We recently wrote about Wildlife Trusts And Forestry Commissions Persecuting Wildlife and Farmers Campaign To Kill More Wildlife. A week full of hypocritical people wanting to kill badgers, deer and other wildlife, yet calling themselves environmentalists. Following on from that, one of our members had an interesting chat about this with someone claiming to be an environmentalist yesterday. For the whole conversation the anti-squirrel person (ASP) kept focussing on "native" versus "non-native" species, yet they couldn't recognise their own speciesism. Just as with racism or sexism, it is the assigning of more value to one kind of being than another based on arbitrary preferences. Here are some parts of the discussion.
Anti-Squirrel Person (ASP): "Are you content with one non-native species causing the local or nation extinction of another?"
CIN: After this many generations non-native species ARE native species. Or do you think children of immigrants aren't "proper" citizens?
ASP: "It's not that they are non-native but that they have a significant deleterious impact." [Notice the back-tracking here. If native vs. non-native isn't an issue, why do they keep harping on about it?]
CIN: Your point seemed to be that grey squirrels were non-native. I was answering that.
CIN: If "non-native" isn't an issue, your q. is: "Are you content with one species causing the local or nation extinction of another?"
CIN: Humans have a far greater significant deleterious impact on the environment and wildlife. Should we be culled?
CIN: It's speciesism to be punitive on one species but forgive another (your own) for the same impact. I don't support any -isms.
CIN: The colour of a squirrel's fur isn't the issue to focus on.
ASP: "It's not flavour of the day but harm to native species from invasive non-natives."
[Even though they said native vs. non-native wasn't an issue, here they are falling back on it again a few minutes later! They don't recognise their own prejudices.]
CIN: Again, why are "natives" more worthy than "immigrants"?
CIN: You and others were couching it as greys versus reds. The only reason you favour reds is because they aren't "immigrants".
The conversation is uncomfortably similar to many right-wing rants about "immigrants". Immigrants are described in negative terms; the children of immigrants, born here, are seen as somehow having less right to be here than those complaining about them.Let's make it clear - if you are born somewhere, you have just as much right to be there as any other being. It is your home. Racists and speciesists will argue against this, but they are prejudiced and discriminatory.
Just going back to squirrels: grey squirrels are a scapegoat. Their impact is nothing compared to the harm humans have done to reds in the past, and continue to do, and which poses the greatest threat. The biggest impact on wildlife is human impact. If we hadn't cut down the national forest there wouldn't be such threats to wildlife.
Kill grey squirrels and you are not only acting on speciesism, you also create a vacuum. More will breed to fill it. It is a waste of time. Killing is ineffective and cruel.
Instead we should re-wild land and we save a load of species, not just the favourite of the day. Red squirrels are primarily at risk of extinction from human activity. Resources which don't tackle this are wasted resources. Until humans learn to control our development, road-building, population and expansion, it is hypocritical to kill other species.
- Red Fur Good, Grey Fur Bad (Huffington Post)
- Myth Busters: Grey Squirrels (Animal Aid)
- ‘Kill them, kill them, kill them’: the volunteer army plotting to wipe out Britain’s grey squirrels (The Guardian)