Life and Death

When you are young and carefree thoughts of life and death are miles away. However, the older one gets the more one's mind is filled by the subject. Don't worry I'm not going to get all morbid, I'll keep these observations as light as possible.

Let's start by agreeing one thing up front, something that isn't up for negotiation. Life is important to every creature that breathes. It doesn't matter how big they are or how ugly, they all want to hang onto their precious lives.

The trouble is, we humans want to play God and put values on the lives of other creatures. I guess this would be a good place to hold my hands up and say that I'm guilty too, but my thoughts on the subject are clear.

Rule 1: I never kill anything outside of my house unless it is going to bite or sting me.

Rule 2: I don't kill anything inside the house that will take the opportunity to leave via the door or window which I have opened especially for them. If they can't find it within a reasonable amount of time they are considered to be fair game although I still wouldn't kill a bee, butterfly, lacewing or a lady bird.

Wasps are the only exceptions to the above rules and I'm afraid I'm guilty of killing a few of those critters.

Now you may be at this point wondering what the hell brought all this on. Why is this man whittering on about such stuff? Well there are several answers to that and here are a few of the issues that made me stop and think about life and death. And more importantly, the values we humans attribute to the lives of defenceless creatures. Here's what I think, you can disagree if you like because it's only my opinion.

Humans base the value of a creature's life on three attributes: size, rarity and beauty. If a creature is big, beautiful or rare they get top marks and very few will hunt them down or try swatting them with a newspaper.

Dolphins Vs Tuna: Which gets the most points? The dolphins of course because they are bigger, rarer and some would say more beautiful. I was walking around the supermarket one day and came across a tin of tuna. On the side of this can was a strap line that said,"Dolphin friendly tuna," meaning that no dolphins were killed while the trawlers caught and killed thousands of tuna fish. If we go back to our orginal premise that life is precious to every creature, isn't what was said on that tuna tin absurd. Does anybody know where I can buy a tin of tuna friendly dolphin?

The Whale Vs The Bream: We've all seen the scenes on the news; a whale has decided to beach itself on some remote shore. Gangs of volunteers spring into action from all over the country and make it their business to help save that whale. They stroke it and bast it; hoping beyond hope that they can get it back to sea alive. Good on em, and good luck to them and the whale, that's what I say, but what about the news report that is mentioned in the last inch of the last column of the daily newspaper. "It's just been confirmed that up to 40,000 fish could have died when a stretch of river was polluted." The best reponse we can hope for in this case is, "Ah well, that's a shame isn't it."

The Badger Vs Canada Goose: Badgers are lovely mystical creatures that only come out a night, but there is hell up in England because the government is planning a cull. The reason for the cull is because they supect that the badger is spreading TB amongst cattle. I don't want to get into the argument about the cull, but the strength of feeling that surrounds it. Enviromentalists are up in arms and protests are widespread. So contrast this with the lot of our local flock of canada geese. I live near a nature reserve and at certain times of the year they fly over our house in great skeins. They honk for all they are worth and bring me and I expect a lot of other people a great deal of pleasure. So perhaps you can imagine my sadness when I read in the paper that the people who run the nature reserve have painted the eggs of the geese with a substance that will make them infertile. The nature conservation spokes person said there were too many geese and nobody batted an eyelid.

Is it just me or does anybody else think it is a nonsense when the people who are supposed to be looking after a nature reserve decide to play God and kill the stuff that nature is allowing to thrive. And isn't it strange that a creature, that will probably only be seen by most people when it is dead at the side of the road, a creature that could be responsible for spreading disease amongst the very animals we rely on to feed us, should be thought of more highly than a lovely goose or two.

Rats Vs Squirrels We all know that the only real difference is a bushy tale. No, you say. Well let me give you a senario. If somebody put a bushy tale on a rat and called it a Squiggy, I reckon people would soon start throwing garbage into their gardens to try and attact them.

So, that's my thoughts on life and death, if you've got any comments I'd love to hear them.