We are SO MAD about this article that appeared in the New York Times on Thursday. Titled “Peter Rabbit Must Die: Humane ways to deal with a pest problem,” the article does everything BUT concentrate on humane ways of dealing with wildlife. Instead, the article is kicked off with a photo of a lop rabbit with a bulls-eye imposed on top.
The article goes on to introduce people — with their PHOTOS and weapon of choice — and how they take care of their “pests.” The story introduces you to Jessica who shoots snakes that frighten her. And Suzanne who clubs porcupines with a sledgehammer. It doesn’t stop there. There’s Joanna who drowns squirrels. And Wendell who shoots raccoons. Perhaps one of the worst offenders is Oskian who captures blue jays, ravens and crows and … kills them (we’ll reserve the gory details). The only person who did not allow the Times to use his name is the person known as the “Artist,” who shot woodchucks in his yard. (Let’s not even get into the journalistic ethic of using anonymous sources in stories.) The Artist is proud enough to admit to shooting woodchucks, but not enough to put his name on it.
What the Times does successfully in this story is glorify animal abuse. Let’s not forget that animals LIVE outside. Animals need food to live. If people are so worried about their carrot tops and lettuce patches, perhaps they should be growing their produce in a padded greenhouse. The yuppies the Times quoted could certainly afford to do that. And last I checked — raccoons don’t know how to pick a lock.
While the article briefly mentions The HSUS and ways to HUMANELY deal with wildlife — hell, they wrote an entire BOOK about the topic — it’s overwhelmingly lopsided. More attention and space should have been dedicated to humane solutions to dealing with wildlife. Oh wait. Isn’t that the subhead? Joyce Wadler has done an exceptional job of highlighting cruelty. Her sources seem to take pride in reporting their methods of “animal control.”
We’re disgusted. And we thump in your general direction. Given the opportunity, we will use that section for litterbox liner.