On survival

There’s a comment on my work blog that says, essentially, “fuck people: what about the fluffy animals?”.

It’s funny, but perhaps uniquely in the history of Planet Earth (if not the Universe) we as humans are in a position to put the interests of another species above our own. Robert Heinlein must be turning in his grave.

Yes, we have to look after/steward the planet and its inhabitants, insofar as that is necessary for our own survival/quality of life. I could quite happily live without giant pandas–as far as I can tell they’re an utter drain on resources and are too stupid to adapt to new conditions. Why should we care about them? Do they make our life better in any way? (Answer: possibly.) And don’t get me started on mosquitos.

Come the Apocalypse, could we eat them?

But apart from that, if it comes to kicking kittens in the face to save one cancer victim, count me in (h/t Tania).

Actually, come the Apocalypse, can we afford to have people around who would rather save random animals than fight for our survival as a species? That’s not such a daft question–given earthquakes, floods and meteorites, the human race is only a step away from serious trouble. Saving the planet is all well and good if our own survival is assured (and yes, our own survival might very well be contingent on other species’ survival).

Save the planet to save ourselves, sure. But let’s put an end to this nonsense that rates human lives as anything less than mind-numbingly special.

About rpg

Scientist, poet, gadfly
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14 Responses to On survival

  1. Eva Amsen says:

    Oh, sorry, did my mom comment on your work blog? (It sounds exactly like her. She is now, at this very moment, having a conversation with my cat.)

  2. Richard P. Grant says:

    Is her name Angela?

  3. Richard Wintle says:

    Interesting story, that one about “kicking kittens”. I’d not realized that we (and I mean “other”) forward-thinking Canadians had banned those ads. They always seemed a bit off-colour to me.
    As for Pandas – well, I rather like them, but their survival strategies are certainly not suited for a 21st-century, human-overrun world. Shame really.

  4. Richard P. Grant says:

    Yeah. I mean, if we could make coats out of their fur there’d be a reason for keeping them alive.

  5. Ian Brooks says:

    As for Pandas – well, I rather like them, but their survival strategies are certainly not suited for a 21st-century, human-overrun world. Shame really.
    TBH, I wouldn’t blame us much for this one. As Mr. Angry points out ad nauseum, they don’t have camouflage, they eat a rare and calorifically useless food and they don’t have sex with each other. I kind of think they’re trying to go extinct…

  6. Richard P. Grant says:


  7. Kristi Vogel says:

    as far as I can tell they’re an utter drain on resources and are too stupid to adapt to new conditions
    Hmmm, sounds like many Texas politicians.
    Can’t make fur coats out of them either.

  8. Jennifer Rohn says:

    I know it’s mean n’ nasty, but I always feel uncomfortable with animal charities. I know they are doing Humane, Worthy Work, but wouldn’t the money they’re spending putting broken hedgehog limbs into splints be better used in helping to feed hungry people?

  9. Richard P. Grant says:

    Maybe the hungry people should just eat the hedgehogs instead?

  10. Richard P. Grant says:

    Oh, and Kristi: splort

  11. Henry Gee says:

    Such nonsense could only ever have been dreamed up by people whose formative years were passed futilely in sterile laboratories where they spent mind-numbing hours transferring tiny quantities of colourless liquid from one vessel to another and back again, the grinding monotony relieved only by a coveted spell at a machine that goes ‘ping’, and are looking for some defenceless creature to blame for their own inner torment. Those of us with more balanced psyches and who live in the real world know (or, at least, have very good evidence to show) that those ecosystems that are most resistant to perturbation are those with the most species in them, and that includes giant pandas, as well as the innumerable worms, insects, microbes and so on that most people never see – but on whose continued health our own welfare depends. And apart from that, you’ve made one golden retriever very sad. You unfeeling oaf.

  12. Jim Caryl says:

    You’ve made all the baby Dolphins cry, you rotter.

  13. Richard P. Grant says:

    Henry, that wasn’t what the original commenter was saying, though.
    As long as they help us survive, or taste good, I’m all for diversity. Speciesist? You bet.

  14. Tom Webb says:

    Mitchell and Webb did a very funny sketch on this kind of thing, I think on their radio 4 show, a charity appeal along the lines of ‘for the price of providing clean water to a single African village, we will be able to keep this incontinent labrador in a pet hotel for the rest of her days’

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