Sunday, July 11, 2010

Dead Animals So Far

So far, the dead animals of people I know who have taken on farming in forest or other wildlife areas:

1.  (Not quite a) Possum.  WOULD have been dead for trying to eat food on a goat/horse farm except a visiting friend and me took it down the road and found a place that looked like it had a lot of forage.  Are possums native to the Olympic Peninsula?  No.  But we saved it on principle, anyway.  The farm that tried it also stopped poisoning their flies around their barn to give the swallows a chance to build a population and control the flies (= bird food), so they get points for offset.  And they listened.  So far so good.

2.  Raccoon.  Mini-farmers from Colorado believe their chickens aren't secure enough, even though the fence would keep a horse out.  Nice people, but will never buy any rabbit meat from them.  Or promote it.

3.  Beavers.  Horse people trying to plant trees in a swamp bottom to help kill non-native grasses.  Logging company above cut all the trees, flooded the creek.  Beavers, taking opportunity to build a pond, which would have flooded out the grass, got trapped and killed.  Yeah, that's going to solve the problem. Humans not so much ever going to get me to visit their place again.

4.  Horse and cattle farmer trapped three young cougars in boxes.  Wildlife officer and he agreed that the animals, if hauled away and released, would die soon anyway.  So they made sure of it; the guy shot the cougars in the boxes (isn't he brave?). He did NOT use the hides or meat  because it "would have been too much trouble." Then he bragged about it to me, like I was supposed to be impressed (WTF?). These people sell chickens, eggs, hamburger and feed. Guess I'm going to have to get all those elsewhere -- and promote nothing they produce.  Oh, well.

5.  Fish:  Local woman letting her kid shoot mini plastic pellets into the water, where they can be eaten by local bottom-feeding fish, starve them, then rot out to kill ever more fish.

6.  Cougars and everything else:  Hilltop forest cut next to a neighborhood.  Young resident cougar, now starving, tries to get chickens out of a cage, snatches an attacking dog, and is shot.  Housing developer then files an environmental action statement claiming there will be no wildlife impact.  What timing.

7.  Buffalo.  In the way, and industrially useful.  A whole nation incurs traditional animal genocide karma. 

8.  Watership Down.  This novel, describing lovely English countryside, soon makes the reader aware the only remaining wildlife is songbirds and small predators.  Everything else has been wiped out.

8.  Me and my chickens: anything gets into their cages it's MY FAULT.  I at least have brain enough to know that if I decide I'm inconvenienced by wildlife, that's my fault for moving here, and that if we all decide we're slightly bothered by our neighboring life, we will wipe it out.

Conclusion:  I guess I'm just a better person.  Oh, well.


christine_wasankari said...

Sometimes, when all else fails in the trials and tribulations of relocating and trying hard to keep the natural means in controlling wild animal populations doesn't work, it is prudent to protect the investment of livestock.

We try very hard to keep things as natural as possible here and use the dogs we have as well as electric fences and hard fences as deterrents in keeping raccoons out. Raccoons are survivors of the very fittest and they do come back. There is always an underlying and longer story than just "we had to shoot a raccoon" last night.

I can't tell you how many raccoons we've relocated or how many rats have joined into the fray because there is free feed everywhere, from the hay to the rabbit feed that drops down from the feeders.

When you have a larger "mini" farm it's not as simple as that. We love all animals and always try to share without resorting to drastic measures when the sharing doesn't deplete all the stock. Usually the dogs work, usually the relocation works, usually the fences and the electricity work, but not always.

But one's investments mean something and there are times when the hard and sad choices must be made. It's either that or don't have livestock at all, because a farm will always be a target and a continued target at that.

Learning these things as we go makes us much more responsible each day and we strive to do better. Some choose to learn and some don't.

Donna Barr said...

We're offering trapped food. Sooner or later, everybody trying to farm in anything close to a wilderness begins to need to kill off the native animals. The middle east, Greece and North Africa became deserts from protecting goats.

Rats, on the other hand, came over here with us. We caused that problem.

christine_wasankari said...

I thought the area became desert from the earths wobble. Happens about every 20,000 years. The area is currently into 5k of the next cycle. Anyway, that's what the geologists are saying. Whale bones and sea critter shells have been found and dated back in cycles to almost pangea era.