Seals, Peacocks And Pigs, Oh My

Larry Price
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Wednesday - January 06, 2010
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It’s that time when members of the media try to figure out which stories in 2009 were the most gripping and outstanding. I like to look for patterns that hold fast throughout the years, and I think the animal stories - and the human reaction to them - were the most interesting.

After Hok Get, the dog that was abandoned on a boat in 2002, there was a lull in animal stories - a death or two at the zoo, but nothing out of the ordinary. Then someone butchered a dog left in a caddie shack at Moanalua Golf Course. A lackluster investigation discovered that two workers had taken the dog home and eaten him. The outrage was short-lived, though, because the word was the dog was killed for food, and the people who killed it were supposedly poor and hungry.

A short time later a pet pig was killed by a hunter, who testified that he didn’t know it was a pet pig. There wasn’t much public reaction to a hunter killing a pig.

But there was absolutely no sympathy for the lady who went ballistic over a noisy peacock in her neighborhood. She beat it to death with a baseball bat. She testified that the peacock was not an animal, but rather a pest and therefore she was not subject to animal cruelty laws. It was, after all, disturbing the peace and it merely paid the price - never mind how beautiful a peacock can be.

We even had graphic video of a whale calf tangled in fishing lines and near death, only to be rescued by local whale management authorities.

And just last week a tourist from Washington state vacationing in Hawaii suffered superficial injuries when she was attacked by an adult female Hawaiian monk seal on Kauai’s popular Mahaulepu Beach. The investigation says the seal, which was with her pup, apparently felt threatened by the woman and attacked.

Not many animals have powerful public foundations protecting them as whales and seals do. Everyone knows that if you even get close to a whale you are in deep trouble. The same is true for endangered monk seals. There is probably already more than one Hawaii attorney ready to sue the state for not keeping fishermen away from whales, and another for not having enough signs warning tourists to stay away from monk seals.

And with animals everywhere getting the upper hand, there’s the nation’s first confirmed case of a dog carrying a powerful swine flu strain and infecting a human being. This happened in New York, where I don’t think they have a lot of swine, but one can only hear the animal activists demanding their share of the swine flu vaccine, and they’ll probably want it released for dogs, rabbits, fighting chickens and other pets as well.

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