Again, it is true that sheep tend to produce less milk when there are wolves around, but what good is the milk to the sheep when it is stolen from them to produce cheese? It is also true that sheep tend to have fewer lambs when there are wolves around because of fear; but this helps to control the overpopulation of sheep, which produce so much greenhouse gas. Everyone knows that there are far more ecologically efficient ways of producing protein than raising meat, for example by growing lentils; it is surely high time we turned our lamb into lentils, therefore. Moreover, I suspect that even wolves could be persuaded to eat suitably prepared lentils if there were no sheep about. Dogs, after all, can live on a vegetarian diet, and dogs interbreed with wolves.

Anyway, why are the sheep farmers so worried about abortions in sheep brought about by the presence of wolves? Have they ever complained about abortions in humans brought about by the presence of gynecologists? The hypocrisy of it! What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gynecologist, so to speak. We must stop this discrimination between and against species according to merely anthropocentric criteria. We are all”€”fish, seagulls, porcupines”€”in it together (by it, I mean life); we have to make the biosphere work, and we shall never do it so long as we believe that some species are more valuable than others. Save the cholera germ, I say! (Plants, by the way, are the next moral frontier. There are local councils in England that demand that landowners report the presence of giant hogweed or Japanese knotweed on their land under threat of prosecution if they don”€™t, so that these peaceable plants may be eradicated. Is there no end to man’s thirst for destruction?)

“€œA robin redbreast in a cage,”€ wrote William Blake, “€œputs all heaven in a rage”€; but what about the goldfish? Are not bowls their cages? Why should it be wrong to keep robins captive, but right to enslave goldfish? Their color? What has that to do with it? As Nietzsche would have said (had he been a goldfish), better a day as a Superfish than a lifetime of safety, subsisting merely on the infantilizing pity of an owner and a daily pinch of fish food.

With all the many problems facing the biosphere (man being its parasite in chief), the arrival in the Dutch parliament of the Party for the Animals is a small step forward”€”but it is not enough. Everyone knows (or ought to know) that man could not live for a day, for a second, without bacteria. I therefore hope and expect before the end of my life to see the emergence of a Bacterial Liberation Front, to save bacteria from the ravages of antibiotics.



Columnists

Sign Up to Receive Our Latest Updates!

SIGN UP

Daily updates with TM’s latest