Conflicted Interests

Just like the day before with the the birds at feeding time, I brought the camera out again yesterday to see what little feathered friends might be helping themselves to my offerings.

But this times the birds that were around were mostly staying in the trees and bushes because several of the cats were patrolling the area. In fact Everest and Lincoln were more stalking than patrolling; Everest in the tree above and Lincoln hiding by a bush below, one leap away from where the bread had been thrown.

Even Coco who is more the pacifist than anything else, was engaged in stealthy patrol and his occasional lip-licking must have given second thoughts to many of the feathered folk.

I’ve done my best to keep the cats away from the buffet area but for weeks now they have a penchant for letting the birds know who is boss in these neck of the woods.

As much as I love birds, this is one of the problems with having ten cats sharing residence with me. They may be loving and affectionate to me but their natural predator instincts have seen the demise of many a lizard, frog, vole, mouse, rat, and even a couple of birds.

I have rescued many from the jaws of death, but for every one I have saved, there are several I have failed to.

I love cats. I find them wildly intelligent, very independent, and seriously expressive. The same little lady that gives me huge doe-eyes of affection can in a moment produce a squint-stare of death when something smaller than me crosses their path.

Anyway, I have attached several of the pics from yesterday here at the end of the blog. Even one of the half moon that hung in the afternoon skies, observing all beneath it.

Hope you enjoy!

So, it was really the whole notion of conflicted interest that wrestled with my thoughts and gave me the topic for today’s blog.

I go out of my way to save all life … everything from spiders up to raccoons. Life here has given me many opportunities to help across that full range and I am really fortunate to having been able to.

But I am also aware that life’s circle involves death-giving-life and that at best any saving I do, is merely a temporary change of fortune for whoever the beneficiary is. And when I help one today, he may be killing another tomorrow.

It is a challenging thought and it puts me at odds with the majority of the community of nature photographers. Those who don’t interfere and continue to take the shot operate to different guidelines than me. If I can help, I do.

I don’t even have a convincing argument as to why my approach might be better. But that doesn’t stop me.

When we got overrun with rats a couple of years back and getting rid of them became a final option, I still went ahead and rescued over twenty of them and rehomed them away from residential setting. One little guy even bit me and drew blood but I still continued to carry him to safety.

I think it comes down in my head to every living creature having a right to life.

(Don’t try to extend that argument to a fetus with no ability to survive on its own by the way. That’s bullshit)

But while we like to think of human lives as the most important and some lives being more important than others, I strongly disagree. The least of worms deserves to be picked up and moved to somewhere where he has a chance to live.

The choice of who lives and dies should not be up to us.

Though we have designated several species of life to be consumable (cows, chickens, pigs, etc.) this is a highly immoral and flawed choice. When we make it, we assume infallibility and yet scream blue murder when other make the same infallible choice that consumes whales, dogs, and monkeys.

There is no moral choice here, no matter how we try to convince ourselves otherwise. We choose to slaughter and consume, not out of necessity, but out of want. Call it a food chain, or culling, or medical testing, it is still murder.

I am not vegetarian but have dramatically reduced my meat intake. And it bothers me that the rest of the world has gone in the opposite direction. We consume more meat now per person than ever before in the history of mankind.

And most of this consumption occurs in the sanitized factory food-chain environment so that we don’t even have to think about what poor creature had to die just so that we could eat that nugget, or burger, or sausage.

Don’t get me started on what this preoccupation with “meat production” is doing to the environment. Suffice to say that almost 20% of all greenhouse gasses are caused by the agriculture/meat industry … that isn’t far off twice the percentage caused by all transportation (13%).

There are many choices we make that have a degree of conflict of interest in the decision. Most are simply made based on a justification of what we want to do, regardless of the impact.

If all of us could just constrain our wants a little and reduce our willingness to kill just a tad … we would certainly upset billion dollar industries, but we might actually end up saving a planet.

… just a thought.