I have never been a cat person, mostly because all the dogs I have known could have weighed three hundred pounds and never been anything but the sweet-natured companions they were, while any cat that weighed three hundred pounds would certainly have tortured me to death just for sport. Well, it turns out that people who subsidize these little killing machines by providing food, shelter, and health care, all without confinement, are accountable for a great deal of butchery -
“That mouse carcass Kitty presents you with is just the tip of a very bloody iceberg. When researchers attached kittycams to house cats, they found a secret world of slaughter…
…The carnage cuts across species. Lizards, snakes and frogs made up 41% of the animals killed, Loyd and fellow researcher Sonia Hernandez found. Mammals such as chipmunks and voles were 25%, insects and worms 20% and birds 12%. “
The camera footage indicates that for every one animal a cat brings home, three to four are either eaten or left to rot. Equally disconcerting is the danger to which these beloved pets are exposed. They are equally menacing and menaced. The cats, of course, are hardly to blame for this. It is only their nature that drives their behaviour. But this is as true with human beings as it is with felines. Once you elect to subsidize someone’s education, employment, upkeep, or lifestyle, you must be very careful to consider the consequences of that subsidy. To do otherwise is to cultivate behaviour that is either harmful to the individual, harmful to society, or perhaps even both.
This is a beautiful animation illustrating the life cycle of sea turtles, the challenges they face, and some of the ways in which human endeavour has supposedly increased those challenges. Beach development, poaching, plastic refuse, long lines, nets, oil… all are held to be responsible for decreasing the turtle survival rate from 10% of each nest to 1%. But we know this cannot be true, because populations of many animals (pigs, cows, chickens, etc.) flourish even in the face of development, pollution, theft, and chemicals.
In order for sea turtle populations to recover, it is necessary to eliminate those legal barriers which have criminalized the trade in turtles. Once the profit motive has been restored, sea turtles will be bred in such numbers that pressure on wild populations will dwindle to almost nothing, and the oceans will one day again be thick with these amazing creatures.
“Between 2006 and 2012 gas went from providing 20% of America’s electricity to nearly 25%, mainly at the expense of coal. Cheap gas and environmental legislation under the Clean Air Act, aimed at emissions of sulphur dioxide, nitrous oxide and mercury (but not carbon dioxide) from dirty coal plants, accelerated a trend that is set to continue. For decades coal had provided well over half America’s electricity. In 2011 coal-generated power was down to 42%, its lowest level since at least 1949, when records began. The EIA says the switch will speed up in 2012, with coal falling to just 36% of the total.
Gas has wrought some remarkable changes. Over the past five years America has recorded a decline in greenhouse-gas emissions of 450m tonnes, the biggest anywhere in the world. Ironically, given its far greater effort to tackle climate change, the European Union has seen its emissions rise, partly because its higher gas prices (linked to oil) have led to an increase in coal-fired power generation.”
If you’re looking for me, I’m at the corner of Perplexed Street and Confused Avenue. If the more heavily regulated EU has had rising emissions, why include regulation as one of the reasons emissions have fallen in the US? Is it not more likely that regulation in North America would also have led to higher emissions, had they not been offset by declines brought about by the market forces which have led to lower gas prices? The trend suggests to me that there should be a decrease in government regulation, and a more strict protection of market regulation. Then we might see some real progress.
From the time I started school in the late ’60s, I have heard an endless procession of apocalyptic environmental predictions, none of which have materialized to any great extent. We still have trees, and copper, and oil. Air and water quality have been improving in more and more areas, and not only have mass extinctions failed to materialize, many endangered animal populations are rebounding and repopulating areas from which they had disappeared. In some cases, bad government stewardship has been replaced by better government stewardship, and in other cases private citizens, pursuing either profit or personal satisfaction, have been the driving force. For example -
We only hear one story like these for every thousand predictions of doom, but you can’t sell newspapers or get research funding by saying things are getting better. So, try not to be disheartened. Things are better than some people want us to believe.