Animals under Attack


NEW ORLEANS — It's springtime and animals are under attack.

You would think that spring, when humans are most like animals, would be the very season to give animals special consideration. But no. The sturgeon, a venerable dinosaur-age holdout, is about to disappear. The flood-control dams in waterways from the Missouri to the Yellowstone River have finally done them in. Only a few thousand of these ancient beings remain.

Meanwhile, in the labs there is talk of cloning cows without brains so that we can eat meat without remorse. These brainless cows, the wisdom goes, will not suffer when they die so we won't have to feel bad. Why grow the whole cow? I ask you. Grow just the rump roast, or the tripe. Picasso really was a genius: he abstracted the cow until only its outline remained. He must have been seeing far into the labs of the future.

Even the images of animals are under attack: the much-maligned bat is now being sold at Easter in chocolate form. The manufacturer claim that it's to save them from their blood-sucking image. I think it's so that we can torture, manhandle and cut them to death every Easter just like rabbits.

Movies have long mistreated animals both in life and in their image, but now, it turns out, movie animals are disrupting cities. In Des Moines, Iowa, downtown business ground to a halt when huge sci-fi slugs were filmed attacking J.C. Penney's. I have nothing against real animals attacking downtown Des Moines, but movie animals only make people meaner to real animals.

The animal world is unfortunately incapable of a sustained defense. Here and there a bear will ravage a medicine cabinet. A herd of deer will eat some grapes. A weasel will commit suicide in a drain pipe. A stray wolf will eat a sheep. An alligator will snatch a student sleeping by the bayou. A mosquito will pierce the Off! defense. A spider will cause swelling.

It isn't much. Only the animals in us can defend the animals out there. It's spring. Let's feel for all creatures without offices in Washington.

Andrei Codrescu is editor of ''Exquisite Corpse.''

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