Wednesday, February 18, 2009

They're Animals, People

No, they're not animal-people. Nor are they people-like animals. They are just animals.

I am just befuddled at the shock and awe that the community experiences every time an animal attacks a human being. The latest incident involves a 200-pound chimpanzee named Travis. He brutally mauled a woman (not his owner) who is now still in critical condition. The chimp was ultimately shot when he tried to enter a police car after the attack.

I know chimps can seem amazingly human. They are eerily expressive; they can learn sign language; they can walk on two legs; they can act. Travis was famous for his Coca-Cola and Old Navy commercial appearances. He also drank wine from stemmed glasses. But, he still was not human. I don't care that his owner said he couldn't have been more her son if she had given birth to him. But she didn't. 'Cause she's human. And he's not.

In the interest of fairness, I've never really owned a pet. I did have a butterfly once that my aunt caught and placed in a jar for me. I think it lived for maybe three days. Maybe a little longer. Sometimes I count that butterfly as a pet, but really, it wasn't. So, I don't get the warm fuzzies when people talk about the animals they are loving. But I do have common sense and I know that no matter how much you love an animal, your love won't make it human. So, you shouldn't expect it to behave like a human, with thought processes and complex emotional behaviors. It's an animal and should not surprise you when it acts like an animal. Animals have a fight or flight response and many times, they will fight; they'll even fight humans.

People who keep dangerous animals as pets are the most confounding. Everybody loves a pit bull until it attacks the child in the home and then it's a terrible tragedy. Didn't you know that was going to happen? You have a PIT BULL. It's an animal AND it's an animal bred to attack. I've heard people try to argue that if you treat pit bulls right they won't attack. Yes, you're right. Until they do. Because they are animals.

I saw this show once about animals attacking. This man had a pet reptile (I'll leave it at that, SM, for your sake). He took it to a bar and let people touch and hold it. And then, oh my! I'm so surprised! It bit him. The pet became agitated and since it could not talk and could not get away, it attacked. That's what animals do.

So, I'm not surprised that this chimp attacked this woman. I think that it is an awful tragedy and she did not deserve it to happen to her. But for all those people who think animals are just like us only with fur and four legs instead of two, listen to me: God didn't make us the same. We are different. Biologically and historically, we are destined to play different roles in the environment. Although we like to dress animals up in clothes like people and we like to ascribe human qualities and feelings to them and we like to make them talk and have complicated relationships in our movies (what's the deal with making a rat a personable creature we'd want in our kitchens, Ratatouille?), we will never meld into one no matter how many ways you try to make it happen. Animals know it. Why don't people, the ones with the higher level thought process, know it?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

lol that was hilarious!