Thursday, June 5, 2008

Shhh! I'm hunting Wabbits

This past weekend, my boyfriend and I were at a birthday party in suburban Seattle. The home hosting the party had a beautiful and large garden. Just like you'd expect in the Northwest—full of hostas, ferns, evergreen trees, lots of leafy, green, vibrant plants. And as I walked in from my car, I noticed a little athletic gray bunny with sharp ears and a sassy expression that said, "I'm not afraid of you, human."

I told the woman of the household—a dynamic, energetic, powerhouse in her 60s who loves her garden—that I had seen a bunny in her yard on my way in, and she said, "Did you kill it?" I was a little taken aback. But I've heard enough horror stories of rabbits and deer destroying yards to understand what she was getting at. Apparently, the sweet little fuzzy one ate all of her irises before they even had a chance to bud, and now he's moved on to other prized blooms. So, not being a natural hunter, she was reluctant to fully "attack" the problem and didn't quite know how to handle it.

Well, today, there is an article in the New York Times about other gardeners with the same problem. Here's a quote I liked:

"Finally, [he] decided he would have to shoot the animals. First, though, he went to each hole and made an announcement.

'I said: ‘I intend to kill you. You have 24 hours to get out,’' he recalls. 'I wanted to give them fair warning. I said, ‘If I were you, I would find another place to live.’ I also promised them I would not take a shot unless I knew it would be fatal.'"

Image from the article as well.


Shai Hulud said...

So, um Jessikittens, you probably know how I feel about this. I keep rabbits, and I've had to bury a couple of them lately. I had nice services for both of them. Sprinkling Tuxie's ashes around Pumpkin's body and burying both in hole under the bamboo that Pumpkin liked to try to escape to. Also, fa reals? An animal "destroys" your ornamental plants and you need to KILL it?! No way, man!

Shai Hulud said...

At the same time...I understand the part that death must play in man's relationship with animals when dealing with food. Here's a poem by Maxine Kumin, that I've always found disturbing yet appropriate:


Gassing the woodchucks didn't turn out right.
The knockout bomb from the Feed and Grain Exchange
was featured as merciful, quick at the bone
and the case we had against them was airtight,
both exits shoehorned shut with puddingstone,
but they had a sub-sub-basement out of range.

Next morning they turned up again, no worse
for the cyanide than we for our cigarettes
and state-store Scotch, all of us up to scratch.
They brought down the marigolds as a matter of course
and then took over the vegetable patch
nipping the broccoli shoots, beheading the carrots.

The food from our mouths, I said, righteously thrilling
to the feel of the .22, the bullets' neat noses.
I, a lapsed pacifist fallen from grace
puffed with Darwinian pieties for killing,
now drew a bead on the little woodchuck's face.
He died down in the everbearing roses.

Ten minutes later I dropped the mother.She
flipflopped in the air and fell, her needle teeth
still hooked in a leaf of early Swiss chard.
Another baby next.O one-two-three
the murderer inside me rose up hard,
the hawkeye killer came on stage forthwith.

There's one chuck left. Old wily fellow, he keeps
me cocked and ready day after day after day.
All night I hunt his humped-up form.I dream
I sight along the barrel in my sleep.
If only they'd all consented to die unseen
gassed underground the quiet Nazi way.

Jessica Knapp said...

Yeah, I don't think I could kill a rabbit. First, like you, I'd have a hard time killing something just for eating my ornamental plants. Also, it's one thing to kill a bug, but quite another thing spiritually and emotionally to kill a mammal.

When I lived in NYC, we had mice pretty regularly and had to set out traps for them because they are a health threat. And once, we had a pretty aggressive rat in our apartment. It took us several days to catch him, and we eventually caught him a glue trap. It only occurred to us once we had caught him that the glue trap doesn't actually kill the animal. Well, we weren't going to let him suffer, so we did the humane thing and did him in. But I was crying and shaking. It was a really hard thing to work up that much violence inside myself. I didn't like it at all. Even though the rat had tormented me in my living space for four days straight—preventing me from sleep, studying for grad school finals, which I was in the middle of then, I didn't want to kill it.

I should have clarified in the post, the woman whose house we were at had been trying things like hot pepper on her plants and other measures to discourage the rabbit. And I don't actually know if she intended to kill it or was just joking around—I know, you wouldn't have found it funny :(

Jessica Knapp said...

That poem is amazing!

Shai Hulud said...

also the June poll should be open to other options
i mean cremated rather than buried
but other things
before those
seriously Juiceca
options like
donation to (science art education)
feeding to animals

Michael said...

Yeah, I can't get the image of Elmer Fudd outta my head.... "Be vewy, vewy quiet. I'm hunting wabbits. "

Michael said...

Wow.... I must need some sleep. I just now noticed the title to this entry. *rolls eyes*

Jessica Knapp said...

Good suggestion on the poll. I'll see if I can edit it. I'm not sure if I can edit polls once some answers have been given, but I'll give it a shot—at least for donation to art/science, I don't know about cannibalism.

Jessica Knapp said...

Indeed, it will not let me edit the poll. Sorry, mister mister, I liked your idea. :(

Shai Hulud said...

oh i was just being an ass. but seriously, when the chance comes up here, i want to talk about ethical cannibalism.

Jessica Knapp said...

Ok. I'll try to post something in the next week.

jackie lynn said...

Does anyone remember the name of the rabbit that was going to be killed if his owner didn't sell enough tee shirts with Save ----- on them?
I know I bought one.
It was so interesting how violent the comments from the animal lovers became.
They were going to boil the owner and eat him if he dare cook the rabbit.
The owner even posted meals that had rabbit as the main attraction. I thought this was a good sales tactic.

Jessica Knapp said...

Oh, it was Toby. The website was Save Toby. Good memory. I completely forgot about that. i just checked and the site is still up. It's