Now, before this gets moved to chit-chat, there is a point to this thread, and that point is to counter all those folks that say humans are the only
animals that devastate their environment. I'll get to that.
It was 1993 at the Tulsa State Fair, and the chicken beat me 2 out of 3! Not ties, actual wins! I blame the distraction of it being a chicken, and I
was on a 3rd date with a very pretty Indian girl from Quapaw, OK, and of course there was alcohol involved, but the chicken won fair and square. The
chicken had a wire floor, and she got a shock if she lost, or a treat of she won, and she liked WINNING! But, overall chickens are pretty stupid.
They say chickens are smarter than cats, but I don't believe it. Of course, I've never played a cat in Tic-Tac-Toe, so its hard to compare.
Now to the point. I just spent the last 4 hours cleaning the chicken coop and putting chicken wire around my blueberry bushes, and creating some
barriers around my tortoise garden.
Oh ya, I've also got some African Sulcata Tortoises
, and they have their own coop,
with their own garden of Kale, Radishes, Pansies, and Hibiscus. (They LOVE yellow flowers.)
So, it is oft-repeated on ATS that humans are the only animals that devastate their own environment.
Did I mention I have a 120lb mutt of some kind? Maybe part shephard, part heeler, part american bulldog, but that's just a loose guess. He is a
NOW, the chickens are free-range chickens. They have a coop, but they roam the yard, and roam the 3 acres of woods behind my yard, but at night they
come back to their coop all on their own, and right before I go to bed, I close it up to keep the raccoons and foxes out. They eat bugs, and frogs,
and lizards, and grass, and spiders, and they get a serving of chicken scratch from me once per day. They are very, very healthy chickens, and we are
getting about 4-6 eggs every day.
The chickens decided they liked my blueberry bushes, and since I like eggs more than I like blueberries, I figured let them have at it. What I
didn't know, is that when they ran out of blueberries they would eat the leaves, and when they ran out of leaves, they would eat the sticks, and when
they ran out of sticks, they would scratch it up out of the ground and kill the bush! I don't mind sharing my blueberries, but I don't want the
bushes dug up and destroyed.
While I was out there, I realized my Tortoises had also destroyed their garden. They have a very large coop, with good sodded grass, which is their
main staple, and the garden is just for their amusement. If they get too much nutrition, they will actually grow too fast and their shells could
become deformed, so they are not supposed to have a constant supply of vegetables, it is just a healthy treat for them. BUT, they eat the leaves, and
then the stems, and then they dig up the roots and bulbs and eat those TOO! They don't naturally dig, they are not burrowers, and they do not
hibernate like many North American turtles. These are desert turtles. They require very little sustenance. So, now, I have re-planted their garden,
with landcape stones around the trunk of the plant, and the bulbs and vegetables below the stone, so only the green foliage is accessible to the
tortoises, and there is no room for digging. I'll still have to re-sod their enclosure every year, but I can live with that.
While I was out, I also ended up picking up white fuzz and fabric from the entire yard, because the dog decided to shred his dog bed this week, which
he does routinely, and once the bed is destroyed, he sleeps on my picnic table, which gets him in big trouble, but he does it anyway. We buy him a
nice dog bed about once per month, and he sleeps on it for about 3 weeks, and then shreds it one day.
So here's my point.
The tortoises destroy the plants planted for them, even though they have an abundance of food at their disposal. Instead of snacking randomly on the
smorgasboard before them and allowing everythign to grow, instead they eat one plant at a time until it is entirely devastated and won't grow back,
and then they move on to the next, until there is nothing green in their entire coop, and if it weren't for my human intervention, they would starve
The chickens do something similar with the blueberry bushes, and the leaf beds that form around the trees, and the hay in their coop. Not to mention
they defecate over everything in their coop, including the nests where they lay their eggs. Now, they are free to come and goe as they please, there
is no reason for the mess, but they are just dumb chickens. If it were not for human intervention, they would die of disease from their own
biological waste, and their chicks would be born into a disease infested filth. They also defecate in their water dishes until it is so nasty they
won't even drink it. We clean the water bowls almost daily.
The dog destroys his own comfy bed, and endures a monthly beating, that he knows is coming, because the day he does it, and he sees me, he hits the
ground and rolls over nad starts apologizing immediately.
If you've ever grown up around horses, you know they also do this to the grass and hay and trees. Most animals do.
In nature, a balance is often reached between predator and prey, but if something throws that balance out of whack, and some species is left
unchecked, they will destroy their environment to the point that it is unliveable, and then they will die. It happens in fish ponds, it happens to
deer, it happens everywhere.
Humans are the ONLY animal that is cognizant of its own environment and takes intentional steps to mitigate our impact! We are not perfect of course,
and we make mistakes, and we over-indulge, and we often create unintended consequences. We screw up a lot of things, and it is important to try and
remember to be "green." But, at least we are aware, and we try.
And we haven't even talked about the things we do in our environment for our own benefit, like piping in fresh water, piping out sewage, collecting
refuse and hauling it out to a highly engineered landfill, or recycling.
Humans do a lot of damage, but we do a lot to mitigate that damage. Animals do a lot of damage, and without human intervention or some balance of
nature, they just die from their own mistakes.