grizzly mom kids

So, on the heels of Cecil the lion being killed by someone who thinks animal lives are inherently worthless (except as trophies), Yellowstone National Park is expected to kill the mother bear who attacked and partially consumed a hiker last week.

First, the Park should not be allowed to get away with the euphemism “euthanasia”. What they plan to do has nothing whatsoever to do with euthanasia. It is cold-blooded murder – the imposition of the death penalty on a member of another species for just being a member of that species.

Second, the Park is appealing to “protecting the public” as a justification for the killing. But the chances of being killed by a bear – even one who has killed before – are infinitesimal compared with other dangers in national parks, including just driving to the park! In the entire 142-year history of Yellowstone National Park, there have been a reported eight deaths (including this one), most likely (but not certainly) caused by grizzly bears. And between 1980 and 2011 there have been over 90 million visitors to the park and only 43 injured by bears. That gives you the odds of 2.1 million to one of being injured by a bear, let alone killed. This decision is like trying to prevent lightning strikes (statistically it is the same risk) by preventing people from going outside during storms. And there are no data that I am aware of to support the claim that once a bear “tastes human flesh” he/she will kill again. This is such a rare occurrence that there could not possible be any reliable data on the matter.

In a paper entitled Denial of Death and the Relationship between Humans and Other Animals, my co-author Michael Mountain and
I explain how our anxiety about being mortal drives us to separate ourselves from the other animals. Anything that reminds us that we, just like them, are going to die and disintegrate into the ground, is something we need to distance ourselves from. And nothing reminds us of our animal nature and mortality more than being preyed upon by another animal. (A further paper on this topic by some colleagues at the University of Arizona provides new data demonstrating that when people are reminded of their mortality they tend to be more in favor of abusing and exploiting other animals.)

The mother bear who killed the hiker who had gone off-trail into her territory was simply protecting her cubs. But from our human viewpoint she had the audacity to remind us that we are animals. And that’s a truth we cannot seem to come to terms with.

14 thoughts on “Why We Can’t Stand It when Other Animals Treat Us like Animals

  1. What a shame to euthanize that mother bear who ONLY wanted to protect and defend her babies !! This world disgusts me and some humans do not deserve to live !! What a shit world !

  2. c’est dégueulasse. cette maman a fait ce que feraient toutes les mamans du monde. Il ne faut pas la tuer. Pitiè!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. You know how it goes, we murder animals that “might” kill for food or self protection, like we do on an hourly basis. God forbid… we lose one human for the billions of lives each year we steal and torture.

  4. … C’EST INADMISSIBLE ET ILLOGIQUE… QUAND UN TORTIONNAIRE TUE UN ANIMAL DANS LES PIRES CONDITIONS QUI PUISSENT EXISTER, ON LUI TROUVE DES CIRCONSTANCES ATTENUANTES ET, TRES SOUVENT… TROP SOUVENT… LA JUSTICE FAIT PREUVE DE CLEMENCE VIS-A-VIS DE CETTE INDIVIDU… ET LUI DONNE UNE PEINE EXCESSIVEMENT LEGERE… POUR QUELLES RAISONS… ? JE N’ARRIVE PAS A COMPRENDRE… LES ANIMAUX N’ONT AUCUNE PLACE DANS NOTRE BAS MONDE… CETTE OURSE N’AVAIT PAS TUE PAR PLAISIR, MAIS UNIQUEMENT POUR PRESERVER SES PETITS CONTRE UN DANGER EVENTUEL… ET DIEU SAIT SI LES DANGERS EMANANT DE L’ESPECE HUMAINE SONT MULTIPLES… ON S’EN REND COMPTE PAR LES PETITIONS A SIGNER DESTINEES A LA CAUSE ANIMALE… AUX VIDEOS ET AUX PHOTOS RETRACANT LES ATROCITES COMMISES PAR LES HOMMES SUR LES BETES…DANS LESQUELLES ON PEUT CONSTATER, AVEC EFFROI, QU’ILS NE SONT PAS DENUES D’IMAGINATION… LA PLUPART DE CES ODIEUX TORTIONNAIRES S’EN TIRENT “.. LES DOIGTS DANS LE NEZ…” ALORS QUE CES DERNIERS DEVRAIENT ETRE CHATIES COMME IL SE DOIT, NE SERAIT-CE QUE POUR LE RESPECT DE LA VIE ANIMALE… CE QUI EST ARRIVE A CE RANDONNEUR EST VRAIMENT REGRETTABLE… MAIS LES ANIMAUX EN ONT ASSEZ D’ETRE DANS LA CATEGORIE DES VICTIMES, ASSEZ D’ETRE AGRESSES, MALTRAITES, BRULES OU ECORCHES VIFS, ETC… ET TOUTES LES FACONS SONT BONNES POUR LES EXTERMINER… QU’EN SAVONS-NOUS SI CETTE MAMAN OURSE N’A PAS ETE TEMOIN DES VIOLENCES DES HOMMES PRATIQUEES SUR UN AUTRE ANIMAL…? LES BETES NE PEUVENT PEUT-ETRE PAS PARLER, MAIS LEURS EMOTIONS ET LEURS SOUFFRANCES EXISTENT AUTANT QUE LES NOTRES… ALORS, QU’ELLES PUISSENT SE PRESERVER DU GENRE HUMAIN EN L’ATTAQUANT INSTINCTIVEMENT… JE LE COMPRENDS AISEMENT… ET JE PEUX COMPRENDRE EGALEMENT QUE NOUS REPRESENTONS UN DANGER CONSTANT POUR ELLES… QUAND ON SAIT TOUTES LES BARBARIES AUXQUELLES NOUS LES SOUMETTONS… LA PLUPART, IMPUNIES POUR MAINTES RAISONS QUI N’EN SONT PAS D’AILLEURS… EPARGNEZ CETTE MAMAN OURSE QUI N’A FAIT QUE PROTEGER SES PETITS… TOUT EN ETANT PROFONDEMENT ET SINCEREMENT DESOLEE POUR CE RANDONNEUR…

  5. The bear was doing what is natural . The hiker was off course and in her territory. What part of this do I not understand? People who hike in bear country take the chance .
    She does not deserve to die. Sickening!!!

  6. The park superintendent should not have the power to destroy a lovely bear that did no wrong. It should be up to us, the paying patrons of the park. We don’t need to be protected. The park’s image will not be damaged if momma bear lives!!!

    1. The US (Dead) Fish and (Dead) Wildlife Services were calling the shots. The head of the Grizzly unit desperately wants to De-list these bears from “endangered” so his pals can start trophy killing them again. The same guy also wanted the cubs dead.

  7. Quand un homme tue un homme il part en prison… il est tout à fait normal qu’un animal sans aucune défense utilise ce qu’il a à disposition pour défendre ses petits. .. c’est une honte de l’abattre. . Elle a juste conscience qu’elle doit sauvegarder ses enfants comme le ferait n’importe quel être humain ou non… de plus qui va s’occuper de ses petits. .. laisser là en vie et tranquille !!!

  8. dure loi pour cette maman ourse .. et que vont devenir les oursons ? si nous pouvions être assez nombreux pour empêcher ce massacre, quelle joie ….

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