Sunday, January 25, 2009

Bent on an Errand of Madness


"What is true is that man has a power, literally beyond his comprehension, to destroy....

The lethality of some of what he manufactures, the incompetence with which he stores it or seeks to dispose of it....
the cavalier way in which he employs in his daily living substances that threaten his health, the leniency of the courts in these matters...

and the treatment of open land, rivers, and the atmosphere as if, in some medieval way, they could still be regarded as disposal sinks of infinite capacity....

makes you wonder, standing face to in the wind, if we weren't bent on an errand of madness.

The geographies of North America, the myriad small landscapes that make up the national fabric, are threatened -- by ignorance of what makes them unique, by utilitarian attitudes, by failure to include them in the moral universe, and by brutal disregard" (from Barry Lopez - About This Life).

In a state made famous for demanding its residents hold to a strict moral code - I stand here in these killing fields of western Oklahoma and ask... by what mad reasoning, by what blood thirsty, monstrous god do you define your moral universe? I want no part of it.
______________
My friend and I encountered these five coyotes strung up on a short stretch of barbed-wire fencing on Highway 34 going north from Woodward toward Boiling Springs on Friday, January 23 in Woodward County, Oklahoma . On further inspection - we noticed each of the coyotes jaws had been wired shut and each had been hung on the fence by a special cut along the ligaments of the ankle - indicating they had been hung alive. Some of the coyotes also had foreign objects shoved into their mouths.

35 comments:

BigAssBelle said...

Please, please send this for publication. That this travesty continues needs to be well publicized. Your images will do more than any words. I am with you, I want no part of it and it sickens me.

Mary said...

Gulp. This hurts. I have zero tolerance for human criminals. Hang them.

This must have been very difficult to witness and then to compose here. Your heart is big, Tim.

Vickie said...

Oh, Tim. This is more than about coyotes. Its about inhumane hatred and cruelty that doesn't stop with animals. This is a crime that I hope will be stopped and punished.

When I first saw the images, I thought of the slaughter of wolves, of golden eagles and of thousands of hawks on Hawk Mountain, but this display goes far beyond fear and ignorance.

jaysonwithaY said...

I’ve seen farmers hang shot-dead crows in the field for fair warning. And I cringe, though with partial understanding. However, a torturous death, as it appears, does not change the dier’s behavior, nor their kin’s. I agree, it is“madness.” Reckless retribution. I do not depend on a lifestock livelihood; have not been driven to madness from a dwindling herd.
I suppose I would shoot a coyote if I had to choose victims. Though it would be done with a solemn eulogy in quiet honor of their wild twilight song.

Barry Moses (Sulustu) said...

This is truly barbaric.

Chele said...

OMG! This is so sickening. My son and I were appalled at these pictures and wonder how anyone could do such a thing. Where is their conscience?

Julie Zickefoose said...

I have seen this on the rangeland of Montana with jackrabbits and coyotes, and I've never been able to get the images out of my mind. It's likely that these animals were first caught in leghold traps--cruelty atop cruelty. It's sometimes intended as an archaic and brutal "warning" to other coyotes to stay away from one's land, a sickening macho posturing of dominion over the "varmints" and undesireables. They do it to hawks and eagles, too.

I am thinking of Matthew Shepard, left to die the same way on a wire fence in Wyoming and thinking that anyone who can be so cruel to a canid is but a step away from doing the same thing to a human being: reason enough to prosecute the criminal. Doubtless the people who murdered Matthew had seen it done, or hung up coyotes themselves.

I am sorry that you had to find it, Tim. My heart aches.

Oklahoma Farmgirl said...

OMG...How I hate it when this ugly, barbaric, cruel situation again starts up. This is & has been such common practice in OK for decades. I remember these images on the fences leading to my grandparents' farm. It always made me sick & it still does. This has to stop. And I agree, it does forewarn of a deeper problem with respect for life. Ugly, stupid, cruel Redneck mentality. When will "we" grow past this type of behavior?

Thanks for this post Tim, & I, too, am so sorry you had to find this.


Blessed be...

Kelly said...

Tim, I was thinking about how sad I was that you had to see this. I know your heart and how much this must have hurt. Then I thought who better than you, you who would not be cavalier about what you had witnessed, you who would post for the world to see the inhuman way in which we treat living beings, you who would take this post a step further, you who will do oh so much more than just reflect and talk about the awfulness. Your Sister.

zeladoniac said...

So grim, so sad, so barbaric. Another horrific "custom" that needs to be stopped. My heart breaks seeing these sad beautiful creatures desecrated so vilely.

The Barry Lopez quote says it very well and match your photos perfectly.

Mel said...

Dear Tim,

I really don't know what to say. Cruelty is cruelty, regardless of the 'victim' - living creature. That shouldn't be tolerated :(

It is so hard to watch. It hurts badly.

I'm sorry that you found that, but I'm also glad that you post it here, for people to see and take action.

Un abrazo fuerte,

Mel

Lynne said...

I can't swallow past the lump in my throat and I can't find the words-

maggie's mind said...

So very sad. I'm just speechless and just cannot understand.

P. Ollig said...

The saddest thing about all of this is that it is perfectly legal. In most western states coyotes are defined as "vermin" (defined as "noxious, troublesome or objectionable animals"). This legal status grants anyone the right to do anything they want to them.

As a result, you are allowed to shoot, trap, poison, blow up, tear apart, hang, maim or do pretty much anything you want to any coyote at any time and in any place.

The people who did this are not guilty of any legal crime. They are, of course, brutal savages who deserve to spend the rest of their lives rotting in jail. Unfortunately, that will never happen unless enough people demand that the legal status of all animals listed as "vermin" be changed (that includes fox, coyotes, prairie dogs, etc).

Wyoming actually wanted to classify grey wolves as vermin, which is the primary reason the USFWS refused to delist the species for so long. Of course, not being listed as vermin didn't really mean much, since as soon as they WERE delisted every single wolf outside of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks was shot and killed within less than a month. They've since been RElisted.

Thanks for posting this, TR. Mindless brutality needs to be exposed if it is to be condemned and stopped.

Suzi-k said...

The chilling thing about this is that I have a virtually IDENTICAL photo, taken in the Karroo, South Africa, of black backed Jackals strung up on a barbed wire fence. Which makes one wonder about the universality of mankind's propensity for evil..... I think the veneer of civilization is very thin, and in places wears right off remarkably easily, and is so easily rationalised as acceptable due to the circumstances etc.... luckily for every ignorant brutal idiot, I have met many more decent kind hearted individuals, whose veneer remains intact!

Lana Gramlich said...

This is very sad...it hurts me inside to see this. Did y'all report it to the authorities? Animal cruelty is animal cruelty, whether it's a pet or a wild critter. <:(

Ferreira-Pinto said...

This is simply disgusting, makes one sick!

James said...

This just makes me sick.

My blog is called Coyote Mercury and I'm always saddened when I see the referral logs showing how many visitors find my site looking for info on ways to poison, shoot, trap, kill and skin coyotes. They don't find what they're looking for there, of course, but it never ceases to break my heart a little bit. These pictures break my heart alot.

Previous commenters have said, and I agree that anyone who would intentionally inflict pointless torture on another creature is capable of inflicting it on another person. It should not be tolerated. Sick, sick, sick.

Louise said...

This makes so sad and sick and angry that I can't even see as I type. People who do these things should receive like treatment. Real tough they are to be able to do that to an animal. Makes me disgusted. I came her for My World,and I follow your blog but have been behind in reading all blogs. I commend your My World post as well but wonder what can be done about things like this. Are the resources there to catch the idiots that do such things? It's one thing to shoot a predator that is attacking one's livestock, but this treatment is hideous. Intolerable.

Gaelyn said...

OMG! This is awful. If there isn't a law against this, there should be. What sadistic minds. They should be given the same treatment.

Kathleen said...

The pain and horror of this scene hurts at the cellular level. I would guess that those who did this would proclaim that they are “free” to kill these unprotected souls. They would proclaim their freedom to kill like a badge of honor not understanding that their acts only show evil and ignorance. Animals were free before man. It is time animals be able to live free from man’s brutality. Our country’s history is a progression of freedom. From the Revolution, though the Emancipation Proclamation, through civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights and now, animal rights, and the rights of our planet, we are evolving. We obviously have a long way to go.

jenx67 said...

TR - This is why you should win the award for cultural blogger. Culture is not always beautiful art exhibits, symphonies or ballets. Dear God in heaven. How could someone do this? This should go viral. I'm posting a link.

Kathiesbirds said...

T.R. this is horrible? Why would someone do this? Is it just for the thrill or is someone trying to defend their livestock? I am confused? I can't imagine this type of cruelty. I can't imagine a genuine farmer or rancher doing something like this. Who would do this? Isn't this against the law?

I echo your outrage. Now I understand what you are trying to communicate. I will never understand this type of murder.

Anonymous said...

There are other things that this may represent other than wanton cruelty.

If this happened in Arizona on the Rez, I would say that it was an attempt at an exorcism, or worse, an attempted invocation for transformational purposes.

Lastly, though I think least, it could be an experiment on a smaller, trial species. Remember the lame sheep in Silver Blaze?

I think if someone wanted simply to kill these animals they would have gone about it in the usual way.

This should be reported to a wide variety of authorities.

T.R., please don't go journalistic and start digging for answers - leave it. Who ever did this is bad in lots of ways.

Chris said...

I can't get my mouth up off the floor...these pics are in contrast to the beautiful (yes, he was not mangy, but cream colored, thick fur and gorgeous markings) coyote that I saw along the snow covered road in the Sierra's a couple of weeks ago...several cars had stopped to take photos and just gaze at him...he in turn posed and stared back at us with intense beautiful eyes...I hope this image will replace the one you have in your head, but probably not!

okiesister said...

This really made me sick and then angry.
I'm glad you documented it, but sorry you had to see this.

Elaine Warner said...

Horrible! And the sad thing is that the people who do these things are allowed to reproduce!

nina said...

Tim, this is horrifying.

mon@rch said...

uggg

The Early Birder said...

Tim, I'm amazed at the openess of this cruelty even if it is 'legal'. Power to your elbow for publicising this inhumane act.

Selma said...

I feel sick seeing this. I know coyotes can cause problems for livestock and so on, but there is no excuse for doing this. Ever. It is monstrous. How awful.

TuTu's Bliss said...

There are days I miss Oklahoma and then there are days like today when I don't. Thank you for sharing this.

Dusty said...

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. - Gandhi

Wren said...

OMG, Tim - how could you be brave enough to photograph this when I could barely stand to look at the photos? I don't know whether to cry or throw up.

ThinkLady said...

My stomach is roiling, my mind boiling. People have criticized "Avatar" for its supposedly lame plot and story, but here in our own backyard is the same story, playing out again, over and over again. These kinds of atrocities are perpetrated by brutal bullies, small-minded, ignorant, backward people, and although it's the worst of humanity, we all need to see it. Humanity's shadow side is never pretty, but the path to doing away with this kind of monstrosity is to face it squarely and be sickened by it, to make the shadow fully public. Thank you for having the courage to take us into the shadow.

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