All animals have rights



December 10th, is International Animal Rights Day. As we head for the end of the year and plan our resolutions for next year now is a good time to recognise that other living species on this planet are just as important as humanity. Without the biodiversity of life, habitat, and the beautiful environment that surrounds us as a result of the richness of all living creatures provided by this planet, none of us would be here. Life has evolved to be rich, full and diverse.

Life abhors a vacuum, and evolves to fill every nook and crevice, the ones we can see and the ones we can’t. Here in New Zealand especially, we have been conditioned to believe that the only life forms that we should accept are the species that were indigenous to these islands before man stepped foot here.

We are being asked to turn back the clock. In the process, much of our diversity is being lost to a poison that was certainly NOT here when the Moa’s walked this land. We all know that the clock cannot be turned such that the Moa’s can return, but many miss the point that other species are being lost, both indigenous and exotic alike in this movement to return these islands to a time before intensive farming, communication networks, towns, communities and all the human development that we see today.

In effect the clock cannot be simply turned back unless we all decide to leave and take our human installations with us, plus each and every introduced species both wild and domesticated.

Let us use this day, the 10th December, to really understand what pest free actually means, and how many creatures, both exotic and introduced be they wild or domestic, will suffer and are suffering as a consequence of this policy.

I hear all the time that eradication of ‘introduced pests’ is a necessary evil. The essence of what we are doing is highlighted in that very sentence that rolls off the tongue so easily from those who do not question Predator Free… ‘Evil’. Evil is never necessary, but how easily we convince ourselves that it is. All creatures have a right to life, humanity was never supposed to hold a position of determination as to which ones are lesser and can therefore be eliminated with impunity. Let us remember, just because we can dismiss other creatures as being useless, or in the wrong place and therefore not wanted, does not mean that we should destroy, or that we are right in our assumption.

Nature is a fine balancing act, remove one species, any that has been in the environment for enough time and the balance is upset. We need to appreciate that all life is important, all habitat must be kept intact. All life enables us to continue to live and thrive here, we cannot exist in isolation. All animals have rights. We are responsible to see those rights upheld.

Lindsay Tatton, December 2018