July 3rd, 2004

Autumnfox mischief

The value of an animal life?

Wow, a post. A real post. Wow. :P :) My boss decided to let me have the weekend off, since I'm still on doctor's orders and as such, can't really do much of anything there. I'm pretty much exhausted all the sit-down work I can do there (I guess it's my fault for being so fast...) and I've pretty much read all the training manuals my brain can handle. I've found some interesting things which I may bring up to management at some point, however, especially the next time they bring up policies they say are company "brand".

Otherwise, I'm rather bored, really. I've had a lot of thoughts in my head lately, and perhaps I'll mention them at some point, though I'm concerned of the type of reactions they may cause. I'm not really one to stir up controversy, although I do feel I need to learn to stop being so invisible all the time. I suppose it wouldn't hurt to express all these thoughts once in awhile. Hmm... on that note:

Coming home from work this morning, Tibble and I noticed a poor squirrel lying dead in the road near our apartment. Later on, I found myself in a situation where I almost hit a squirrel who was running across the road, but I luckily managed to slow down in time. I then peeked in my rear view mirror and found no cars behind me, but it still made me wonder. When I was learning to drive, I was told to not slow down or swerve if an animal crossed the road. I can understand why the instructor said that, as it could potentially cause harm to a person driving behind me, and to their vehicle. Still, it makes me wonder about the priorities of many people. That is, how much is an animal's life worth to humans? Some damage to a car, possible whiplash, would that be worth it to save the life of a small creature? Or is human comfort worth an animal's life? Maybe it's foolish to think about. Animals cross the road all the time, road kill will happen, and even the most astute drivers can't always prevent this. Still, just what is an animal's life worth?

I'll be the first to put myself on the spot here, though I know it will only generate more uncertainty. I generally consider myself an animal rights activist. No, I don't go around splashing red paint on fur coats, nor anything else illegal. While there may be times where extreme measures may be considered justified, I prefer to show compassion by example, rather than to combat violence with more violence. I fully believe that all life is sacred, yet I also believe strongly in the natural process. With that in mind, I have no real qualms about using an animal for food, nor for killing an animal out of self-defense. So, for instance, I wouldn't swat a fly because he was annoying me (I'd likely catch it and take it outside), yet I would swat a mosquito as I'm allergic to their bites. Of course, swatting the mosquito is killing an animal for my own comfort, so does this make me just as bad as those who would kill other animals (mammals in particular) for their comfort? At what point has an animal evolved enough that we should show a greater level of compassion? I know I would not kill a skunk if he crossed my path simply because I fear being sprayed; but is this because I respect a skunk more than a mosquito, or because I know how to not provoke the skunk? If a wolf was after me (for whatever reason) and I had a shotgun, would I defend myself? I think I would, though I would still feel great regret.

Foxes are animals I love dearly, for I feel I can identify with them strongly. I've been to powwows and similar events and seen fox skins, and have been uncertain how to feel about that. I'd love to think that most Native Americans would still have a certain level of respect toward an animal they kill, but I'm not a romanticist, and as such I can't say how true that respect may or not may be, especially in the present time. Part of me was still tempted to buy a skin for spiritual purposes, but I never did, since my own feelings were left unresolved. When in doubt, I often choose inaction. Still, two different friends of mine -- both non-furry/were/shaman/etc. -- gave me fox parts (a tail and a mask). I never told them I wanted them, and to this day I still don't know why they bought them. The first friend shared the same uncertainty I did, and I'm still curious why she chose to buy the tail for me. The second friend didn't even really buy the mask for me, but ended up giving it to me after we'd met, and he decided it must have been fate or whatnot, since he had no real reason to buy it in the first place. Yeah, he's funky like that.

Anyway, I would like to hear other points of view on the subject on what an animal's life is worth, as well as commentary on things I've written, or stories you might have on how much an animal's life is worth to them. Only thing I ask is, no flaming. Thanks.
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