Tuesday, July 10, 2007

243 Goats Die in Marin County: Some Things Reveal Our Humanity More Than Others

From: http://artofstarving.wordpress.com/

Quick post on the absurdity of our modern day, interstate dilemma.

The mechanisms of our society as it is requires the acceptance of minor horrors, but every now and then they catch up to us, the trailer tips over, our sacrificial blood spills out on the intersection while onlookers gasp and are reminded of our mundane cruelty.The necessary yet cruel reality of our dominance and economic logic.

A truck carrying 400 goats used to clear brush from Bay Area hillsides turned over on a Milpitas-to-Mill-Valley run Friday morning, killing more than 240 animals.

The 32-foot truck, from Orinda-based Goats R Us, turned over in San Rafael, when the driver pulled off the freeway to get a cup of coffee, according to San Rafael police spokeswoman Margo Rohrbacher.

I’m not a card-carrying member of PETA, nor am I blind to the need to transport livestock, eat it, use it, whatever. Life requires all the animals the do what it takes to survive. The owl needn’t consider the mouse. We’re hardly more evolved than a barn owl. However, we shouldn’t let economics override our care for the animals that give us great service. The old Native-American way of looking at things. That we don’t own the earth but it owns us in a way.

Did they need to carry 400 goats in the trailer? Doesn’t this just naturally lend itself to disaster, mistakes, and accidents?

San Rafael police Sgt. Mike Vergara said the truck may have been going too fast while making a left turn onto Kerner Boulevard. It tipped over, perhaps as the weight of goats shifted in the truck.

The animals were stacked four deep in tiered shelving units in the 13-foot-tall truck. The steel shelves separating the animals were strewn through the wreckage

That being said, once disaster struck the authorities were overprotecting drivers’ risk of accident over the goat’s welfare. They were trapping the goats underneath themselves, effectively strangling them, rather than allowing them to break free and be herded.

A certain amount of humanity is required here, an on the spot call to do the right thing, rather than make the calculation that traffic accidents and property damage were more important than hundreds of live animals we’ve just threw into carnage and death in steel trappings.

“They were screaming, screaming, screaming to get out,’ said Terri Oyarzun, owner of Goats R Us, an Orinda, California, company that rents goats for grazing brush that poses fire hazards. “They died because the police wouldn’t let them out of the trailer.”


Police at the scene were so concerned with controlling traffic and preventing another accident that they disregarded pleas by the goat’s herder to free the trapped animals, which could have been corralled away from traffic, Oyarzun said.

“Those goats didn’t have die,” she said. “It wasn’t necessary. We had herding dogs.”

Police could have established a traffic perimeter and a pen and allowed the dogs to do what they do, and saved dozens, perhaps hundreds of goats. Instead they took the simple route of sending the goats to their death.

I would have took the human in the 2-ton cars’ chances over the unlucky goat that escaped only to get in its way.

As a final reckoning I say we let the 150 remaining goats free to graze somewhere on a grassy hill far away from any interstates for the rest of their days.

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