October 27, 2005
The price of the crime

We read it in the newspapers, we hear it on the radio every day, every hour, that hundreds of thousands, nay, millions of chickens, geese, ducks and turkeys are being pitilessly exterminated all over the world. We see them on television running for life, desperately flapping their wings, we hear their cries of terror as they are brutally grasped by men in masks and overalls, piled on top of each other in containers and either gassed or burned alive or thrown into pits and buried alive. And we accept it. There is no outcry, no protest, no scream of indignation. Even the World Federation for the Protection of Animals (WFPA) is keeping quiet. Nobody dares to accuse the administrations who are responsible for this and raise their voices to say out loud that this is not a way to treat sensitive, living beings, and that this is a crime and a heavy collective guilt for which we unfailingly will have to pay.

The price may be the loss of our migratory birds, along with the devastating and unimaginable consequences for the environment and for our own survival.

Migratory birds with their potential to spread avian flue have suddenly become the mortal enemies of man. "Killerenten" - killer ducks - is the name given by a popular Swiss newspaper to the innocent wild ducks and geese that are flying into our lands at this time, day after day, to pass the winter on our lakes. And in certain eastern European countries we can already see hoards of humans roaming about destroying birds nests in panic-stricken fear of some hypothetic virus. In blind and furious determination they are demolishing and burning down nesting areas and barricading all openings to cow sheds with netting and meshing to stop swallows from building their nests under the roofs and beams - a clear death sentence for that already heavily threatened species of birds.

What in heaven's name has yet to happen before we recognise in our unrestrained consumption of meat and our abject and highly dangerous methods of factory farming the very source of our misery? How much more hardship, suffering and catastrophes still need to occur before we understand that the vile and stupid maxim of "mankind before all else" is leading us to ruin?