One of the myriad reasons the world is in the dire state it is right now is because of the scale of humanity's sheer disconnection from nature.
After a cow attacked a man who came to the aid of a screaming woman in South Auckland's Totara Park, the cow was sent to the slaughterhouse along with the calf she was clearly protecting. Yes, that's right. Despite two humans being in the centre of the highly maternal bovine space, the cow and calf's lives were abruptly terminated.
The woman said she saw the cows acting strangely before they charged. "They were following me with their eyes. I was actually on my third loop of the park, I'd passed them two times before," she told the Herald.
Yes, cows will follow humans closely "with their eyes" — both before they charge, or even before they bend down and continue eating grass. I have a suspicion that her self-confessed "wild karate" moves may not have assisted the situation.
And what the hell is the deal with humans being allowed to roam freely through a herd of cows in a public park anyway? Auckland Council's role in why it happened, and then their choosing to eliminate the problem by just eliminating the animal (and calf), is disturbing, and warrants further investigation.
But, hey, this isn't anything new. But it does appear to be increasing as more and more people live lives completely oblivious to the natural world around them.
How about the feral goat tasered 13 times by police before having to be destroyed? Oamaru police were called to deal with the goat after a small dog cornered it in someone's garage in 2016.
"Unfortunately it was pretty stressed out and quite uncooperative, so I tasered it," Oamaru Senior Constable Carl Pedersen said at the time. Yeah. I could have told you that, Mr Constable.
The goat was "stressed out" because it was a wild goat bailed up by a small, yappy dog in a tight, foreign space. The goat even had horns that were entirely grabbable. It could've had a big strapping copper or two hanging off those, and leading it out of the garage and back to a safe space for it to get away. You see, when you grab their horns they can no longer hurt you with them.
That incident sparked a 14-month Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) investigation, at a cost of $28,303.56. I do despair.
In Australia, of course, there is much to worry about. Take sharks. There they are, busy cruising along, minding their own business when BAM — they cruise into the wrong human-infested beach area. It's not good for the economy to have sharks lurking about in their natural habitat so, well, you know the rest. Do it to them before they do it you. Bonza!
The one Aussie story that really got to me was the one about the New Zealand woman who went for a late-night swim in well-known croc-infested waters north of Darwin in 2016. The 4.3-metre crocodile was caught and euthanised after rangers set up traps and examined its stomach contents. That'll teach it!
What's entirely weird about it is that deadly snakes kill far more people than sharks and crocodiles combined, and there's never a call to cull them. Could it be that snakes are not at the seaside interrupting the salty-tasting cashflow?
In North America there's an oft-repeated line. Don't feed the bears. If you feed the bears the bears become habituated to humans feeding them. It soon follows that a bear/human interaction occurs that is less than optimal. Result? Dead bear. Sad. Very occasionally, a dead human too. Oh, well.
Park rangers are increasingly having to kill bears who have been caught up in humans attempting to become social media stars by getting up close while feeding the bears.
Other humans see it, and try to replicate the experience and on and on it goes. And people often think animals are dumber than humans. Sheeesh.
I'm sorry if I come across as unsympathetic to homo sapiens. Individually, their deaths are terrible for their families. But sympathies lie firmly with the animals caught up in the stupidity of humans.
Obviously, here in New Zealand the wildlife is a bit tamer, but still at the mercy of dumb humans. You just have to look at the number of dogs on death row every day of the week to realise the scale of the disconnection between human and beast. Hint: it's not the dogs' fault.
Anyway, if animals could talk, I imagine they'd be asking very pertinent questions of us. Why do you invade our space, and we die for it?
But they can no more talk than pigs might fly. And, if they suddenly could, they'd be shot down for possible interference with airspace. Drones are fine though. No conflict there.