There are two, three and sometimes even hundreds of sides to a story or ways
to view an issue.
The great buffalo hunt controversy is no exception. So far, I've seen a
limited discussion of the issue, which, sadly, is making people angry at one
State of New Mexico officials say that nine old bulls in the Fort Wingate
herd need to be hunted because they've ground down their teeth, can't eat and
could face an agonizing death by starvation. It's more humane to shoot them,
the officials say.
Animal rights groups and some Indian tribes have howled that not one
ground-down tooth of the hairy, sad-looking beasts shall be harmed (unless
they are harmed by hunters who have paid the tribes thousands of dollars). A
federal court judge has blocked the hunt, ruling that the Army needs to
conduct a study to determine what environmental impact there would be to
killing nine measly buffalo.
Such limited debate is the ally of ignorance and the enemy of enlightened and
just decisions. So, in the interest of blunting the rising tide of ignorance,
I offer some other ways to view this complex issue.
I have yet to see a buffalo--even one with teeth--smile. They have a
brooding, confused, disoriented look to them. If you were lost and asked one
for directions it would probably attack you. Anger isn't good. If they're not
happy anyway, why not shoot them?
No buffalo has ever held a job. They have been on this continent thousands of
years, lived through the greatest economic expansions in the earth's history,
and still can't find work. If they can't produce, maybe we should shoot them.
Why has no one done a study on what effect keeping a herd of buffalo at Fort
Wingate would have on the environment? These overcoats on legs eat enormous
amounts of grass. One would think that the same environmentalists who
challenge cattle and sheep ranching industries on the grounds that they have
destroyed rangeland the west, would take a dislike to the prairie-munching
If the buffalo are allowed to live and multiply, will they eat up the entire
state of New Mexico?
Buffalo, like all animals, are air polluters. They take nice green grass and
turn it into the foul and dangerous methane gas, which they expel in massive
amounts. Has the EPA studied how much gas the stub-tooths are releasing? Is
there the possibility that if someone throws a lighted match out of an
airplane window, New Mexico, because of the buffalo-produced methane gas,
would blow up?
Are not the buffalo guilty of earthacide? All plants, we know, inhale carbon
dioxide and exhale oxygen, the gas that sustains human life. When someone
chops down a rain forest, the environmentalists scream that they are helping
deplete the globe's oxygen supply.
Grass produces oxygen. By chewing up vast stretches of the continent's
grasslands, are not the buffalo nothing but four-legged oxygen depleters who
are slowly suffocating us?
Although the bison has no truer friend than I, and is an enduring symbol of
the West, and Mid-west and Great Plains and the Ohio River Valley and areas
back east, is it not a symbol whose time has past?
The buffalo is a lumbering, overweight giant. It eats, rests, sleeps, eats
some more, rests, expels its digested food and eats more and then sleeps and
gets up and does the same thing all over again.
It is a lifestyle that is the epitome of sloth.
They run only when chased, and prefer eating binges to exercise. Compared to
the sleek deer or antelope they are pathetic.
By saying that no buffalo shall be killed and elevating it to animal
sainthood, are we not sanctifying laziness and bad eating habits? This is an
era when America is firing millions--oops, downsizing--in an effort to be
lean so as to engage in global competition and make CEO's filthy rich. In a
time where image is everything, must we sanction laziness?
Should the buffalo hunt be allowed? Who knows? I'm going to ponder the
question over lunch. I'm having a buffalo burger.
Copyright 2003 Dennis Domrzalski All Rights Reserved