The simple fact is that humans have altered the ecological landscape
so much it is not longer possible to "let nature take its course".
Humans have to actively manage wildlife populations now, whether it's
rabbits, polar bears, or deer. If, as Nelly says, the rabbit
population is booming, then it's also headed for a crash, and the best
thing to do is reduce the population- by hunting or trapping. And yes,
it is possible to trap animals humanely. The alternative is to have a
pile of starving rabbits (or deer, or what have you) dying truly
miserable deaths, and making life miserable for the humans who would
not take the responsible steps.
And yes, feeding them really does make the crash worse in the long
run. Look up the history of the Jackson's Hole elk herd.
So by your explanation we should go to Africa and just shoot people
including orphaned children to AIDS to prevent them from starving to
death? I suppose I see things from different point of view. All I
said to the OP was to grow a heart in that garden of hers. I didn't
get all histrionic.
Nope. I happen to value human life more than animal life. Call me a
species chauvinist if you like, but I'll save a human life over a
different animal any time.
And in saying that, you are being really insulting. You had absolutely
no right to call Nelly heartless, especially given the tone of her
post. What I gave you was a perfectly rational, ecologically sound
answer. If you've ever seen real habitat degradation because of some
animal overpopulating, you might have a different attitude.
I value all life. I am against abortion, but pro choice. I don't
like murder, but I'm against the death penalty. I see life as life
and it's all important to me. Like I said, I have a different view
I had every right to call her heartless. I live in America. Last
time I looked I had free speech protection. Isn't that what our
illustrious ass of a president killing people for?
I have seen overpopulated areas where animals suffer. One such place
is the penn where they hold cattle before they kill them. I don't own
my property. I'm a steward of my property. Animals are life forms. I
plant extra for them.
OK, put that way, sure. You're wrong and inconsiderate and rude and a
host of other pejorative adjectives, but sure, you have the right, I
guess. And no, Bush isn't killing for free speech. He's killing for a
lot of reasons, like oil, and his tiny penis, and the fact he hasn't
had a drink in 20 years- but not freedom.
You have, then, no idea what horrific habitat degradation is like. Try
the photo here:
It's not just the particular species that suffers; it's whole
Good for you. But your ethics are not universal, there's no reason for
them to be universal, and insulting someone who doesn't share them is
inappropriate, to say the least.
I said nothing inappropriate, in my estimation. I expressed myself.
How it's viewed by those who read it are interpreting it the way they
see it, through the veil of their beleifs. I don't intentionally
kill. Especially under the conditions of your photo, which I have not
looked at. Certain images are not good for anyone to see. Things like
it break my heart.
I write to a killer in prison. A complete gang banger, killer,
murderer. Has killed even IN prison. I still found under it all who
he is and how remorseful he is. I would fight to the death to prevent
his execution. Fortunately, they rearly, if everr, execute in
California. Texas is another story. They kill people like it's
ordinary and just fine. They have no idea.
Do you think it's always appropriate to express yourself? I would say
not, especially when you're saying something that is derogatory, and
implying someone is heartless certainly falls into that category. It
was a gratuitous insult, really.
The photo doesn't show any animals at all. It shows what happens to
habitats when animals are allowed to overproduce. Humans have changed
the ecological landscape to such a degree- favoring some species and
eliminating others- the in order to maintain some sort of balance, we
must take more active measures. It often isn't pretty. But you claim
to be a steward of the land. Death is a natural part of the world. In
my estimation, a proper steward understands the need for active
management and, at times, bringing one population back to within
normal limits, so that all the other populations don't suffer.
I am also luck to live in New York, where executions are rare, if not
unheard of. I don't even recall the last one here.
I recently had an article published in Mandala Magazine. I'll paste
it here and you will see it is consistent with what I said. I already
apologized to Nelly. I think the discussion never sank into harsh
speech; it was a debate and may continue to be so. The article is the
unedited version and I've removed my full name and email address for
obvious reasons. I am absolutely NOT implying people become Buddhist,
nor am I saying Buddhists have the lock on this philosophy. I did,
however, write the article for a Buddhist magazine which was
published, I think in April. I don't recall, but it was this year.
How to Garden Without Killing
Most of my life I have done some form or gardening. After I started
to garden I became an organic gardener. However, gardening
organically involved poisoning insects and as a Buddhist practitioner
I believe any form of killing, is killing which was no longer
acceptable and something wasn't right; killing is killing and although
beneficial insects do this in nature, they continue killing habits.
I became honest with myself and realized the introduction of
beneficial insects with the intention to alleviate insect pests was
also killing karma and barbaric. I discontinued use of all
insecticides and noticed further I have a garden teaming with
wildlife. The realization was if I used native plant species, the
garden would attract and give habitat for myriad native creatures.
Interested about the creation of habitat for displaced animals due to
rapid rates of urban sprawl, I found a book by Sara Stein, "Noah's
Garden." The author discusses how to become a "un-gardener," on your
property. Tolerance for wildlife of all forms is necessary for this
to work. It is not about tidy or formal gardens. It's about creating
We used native plants more and more, designing a garden creating
irregular shaped beds and paths as nature does. The outcome is
amazing! Creatures are naturally attracted. It took a few growing
seasons, but one night there she was, a mother sentient being; a fox
and her two pups! She was living under our shed in her den.
Later on, corn and rat snakes, skinks, anoles, fence lizards,
armadillo, opossum, a cuckoo bird, woodpeckers, toads, frogs, and a
large array of insects. Sadly, most of these creatures eat other
creatures. Some say great, the snakes eat the rats; the fox eat the
snakes, lizards eat the toads, but this is nothing to rejoice about.
Fortunately these animals wound up in the garden of a Buddhist
practitioner with holy images all about, prayer flags, tsa tsa's
(which I make) up in trees, on the fence, and I play Holy Guru Kyabje
Zopa Rinpoche reciting the Sanghata Sutra outside. When I weed, I say
mantras out loud for them to hear. I listen to my Lama loud enough
for the wildlife to hear her wisdom. This is what I rejoice in. I
delight to know there is a possibility of a virtuous imprint so
animals may find a good human re-birth.
This is something a garden phases into on its own and generally takes
three years of patience, keeping the yard weeded by hand, fertilize
the soil using certified organic fertilizers and making use of native
plants for your region. Eventually, native plants can take on a
beautiful habit and if we let nature do its job, everything will
strike a balance. Making sure the soil is teaming with organisms is
vital to a healthy garden. Worms turn organic matter into elements
which roots can use easily. Worms are the work horses in a natural
garden. To many, this type of garden is rangy and may wish to have a
neat, orderly garden. They may be organic gardeners, but using
organic pesticides kill. How then do we garden without killing?
The most important part of a healthy garden where you don't have to
kill is to nourish the soil. Learn what type soil you have by calling
your local county Cooperative Extension. I highly recommend the book,
"Secrets to Great Soil," by Elizabeth P. Stell.
Compost is black gold and important in which you can help cut down on
the amount of garbage filling the landfills, rapidly reaching peak (in
America). We have a half acre and use our brush to assemble a pile
instead of sending it to the landfill. Many animals live and take
shelter in the brush pile. These include, but are not limited to
Carolina Wrens, raccoon, opossum, armadillo, etc. Currently, we have
a raccoon. Our resident opossum died last year. He was a male and
their lifespan is two years. Our resident lived here for over five
years and though he never came up to the house, when he was ready to
die he did it near our back door. Maybe he wanted to tell us good-bye
and thanks, who knows.
Unhealthy plants attract insect pests and succumb, while healthy
plants with vigor have the stamina to thrive a temporary infestation
of insects. Good garden hygiene plays an important role in having a
healthy garden. Let's face it; I've heard teachings about which there
isn't an atom of space without a sentient being. We are all killing
constantly, but without intention. Being mindful that I am doing this
all the time is helpful to my practice. It brings me down to being
part of the big picture which tells us we all, each of us, are as
important to the existence of every other sentient being. I tread
lightly. All sentient beings have Buddha nature and we won't get
there by killing to have perfect gardens.
Repeat: tolerance is necessary in order to garden without killing. A
squirrel lives out back and she comes to the peach tree daily and
takes one bite of ten or more peaches! I've talked to her letting her
know she is welcome to eat the peaches, but to finish one and then
take another. It never works, so tolerance is necessary. The records
say I own my land, I say it's only on loan to me. I am a steward, not
Mockingbirds love tomatoes. They stick their beak into a tomato and
pierce. I cut this part off and eat the tomato. Insect pests get a
hankering for one of my ornamental plants and destroy its aesthetic,
but I've learned to tolerate this. It helps on two levels; I don't
get angry at the insects (how silly anyway!) and I am not attached to
the plant. I know people who cleave to their gardens as if they are
more important than any life form and douse chemicals everywhere.
In closing let me say gardening naturally adds joy to our lives.
Giving enough imprints to an animal trapped in the lower realms is
vital for the sake of all beings. Learning how to be tolerant of
animals has been a rewarding lesson. I can look at rats now and
appreciate their beauty and their intense suffering; being hated and
murdered every second of every day. These too are all mother sentient
beings in a lower realm and I vow to take part, however small, in
protecting them so they may take a good rebirth and during this life
keeping their suffering to a minimum.
Our garden is a National Wildlife Federation Backyard Habitat and
Texas Parks and Wildlife Certified Backyard Habitat. More information
can be found on links I provided at the end of this article. With the
vast urban sprawl I mentioned, the very least we can do is provide
habitat, no matter how small the property. The most important thing
which we must remember in this precious human body is simply, don't
kill. When you rescue an ant from drowning in the pool the life you
are saving is your own.
I recently posted a request for info regarding trapping gophers. I imagine,
based on where this thread has gone that that request repulsed you.
I thoroughly understand and agree with the idea of creating a natural
habitat. I have done just that in my backyard. I have used all native
plants which have attracted birds galore, squirrels, lizards, the whole
variety of insect life that supports all these, etc. And all of this in
about 1/12 acre. In almost every case all of us enjoy this habitat w/o
The one exception is gophers. They leave huge mounds of dirt everywhere,
and basically destroy the habitat.
So I ask you, as the life respecting person that you are, how you would deal
with such an intrusive pest in your garden. Leaving it alone to continue
it's destruction is not really an option. I'm not looking for detailed
instructions. I just want the gist of how you would deal with such a
I never had gophers and I've never had to trap them or be concerned
for their presence so I cannot give you any advice. I can only give
you advice based on my experience. I do know one thing, if you have
gophers your soil is nice and soft.
On Mon, 9 Jun 2008 05:07:42 -0700 (PDT), Chris
By a "different view" I mean I do not see humans as more important
life forms than rabbits. I see all life as equal. I try to view all
humans, friend-enemy-stranger as all the same, as well. I didn't say
it is easy, but I do. It's my belief system. I don't say you should
adopt it, but I commented on something very strong you said regarding
killing rabbits. I'm way in the other direction. I've purchased
feeder fish and crickets and other live animals fed to snakes, etc,
and freed them.
I say NO penis or balls, and do you honestly believe he stopped
drinking 20 years ago? I said "freedom" facetiously.
I won't look at the photo. I don't need to. I am well aware of the
ravaging overpopulation is capable of. This is why I strongly believe
in zero population growth. I've been criticized for saying that, but
I stand by my opinion anyway.
I don't see my ethics as universal. If I did we wouldn't be having
I apologized a few minutes before posting a reply to you, so it may
not be up yet.
I'm glad we worked it out like adults. So much of Usenet is full of
people who misread things. It's hard to see a person's eyes through
the monitor. There is such kindness and such nightmares we're capable
of as a species.
So at least we argued in favor of the same ideals. Thanks for
sticking it out.
If your municipality bans you from trapping them yourself (using a
live trap, like a Hav-A-Heart) then they should have some means of
animal control. Perhaps your county agricultural extension agent could
make a suggestion there? Most places will trap nuisance animals for
free, or low cost, and they would probably transport them to some
nearby wildlife area.
Good luck on that.
the reason that there are now ticks where there were NEVER ticks in the past is
the deer population has exploded. So has the rabbit and squirrel population.
the coyote, fox and wolf population is following as expected.
I left the squirrels alone until they began eating into our house. I battled
for 4 years paying people to replace the chewed wood, reinforce with aluminum
flashing. This spring I realized they had once again found a way in so I set
trap and got 2 adults and 3 out of the 4 young ones. Squirrels are smart and
remember "the good old days" of eating their way thru the metal flashing to get
the house. I had to get rid of all with any memory of eating into the house. I
inherited the "house dwellers" from the house next door which stood empty for 5
or so and they had been in there. When the house was bought and being fixed up
squirrels were evicted and just moved over to my house.
There are a couple ways to deal with baby vermin (yes, they do carry disease so
handle carefully). Put them out in the open and let nature take its course. I
prefer to drop them into a bucket of ice cold water. They sink and die quickly,
cold water numbs them. I had to drown the squirrels I caught in the cage. I
like doing this, but it was fast. The laws forbid "relocation" of wild animals
this in Wisconsin.
Reminds me of when my father uncovered a nest of baby mice after opening up
an old stairway in the house. My mother has fond affection for mice, but
unfortunately in this case it was the dead of winter, so they reluctantly
agreed it would be more humane to drown them than to leave them to
starvation & predation. Nobody ever thought about ice water, though; I'll
have to keep that in mind, "in case".
Uh, oh. Guess the rabbits are in for more trouble than I thought, since
that's where I am.
It may be too late,...but when I was a kid my father raised
domesticated rabbits. I could pick up the hairless blind widdle ones
and it didn't bother mommy. I suspect that if you left them as close
as possible to how you found them, mommy would follow her instincts
and do what she could to save the brood. If not,...mother nature is
not always kind.
We had about a dozen does and one buck. He had black fur except for a
white zigzag on his forehead. There were two reasons we called him
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