We humans are constantly claiming that we really do understand animals (domesticated and non-domesticated) and yet we seem completely at a loss when animals do things which are completely in keeping with their natures (and not nice to us). I am reminded of all this by a man whose bulldog decided (for whatever reason) that it had had enough and then by the story of a young lady who was killed by coyotes while hiking in Nova Scotia.
The lady’s mother wrote the following in response to the death of her daughter:
We take a calculated risk when spending time in nature’s fold — it’s the wildlife’s terrain. When the decision had been made to kill the pack of coyotes, I clearly heard Taylor’s voice say, “please don’t, this is their space”. She wouldn’t have wanted their demise, especially as a result of her own. She was passionate about animals, was an environmentalist, and was also planning to volunteer at the Toronto Wildlife Centre in the coming months.
With all the respect which is due to the mother of a child seemingly taken before her time, I cannot disagree more. We do not “take a calculated risk” unless we believe that the animals are equally or more important than we are. Wild animals, such as the coyotes which led to this young lady’s death are just that: wild. They may seem playful or cute or any number of things, but the bottom line is that they are opportunists and will attack those other animals and humans which they believe they can overcome. Since the young lady was alone at the time, it is hard to know exactly what occurred. However, it is difficult to believe that a handgun would not have remarkably changed the equation in favor of the human, thereby doing away with most of that “calculated risk.”
I realize that there are those who think humans are just the highest form of animal and that, as such, we are all equal and should have the same value placed on each of our lives. I am not one of them.
I do not believe in abusing animals–nor do I believe in elevating them beyond what they are. When it comes to animals, particularly those which are meat-eaters by design, we exist side by side with them in a state of dynamic equilibrium. While we are surprised when something goes terribly wrong, we shouldn’t be. Instead, I find it remarkable that we do not have more instances of animals acting like animals, particularly as we teach them that they do not need to fear/respect humans.