Eclectic Curiosity

We’re Not Animals

Posted on September 6th, 2005, by Steve Hardy in Archives, Uncategorized. No Comments

So much can be said about Katrina — how a city under sea level had such faulty emergency plans despite clear prior knowledge (San Fran, you taking notes?), how a few days of hurricane lead-up still somehow resulted in a days-late relief and rescue effort, how the National Guard was occupied elsewhere, how guns outnumbered first aid kits, how race and voting patterns factor, and so on — but it’s all so dismal. Perhaps it’s worth a moment’s glance away from the natural-turned-human disaster and see how the animals (at least some of them) fared – and why it’s safer to sleep in the Reptile House than the Superdome. From today’s Globe & Mail: Zoo animals fared better than people.

If this all sounds like foolishness, this effort to save pets where people have died and lost so much, it isn’t, I don’t think. Caring for the vulnerable — and animals are in their way as vulnerable as the very old and the very young — is one of the distinguishing and most noble of human characteristics.

Besides, as Mr. Maloney said yesterday, “There’s no question that the wild world can be brutal and unforgiving at times, but there’s no malice in animals. Oh, they can hold grudges, and they get their feelings hurt, but there’s nothing nefarious about them.” …

“I’ve always been glad I worked with animals rather than people,” Eva Jacobson, who normally works in the bird department but is now in charge of making the diets for all the critters, said yesterday. She is not particularly sentimental about those in her charge. “If animals get desperate, they can get as ugly as people,” she reminded her listener. “The difference is, we imagine people can be above that.”

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