Somewhere between MD, PA and WV

Somewhere between MD, PA and WV

This one’s for you, Jerry Lay.

So we’re at the aquarium in Virginia Beach over Thanksgiving… we happen to catch the otter show on our way out the door.

Did you know that otters (I know, otter is the proper plural, sorry, just doesn’t sound right) are really dangerous?

What? Dangerous like the feral rabbit, you mean? Come ON.

And why are they so dangerous? Because they’ll eat anything and are afraid of nothing.

Wow. I got some respect for the little guys immediately.

The gentleman talked about how the adorable play — more like a nervous tic, almost– one of them never, ever stopped the whole 30 minutes of the program was due to being illegally kept as a pet and trained to do flips. They took him away from his owner and I guess like someone with Tourette’s (I’m reading Oliver Sacks right now, since my Grammy’s stroke) either the trauma of living as a pet and humiliation of allowing himself to be be trained to flip or the grief of losing his owner caused that behavior to be integrated indelibly and forever.

So the dude also said otter are nearly extinct because of trapping for fur. He passed around a pelt.

You know the baby has to pipe right up.

“But why? That *hurts* the otter. It’s NOT FAIR!” 

Some how it’s a lot cuter when she’s talking about animal cruelty than it is when she’s talking about me asking her to clean her room– the room *I* cleaned and *she* messed up.

My good little future PETA donor!

The gentleman mentioned that now with synthetics we have wonderful and warm fabrics we can use instead of animal products.

So the baby marches over to the folks sitting nearest to us to pass around her silky black fake fur coat. “See? This is just as nice as otter! And it doesn’t hurt!”

I was pretty damn proud, but at that point we thought we’d better go ahead and leave.

She asked me about it later. She was still indignant.

I explained that many years ago we didn’t have wonderful fake fur. In places where it was cold, people had to use animal furs to keep warm. In fact, Native Americans lived in harmony with nature, observing it carefully, taking only what they needed and carefully preserving equilibrium out of respect, love, and concern for future generations. When they hunted, they said prayers of thanks to the animals they killed, honoring the sacrifice the animal made so that the Indians could eat and live.

Only lately has it become unneccessary and cruel.

She was still pissed.

I said, okay. Are you angry at a lioness when she catches a gazelle to take home to her babies to eat?

She said no.

I said well, that’s because it’s natural, right? The lion and her babies have to eat. That’s how nature works.

Years ago that’s how people had to eat and keep warm. And that was okay. It was natural.

My own grandpa hunted birds and my granny made the best pheasant pot pie you ever, ever tasted. Just be careful not to crack your tooth on a bit of shot.

But now, we have so many delicious things to eat, and so many yummy options for cool clothes, we don’t have to kill animals to get the nourishment we need. We might want to honor the sacrifice an animal makes for us so that we can eat or have clothes on some special occasion– we might want to buy something leather at the thrift store so that we’re not supporting the industry but we’re not letting the items that cost the animal its life and are still perfectly good go to waste, either.

Gratitude and preservation certainly do as much good as contemptuous abstinence.  

So she was okay with that.

And we are totally, totally all about the fake fur.