Sommer Marsden has graciously invited me to post my paranormal book blurb on her blog, along with a little poem for halloween….
As you know, I’ve pledged to give 10% of my royalties from both Leaving the Pack and Five Days on Ballyboy Beach to WWF, the World Wildilfe Fund.
I’ve been giving to WWF for ten years now, and I hope that as sales for my books (the ones in the future will also have similar pledges) increase, so will my donation. At the moment, since I am only starting out in the world of novelist, I am not nearly at the stage where even 100% of royalties cover 10% of my donation, but the plan is that will change as I publish more books (an erotic novella out in Jan under a pseudonym and a YA out next spring/summer with Muse It Up!), all going well!
Anyway, this time of year is when my membership comes due, so I thought I’d post the receipts (with the number of dollars written as X and the transaction numbers deleted to maintain my privacy) to show that I am making good on the pledge.
So, now, before I paste it in, go and tell your friends to buy a book which will help a good cause, or better yet, go and donate to said cause yourself if you can!
Today at 3:16 AM
|Transaction ConfirmationPlease retain for your records|
Your transaction has been processed by WorldPay, on behalf of WWF – World Wide Fund for Nature (World Wildlife Fund).
::: This is to confirm :::
Transaction for the value of: USD X
Description: Payment 11 of FuturePay agreement ID _____________
From: WWF – World Wide Fund for Nature (World Wildlife Fund)
Merchant’s cart ID: newmember,Dr. David O’Brien,optedin,19/March/1974
Authorisation Date/Time: 24/Oct/2014 01:16:06
WorldPay’s transaction ID: 1________
This is not a tax receipt.
::: Questions? :::
Email Monika Kull at firstname.lastname@example.org, and attach this email receipt.
::: WorldPay Says :::
This confirmation only indicates that your transaction has been processed successfully. It does not indicate that your order has been accepted. It is the responsibility of WWF – World Wide Fund for Nature (World Wildlife Fund) to confirm that your order has been accepted, and to deliver any goods or services you have ordered.
If you have any questions about your order, please email WWF – World Wide Fund for Nature (World Wildlife Fund) at: email@example.com, with the transaction details listed above.
Thank you for shopping with WWF – World Wide Fund for Nature (World Wildlife Fund).
Today at 9:37 AM
Many, many thanks for renewing your annual contributions to WWF by updating your credit card details with WorldPay, our online processor ! I just received your generous payment of USD X for 2014.
Your regular and long-lasting support of our work to protect nature and wildlife is much appreciated !
With my best wishes
E-mail: | 1196 Gland, Switzerland | WWF International | | Development Monika Kull firstname.lastname@example.org
Maybe I’m getting soft in my old age. But I don’t think so.
This kind of thing has always pissed me off – see the poem at the bottom of this post, written in 2000…
So, I’m pretty much okay with killing animals when that’s what has to be done. Sometimes it’s for food (though individuals might not agree with that) and sometimes it’s for human safety. As I said in a recent post, there are always priorities, and human safety is paramount.
But I don’t agree with the killing of two animals recently (a park deer and a pet dog) – though they were done in the name of “human safety.”
They were actually done through 10% laziness and 90% sheer fucking stupidity.
When an animal has to suffer the consequence of some human’s stupidity it really fucking gets my goat. Really.
I must admit that have a real problem with stupidity.
Okay, we all do something stupid now and then.
It was pretty stupid – in hindsight, perhaps – to walk into an enclosure with a testosterone-crazy animal that weighs more than you, has more muscles – and legs- than you, and is armed with 14 spikes coming out of its head, alone, unarmed. But the dude didn’t know much about deer – the deer are normally very standoffish, and the rut is a different thing altogether.
That’s not the stupidity I’m talking about.
I’m talking about shooting the deer, afterward, as if the deer has turned into a man-eater, or a nuisance bear liable to break into someone’s home and attack their sleeping children.
It’s a fucking deer. Put it back with the rest of the herd and let it fight the other stags, and there will be no further problems. Though, of course, make sure the workers know not to make the same mistake again.
No, the deer made the mistake of being a dumb animal. And a tasty one at that – so what if it’s not in the wild and we’re not hunting it? We have an excuse, and a stupid excuse is better than none. So the deer died for doing what it does, which is why it was brought to the park in the first place, and we’ll make the same fucking mistake with the next deer that knows no different (they’ve already allowed a younger male to be in the same situation, alone in one part of the park with only humans to take its interest – there’s not even a bush to spar against). And then we’ll lament and shoot that deer.
Right now there is a lone deer in the same place which could attack a lone keeper.
That’s what I’m talking about.
This is institutional stupidity – the kind of stupidity that happens again and again because it’s ingrained in the system and you can’t seem to find anyone who has responsibility for something that actually understands a fucking iota of what they are supposed to know about.
That shit really pisses me off.
I mean the kind of errors that lead to the killing of a dog called Excalibur – yeah, pretty fucking over-the-top name for the runt it was, but that’s beside the point – are the same fucking dose of idiocy that might lead to the death of a shit load of people, not just in Alcorcón, Madrid (a place I taught English in for 2 years and got to know a lot of folk) but all around Spain, if not corrected pretty fucking quickly, and by that I mean last week already.
For those who don’t know, Excalibur was the pet dog of the Spanish nurse who was the first person to contract Ebola outside Africa during the current outbreak. She went hospital, her husband went in beside her, and her dog went to the biohazard fire.
The people who might be infected from this nurse will hopefully not get infected, and will hopefully not have pets.
The big mistake the government made – and it’s the minister of health, the one who refuses to resign even now, who made Mistake Number One – was to bring infected people out of Africa to let them die at home (they died) in the first place: creating the possibility of spreading the virus to a whole new population. All the eminent virologists in Spain are rightly up in arms about not being even asked their opinion. But that’s the point – those in power could give a fuck about the scientific and medical opinion, because they don’t want to follow advice: they want to do what they want and will do it. And they won’t apologise for it, and they sure as fuck won’t resign.
Even after international experts said it would be better to keep the dog alive to at least test whether human dog transmission is possible – information we might fucking need soon enough as we are embroiled in a breakout if these clowns don’t get their shit together – they went ahead and killed it.
Like a dog can’t sit in a cage in a hospital ward – it’s not like your average appendicitis patient is going to be sleeping next door to the Ebola sufferer. Okay, maybe it’s not easy, but it can be done.
AAAnd they didn’t bother taking any samples. Why would they do anything clever like that? The dog has to die because it might be infected, but lets not find out, in case someone says we didn’t need to kill it. Whether or not it was infected, you didn’t need to kill it: it was scientific information on four legs, fuckwits!
There was a huge backlash against the idea of putting down the dog – the animal rights folks turned out in flocks and blocked the road, etc. It was nice to see – it would be nice to see the same reaction next time they think of bringing infected folk back home to die, or letting the president (the embodiment of stupidity having no glass ceiling in politics) return from wherever he has fled to avoid questions on the crisis.
Maybe the deaths of these animals – guilty only of being made dangerous by human stupidity (though the same can be said of bears and lions and many others) – will serve as an impetus to make us join together and get rid of the idiots? After all, it’s not just us they are endangering, but a whole planet full of other animals too.
Meanwhile, here’s that poem…..
Accidents will happen
A kid sliced his ear off the other day;
Down by me in the field, on a swing from a tree.
We used to have a swing there when I was young.
Anyway, he lost it somehow when swinging;
Cut clean off apparently.
So who was to blame for this minor tragedy?
The authorities, for not having a playground;
Or at least not preventing kids from making their own?
Probably the parents, for not taking proper care.
His peers, for forcing the obviously incompetent kid
Up the tree to launch off leaving his ear?
It was no one’s fault of course –
It was just a freak accident.
No. Sorry. Actually; it was the tree’s –
They cut it down next day.
We’re going to have to learn to all get along, eventually…
I had originally thought of using that title for a blogpost/rant about cycling in the city – but everyday I get on my bike new things occur to me about that, so it’s not quite finished!
Anyway, I decided to write this after reading that a farmer had killed a bear central Italy (http://www.rewildingeurope.com/news/the-sad-story-of-a-killed-young-bear-brings-24-mobile-electric-fences-to-the-central-apennines/ The photo above is from the cited article, copyright Bruno D’Amicis/Rewilding Europe, of Marsican / Abruzzo brown bear (Ursus arctos marsicanus) adult in spring mountain meadow. Critically endangered subspecies. Central Apennines, Abruzzo, Italy. May 2012
I asked myself the question: How much effort is wildlife worth?
I mean, really, how much effort is too much to bother with? Will people (the great mass of us in general) keep on saying, “That’s asking too much of us. We’re all for wildlife and nature and that, but really, we have priorities…”
There are always priorities.
And we have to place human life above other life (for the moment: let’s not get ahead of ourselves yet!). So if there is a conflict between an aggressive bear and a human, well, yes, shoot the bear. Even in cases where a bear has become a nuisance because people have not made the effort to keep their food safe or their garbage cans closed, it’s probably necessary to kill the bear.
This can go to extremes, of course: just today a deer in my local park (a mini-zoo in the old walls closed off to the public – I’ve videos on my youtube channel…) that gored a worker who didn’t make the effort to take precautions during the rut, and went in to feed the animal with no protection (a stick!) and no other person to help (or even know about it) if there was a problem has been removed – most probably via lead injection.
Was that necessary? Hardly. The deer hasn’t become a man-killer, like a man-eating tiger…
But that wasn’t even the case in Italy. The bear was raiding chickens. Instead of going to the bother of putting in an electric fence, however, the farmer decided it was handier to shoot the bear, so he did just that. End of problem.
But not exactly. The bear is protected. The farmer will pay a fine – one hopes. The move to rewild Italy has meant the expansion of the bear population into areas from which they’d been eradicated, and where people had got used to, got lazy about, not having to take elementary precautions for their livestock from these predators.
Of course, farmers still put a fence around their chickens, to protect them from predators that haven’t been eradicated – foxes, stoats and weasels, etc. Is it that much more effort to put in an electric fence? Obviously was for this guy. Will his fine exceed the price of an electric fence? Well, that’s hard to know.
And farmers still shoot foxes – they’re just hard to exterminate across a whole landscape.
To give an example of just how reluctant some (even wildlife-advocates) can be to do anything different, or inconvenience themselves in the least, an English angling spokesman Mark Owen, head of freshwater at the Angling Trust, was quoted in a recent Guardian article about rewilding (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/sep/19/-sp-rewilding-large-species-britain-wolves-bears) as saying that reintroducing beaver would produce “a list of concerns, including half-gnawed trees posing a threat to fishermen.” I mean, come on! Give me a fucking break, as they say.
Can we ask the anglers to avoid sharp sticks? Or should we start to put fences along the rivers to stop the poor lads potentially falling in?
Of course, it’s mostly a wish to keep things the way they are: keep the sheep on the hills, the rivers running straight and fast. “Don’t inconvenience us with new situations we have to change our habits for.”
But inconvenience is something we all have to look forward to, people. It’s a coming!
Hopefully, if we do things right, it will be relatively minor instead of very fucking major. But it’s coming.
After the shooting of the bear, the rewilding team decided to pay for farmers to install electric fences, so lower their inconvenience. Perhaps, if we, as a society want wildlife, we have to pay for the farmer’s fences? Perhaps.
But the sway of the farmer is waning – their insistence that we keep everything the way they prefer is not going to last forever. Sheep farming might be what people think has been going on forever on our hillsides, but not in the way it’s currently practiced, where sheep could be left untended for weeks on end. The word shepherd meant something – still does in many parts of the world. But sheep farmers have labelled their way of life a tradition that must be supported by subsidies. There was a time before we left our hillsides to be grazed to the nub and there will be a time afterwards.
Farming doesn’t have a premium on the past as future. Nobody thought of implementing subsidies to keep cinemas afloat when video took their business away. I saw a video shop in Barcelona on the television just last week – looking for some government help to stay open, because they were the first, and would probably be the last ever video store in the country, and were an example of an industry that has gone by the wayside.
So sheep farming, as currently practiced might have some value as a show piece, but we can keep flock or two around Bunratty Castle and preserve them that way, if we really have to, like we have people spinning yarn and making wooden barrels – all those traditional skills and jobs that are no longer economically viable.
Farming, of course, is vital in a way that coopering is not. We need to have a source of food – and I’m willing to pay top dollar for meat, as I think we should be for all our food, especially milk and eggs.
But we all need to learn to get along, and move forward. Because I was thinking that while paying farmers for livestock that are killed by bears and wolves is the sensible thing to do to get acceptance for large predators, it might not always be considered the best idea.
No. If the farmer’s keep losing expensive animals, perhaps we (the people) should eventually prohibit livestock that are going to be expensive for us to pay for, or, if there is a farmer who is too lazy to put up fences and bring in stock and keep them protected, well, let him pay for his own animals.
If he reacts like the farmer in Italy, and kills the predator let him go to prison for a proper time, and confiscate his farm to pay for further conservation to remediate his actions…
It could all escalate pretty quickly.
Yet the balance of power between farmers – who traditionally had political clout – and non-rural folk, is going towards the city dwellers – who, ironically, want to see bears and wolves, as well as beavers and lynx, return to places they themselves perhaps rarely visit…
The countryside is changing. It’s inevitable.
So let’s all try to get along right now.