John Adams once said that "if all men were virtuous, there would be no need for Government." Nothing truer has ever been said.
Like you, I deplore mistreatment of animals and support animal rights and laws in their behalf. My own two cats give me orders and I humbly obey. I am a dietary vegan (I don't even drink milk or eat cheese) and pretty much a gardening vegan too (I don't use any amendments made from animals part or excreta).
When I suggested that camels might be used to forage up thistles, conjured up an idyllic picture of contented animals lazily pulling them up under the care of something like certified, humane camel handlers.. What you describe is a pathetic exploitation of animals for personal gain, an obscene zoo.
I agree that the cupidity of the human race can sometimes be astonishing, which is one reason I support advances in technology that can decrease animal exploitation (for example, I would rather have a hybrid car than a cart pulled by a beast of burden).
Your comment about how quickly the tough thistle softens when steamed set me to recalling that the railroads used to control unwanted vegetation by super-heating it with steam from the locomotives. I wonder if thistles could be steam-cooked right in the ground, and given as dessert to whichever hungry animals or persons wanted them.
Bob Monie, zone 8
---Actually, there are llamas withing 4 miles of me, ostriches within
a mile, and we had lots of Rheas and a pair of Emus for a few years,
(abandoned by the owners) until the neighbor's kids thought it was
funny to shoot them with BB guns. None of those ratites were killed by
the BB's directly, but the Rheas died from fright since they are
naturally nervous, albeit lovely animals (called "fence runners" in
their native and naturalized countries), the Emus escaped, and were
found later, dead.
Within 3 miles are: Elk, Moose, an albino deer, and a -yep- pair of
camels. 3 hours north are a herd of zebras proper, zeedonks (or
whatever the name is: cross between zebras and donkeys), 13 camels, a
lioness cub, 2 tigers, and a few wallabeyes. The kangaroo pair that
was supposed to breed didn't make it, I don't know why. That was at
last knowledge, 2 months ago, from scuttlebutt.
About an hour away is a horrible "private" zoo, where monkeys, grizzly
and black bear, tigers, lions, aardvarks, raccoons, zeedonks, and
other critters live in squalor. Last I heard from the owner himself,
he really hated the tigress, she actually bent her cagebars trying to
get at him once. Her cage is about 10x20', half of a cage with a bar
wall in the middle, that is 20x20'. Shared with the black bears. The
bears spend their time on the opposite side of the cage from the
tigress, for obvious reasons. Seems the visitors don't care, they
spend their monies and like the show. I gave up trying to get a
F*&^%$#@ thing done long ago. Handed it over to the Humane Society and
the DNR, among others, with all the documentation I could gather. That
was years ago. He's still in business.
My son had a special, wonderful, relationship with the Emus that lived
with us. So much for those "weird" autistics, and "stupid" ratites.
Emus are loyal, wonderful, incredible creatures; with an unrealized
(by us) soul and intelligence. What happened to them was a Damn Shame.
What happened to all of these creatures was a Damn Shame. But the
neighbor kids are only the logical manifest of a larger attitude.
There is much trading in "exotic animals" in Iowa. Not always the best
for the animals, but sure makes good bucks for the local yokels.
Mom Earth has Good Reason For What She Does. Listen to Her. Some
critters can adapt, but sometimes the adaptatation is too well, or not
quite well enough, in the time frame, for the needed balance. And,
sometimes, humans are culturally or individually incapable of honoring
Sorry Bob, I am not trying to just be contrary here. But, I have seen
such abuse in this area- was even a part of it, until I learned what
went on I hadn't looked close enough at, from the start. To My Shame.
Nothing is worse than a heartfelt convert, I know, but camels in Iowa
do exist, just not necessarily happily. With best efforts at good
pasture or other great living, there will be those who see them as
less than alive, and quite useful for prurient, violent recreation. deb
> > Camels in Iowa would be a strange site indeed, but if they eat the
> > thistles, the story might wind up on "60 Minutes." Camels, I am told,
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