Killing Coyotes

You know those old monster and/or sci-fi movies where the villagers and/or farmers gather up pitchforks, torches and/or possum rifles and storm the castle and/or space ship to kill everything inside?

Well, I was reminded of that when I saw this headline in an Ottawa newspaper the other day, Councillor calls on province to kill coyotes.  Seems that coyotes are running amok in Osgoode and Greely and parts of Ottawa’s south end. They’re scaring people and hurting/eating pets and livestock. City Councillor Doug Thompson, along with many of his constituents thinks the coyotes should all be trapped and killed.

From Ottawa Sun Sept 24/09

From the Ottawa Sun, Sept. 24/09. This guy is proudly holding the preserved head and pelt of a coyote he killed.

People tend to want to kill wild animals when they see them in their backyards – bears, raccoons, skunks, foxes, whatever. In fact, humans’ first reaction to anything unexpected or unfamiliar or scary is to destroy it. Whether it’s a spider[1] in your bedroom or a weed on your lawn or a growth in your body or the citizens of a country of whom we’re not particularly fond. We’re forever battling something, beating stuff, waging wars on things, fighting fights. It’s exhausting.

And it doesn’t really work, does it?

Sure, it’s great that we’re able to kill the offending tumour with all the miraculous toxins we invented, but when are we going to start taking a serious look at where all these tumours are coming from in the first place?

And spraying poison all over our orchards and fields makes us conquering heroes over all the nasty pests and unwanted plants that try to invade our food sources. Don’t we care that we’re also going to end up eating those poisons?

We fight with our own bodies when we “battle” weight problems, “beat” addictions. Violence is a quick fix and gives the illusion of progress. But it’s almost always a short-term solution.

We tell our kids to use their brains not brawn when dealing with problems, but by example we ingrain them with the lesson of mindless destruction.

We need bigger homes so we destroy acres and acres of woodland and the finely balance eco-system that goes along with it. Some creatures are not polite enough to lie down and die when their habitats are pillaged and end up resorting to unusual behaviours in order to survive.

Do you suppose a coyote’s first choice for a fine dining experience is rooting through someone’s garbage or gnawing on a mangy old cat or a yappy Lhasa Apso?

And where does it say that it’s okay for your cat or dog to roam around free in the outdoors at night, but it’s not okay for a coyote?[2]  If the two happen to meet, inevitably one of them will become the other’s dinner.  That’s what the term, “it’s a dog eat dog world”  means. If you don’t want your pets to be part of that world, keep them indoors.

But WE are at the top of the food chain, so WE reckon WE have the right to ride roughshod over every other life form on this planet. The problem is that all this destruction is killing off link after link in that chain. And what will WE do when WE’RE the only link left?[3] 


[1]What’s the deal with all the spidercide? Why are people always wanting to kill spiders? I read two spider killing blog posts in a row on Friday. (Linked in the text). It was horrible!
[2] In some native legends, the coyote is a messenger, bringing culturally significant information to the people.
[3] Once again, I will refer you to Soylent Green