Animals & Nature

2010-1-14 04:13:00

I thought Dan's comments on animals and nature were interesting so I am including them for the archives. I will make some comments at the end.

Quoting JJ from a previous post, Dan first wrote:

"'One thing that impressed me was the imperfection of nature in taking care of its own. The poor elk were half starved and freezing.'"

Dan responded with:

"This is a hard one. Is nature really all that imperfect in taking care of her own? she seems to have done pretty well for millions of years. Perhaps those few poor elk died so that the entire species could continue/be made stronger - there are just too many unknowns for me to feel very comfortable interferring.

"I have tried to gradually revert my goats back to natural foraging for themselves (several of them had been raised in a small pen and hand-fed their entire lives) and have found that if I feed them, even just once, they tend to stand around the feedbunk hollering for a handout for several days rather than going out to forage for themselves.

"Interestingly enough, the babies that were born here and raised to adult without ever being fed manufactured feed (or grains which they don't eat in nature) - turn up their noses at it as if it is an affront to their sensibilities - poison :-) All we have done for them is provide a relatively safe place to pasture, a drafty shed where they can get out of the direct elements, clean water, salt and trace minerals, and massive amounts of vitamin C if they happen to get a sniffle (which is becoming increasingly rare).

"It really pulls on the heartstrings sometimes but if left to themselves, goats at least, seem to be able to almost manufacture forage even in the dead of winter - unlike cows they can eat about anything organic. But if they were consistently fed I think they would stand at the bunk and cry until they starved to death. As it is, restraining myself from feeding them, even with the horrible cold/snow we've had, they haven't lost condition. They are dancing with this heat wave (> 32) we're having though :-)

"We have found the same to be true of our cats - they will NOT mouse (except for fun if one happens to run by :-) unless we only feed them enough to keep them from completely starving. Otherwise they will stand on the porch all day waiting for their handout. We do have one old cut "tom" that still hunts constantly, hungry or not, unless it is both below zero with lots of snow. If he isn't hungry, he brings his kill back for the other cats. He has no teeth left in his head but he seems to have learned how to tenderize it enough to wolf the whole thing down. If he catches something to big, he will either bring it to the other cats or find one of us to butcher it for him :-) His name is Jorge, jet black and 15 pounds of scars.

"Anyway, in the past I have worried at feeding wild animals - birds, squirrels, deer, etc - for the same reason. I wouldn't mind doing it as a last resort if they were CERTAIN to starve, but most of us are not fit to judge - most times animals are more healthy in natural conditions we consider extreme than they would be in conditions we consider comfortable and sometimes the weaker ones NEED to be weeded out if they become overpopulated, feed supplies short, need to evolve to meet changing conditions, etc.

"I am afraid that if they become dependent upon me to feed them and then for some reason I cannot, that they will be even WORSE off than if I had simply let them be to begin with. For another thing - mother nature's selection of the fittest is short-circuited by so doing - maybe we're in for another ice age and this present intermittent extreme winter weather is her way of preparing species to survive it - ie; those that have cold survival genes survive to breed the next generation and those that don't die out.

"If we interfere in this natural process, we are likely to be contributing to the extinction of species. Mother Nature has designed this process over millions of years of trial and error and we KNOW it works as it is - at the very least we should not interfere in it lightly with a flippant "obviously if they are starving, they MUST (should) be fed" attitude.

"I'm not saying that's your (anyone's) attitude/opinion, just using the opportunity to state mine."


You put a different slant on animals in nature than I was leading to, but it was interesting and you direct us toward the truth that the closer we can get to nature the greater the benefits.

It is also interesting to correspond the animals in your account to people. As soon as they feel that someone will take care of them they start getting lazy and lose the ability to take care of themselves.

Your point in taking care of ourselves carries over into diet. In most cases everything we do to alter our food supply actually decreases the quality. Those into natural foods believe that the closer the food is to the natural state the more nutritious it is and the more trace elements. Wild berries are better than cultivated ones. The same with wild herbs. Some wild ginseng is so rare and potent that it glows in the dark and is worth thousands of dollars an ounce.

When I said that nature often doesn't take that good of care of its own I didn't mean that nature doesn't supply the most nutritious ingredients, but nature's harvest is often in short supply. Wild animals often starve or freeze to death in the winter or get burned in forest fires in the summer. Either way the suffering is intense and makes one feel sorry for them.

Djwhal Khul once said that the human kingdom will be the savior of the animal kingdom. This idea runs totally contrary to the views of many modern environmentalists who see humanity as a virus that needs to be eliminated.

On the other hand, humanity is a part of nature and I think we will eventually achieve correct balance with our environment. When this is achieved we will assist the animals in a natural way so they will be able to lead carefree lives in relative abundance with much less pain and suffering than uis now the case.

I raised chickens and pigs when I was a teenager. My chickens were truly free range and ate lots of bugs and grass but had no trouble gorging themselves on any grains I gave them. The pigs I raised would eat just about anything that's organic. When I was first married I got a goat to mow our lawn. That was a good deal for me. I got out of mowing the lawn and got some goat milk in return. She loved grass, but would certainly wolf down any grain I would feed her.

On the other hand, I have no trouble in believing that an animal totally dependent on nature will prefer the natural foods.