Thursday, May 18, 2006

On birds and hopelessness

It's been awhile since I last blogged about anything other than poetry, but I am not feeling especially creative today.

Tomorrow I am heading out to witness the cormorant cull at a nearby provincial park. I am not looking forward to what has been described as a morbid free-for-all shooting with hundreds of cormorants dead and many injured, left to die of infection, dehydration or predation as a result of their injuries.

Aside from the misery, I am tired of our constant attempt to "control" nature through violence, especially when we created the imbalance (if it is even that) in the first place. Despite the numbers of cormorants, the fact remains that we simply do not like nature when it imposes on our pleasures. We encroach, manipulate, placate, engineer and pluck what suits us, and have the nerve to be offended by the smells and sights of another species.

The ridiculous bias of media and hunting/fishing groups makes me sick. The cormorant has been morphed into the demonic. Language used to describe the bird is even more insulting, associating blackness with ugliness - a highly offensive parallel to anyone intelligent enough to understand the racist subtext in assigning negative qualities to colour.

A sampling of the almost propaganda- like descriptives applied to the bird include: "black, fish-devouring bird" "voracious fish-devouring bird "hopelessly geeky cormorants" "cormorants are black, ugly and have a vicious-looking hooked bill " ...

And so it goes. What's more disheartening is the trend in shooting cormorants just across the border, with States like dominos - one cull announced, then another, then another.

I wonder how much of an impact this one action will have when the enormity of the trend has already taken hold. Like the white-tailed deer, are we in for another system of species management, so entrenched in our world we barely notice the target.


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