Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Answer to Global Warming: Eat Camels!

Hi all

I read this article in regards to the growing camel population issue in Australia. Naturally, our response is violence. After all, civilised behaviour is beyond us.

Read some interesting excerpts from the article:

"The animals, which now number more than one million, are destroying fragile ecosystems and trampling all over indigenous sacred sites. They foul ancient water holes and chomp through the boughs of endangered native trees.

Travelling in large, aggressive packs, they prevent Aboriginal women from venturing into the countryside, for fear of being attacked or trampled.

The situation is expected to get worse, with the camel population predicted to double every eight to 10 years unless action is taken.

The problem has grown so large that the Australian government recently pledged £10 million towards developing a camel control plan, which is expected to involve shooting them from helicopters.

His viewpoint is supported by environmentalists, who say that lean camel meat is not only healthier than beef and lamb but that by eating a beast known as "the ship of the desert" Australians would be doing their bit for climate change and conservation."

This article compells me to go buy a camel hump right now for dinner. After all, I would love to do my bit for climate change!

But in all seriousness, this article reminds me of just one thing - our species. Our species are the most destructive. We destroy natural ecosystems, trample over indigenous sacred sites, foul ancient water holes, destroy endangered native trees - and so much more!

Really, it would be morally consistent for those supporting this culling - or any culling of any species - to also support the culling of our own, given how destructive and damaging we are. Unwanted babies, vegetables and useless old folk should - by the culling logic, go.

This whole thing reminds me of a previous post regarding selective speciesism. Remember the puppy who was killed by two thugs? He was poured with love and affection by the masses. He even got surgery and thugs fined $75,000!
Or Michael Vick's dog fighting - the mass opposition and jail sentence he faced for his actions displayed the disapproval from everyone for his 'bad' deeds.

But, why is it that puppies and cats are given such high regard if they are hurt, whereas camels, kangaroos, chickens, cows, pigs, foxes is ok?

Logically it makes no sense. It is merely a nonsensical decision humans have made and over time it has manifested into the norm.

In my opinion, if you can justify culling a species because it is being destructive - you should be comfortable with the killing of ANY species, be it cute puppies or kittens as well as your own kind.

I am growing mighty tired of this ridiculous violent species that I am a part of. It is disheartening that we cannot stop and think of sterilisation of our first option or relocation rather than to kill and furthermore commodify the beings by wishing to create a 'sustainable agribusiness' from them. What's even more enraging is the final line of this article;

"Camels were imported into Australia from the Canary Islands in 1840."

We started this. We introduced them - now THEY have to pay for our actions. Typical.


Sarah said...

Weird. I just read this very same article.

I agree that we created the problem, but I'm going to ask you something that anyone who knows what damage feral animals do to the environment would ask:

What do we do?

It's an unfortunate aspect of reality that this problem is making other non-human animals suffer, and the ecosystems which support them. We have to do something. As vegans, we can rail against all we like in theory, but we have to start addressing the feral animal problem seriously - and that means no longer blowing it off by the "We started this. We introduced them - now THEY have to pay for our actions" response.

Unfortunately, this is reality, and we need to move beyond this simplified argument. Now that we've created the problem, it does no use to complain about the fact that it is there. The only reasonable course of action is to move forward...and that requires action. To not act is to cause additional suffering to ecosystems and native animals.

I'm just not sure what that action should be, and I think it's unfortunate that I haven't been able to have discourse with other vegans on these types of issues because it always comes back to "humans created the problem". Yes, we all know that. Let's move on.

End rant :-)

Amy K said...

Well, my main point is that why do we jump to culling right away when we could first put effort into other solutions such as sterilisation or relocation depending on the problem?

Lady Lazarus said...

It's funny, even as I was reading that article I had *exactly* the same reaction as you - "Hmmm, doesn't that sound like another species we know?" Disgusting.

Amy K said...


Yep, disgusting is the right word.

I think, we should think of this situation in terms of 'how would we handle this situation if they were humans?'

That would yield very different ideas in terms of population control, i would imagine.

If I had lots of land, i would keep them all and sterilise them myself!

Sarah said...

I understand your point, but I am just pointing out that it's not a productive way of discussing the problem. It's dismissive of the fact that there is a problem.

Yes, sterilisation should be explored, but there are challenges. This problem is a long standing one, and it is inaccurate to say that culling is the only thing they have explored. Just last year, a report on the problem stated:

An immunocontraceptive vaccine technology that is orally active and has a species-specific
immunogen is favoured for fertility control. Research into a feral pig anti-fertility vaccine that can be used as a platform from which to undertake similar research in camelids holds the greatest hope for this in the immediate future but requires funding for extension of the work into camels.

Three other novel approaches to manipulating fertility warrant attention: phage panned peptide
technology, the Talwar protein, and antigen delivery systems such as bacterial ghosts” (Lapidge et al. 2008).

We vegans like to think that fertility control is easy. It is not. And relocation in this instance is impossible, particularly relocation in a humane way (i.e. can you imagine relocating 1 million camels to their natural habitat, far away from Australia?).

Amy K said...


I am not in a position to make any real suggestions since I am not an Environmental Scientist or the likes - but I am in a position to rant and question, as that is what my personal blog is just for!

What I am saying is WHY is culling the only option being chosen now and WHAT would we do if they were humans.

Of course there are challenges to sterilisation - but..."undertake similar research in camelids holds the greatest hope for this in the immediate future but requires funding for extension of the work into camels."....WHY could money not be put into research? A certain 10 million, perhaps? Culling is easier and animals lives not valued so I guess thats why.

I said relocation depending on the problem, was not referring to this instance.

David said...

Sarah, I think the intent of Amy's post was not to offer any sort of solution to the problem, but to highlight and challenge our highly confused thinking when it comes to issues like this.

I think you may be mistaken in thinking that the problem is not being acknowledged though. It is. You're right, a solution to the problem which does not involve culling the camels may be a challenge. But the more people we can get the message across to - the message that non-human animals have morally significant interests and that we have no justification whatsoever for killing them because they are overpopulated, causing a severe environmental difficulty, other options are too expensive, etc - the easier it will be for discussion and investment in options which do not violate their basic right not to be treated as property to take place.

Bea Elliott said...

The thing about "invasive" species control or regulation to "pest" animals that always gets to me is that "science" always seems to be 10 years away from a non lethal solution. I don't get it. With all the billions of animals being experimented on, for all sorts of frivolous reasons --- the best minds still can't come up with a "birth control" for any animal. Not the wolves, big cats, kangaroos, alligators, etc. Clearly, the reason "science" is always dragging their feet with an effective solution is the lack of a profit motive. There's always more money to be gained from disposing of the animal's flesh and hide than it is to prevent the being from existance in the first place. It's just greed. :(