. I mourn them as I mourn our maimed and dead soldiers. Extinction is tragic.
What values permit the double-cross of our people, our lands, and, our creatures? The Ivory Billed Woodpecker with a three-foot-wide wingspan drew cries of “Lord God!” when it swooped to an Everglades roost. That was six decades ago.
A single Ivory Billed Woodpecker was said to be spotted in southeast Arkansas in 2004, sixty years after it disappeared from sight. The reported sighting was announced in 2005 after declared verification of the sighting. This sighting and its verification, however, has been questioned by knowledgeable ornithologists
In the past several years, the Florida panther’s stage shrinks. Fewer than one hundred adults now exist.
This I believe ? we do not need to accept the grinding loss of our natural treasures. We can, we have, stopped some losses thought to be irreversible. Once imperiled Bald Eagles ? less brave though more beautiful than Goldens ? again soar above my mangrove marsh. Temporary bans on Gulf of Mexico grouper-fishing assure future grouper platters. So, here we are, back to the food chain ? remember those other two fishes? Lord God!
*Portions of this essay appeared as my poem, “Eagles, Panthers and the Lord God Bird”, in Main Channel Voices, Vol. 1, No. 4, Fall 2005.
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