Talk to the animals
by Mad Dog
Bastesan, a Norwegian legislator who used to be the head of his countrys
whalers association says, "We dont need another whale up here; we have
|| As humans,
its our God given right to look down on the so-called lower forms of life such as
animals, vegetables, and the people who approved this years batch of new TV shows.
After all, its a scientific fact that our brains are more highly developed, our
culture is more sophisticated, and we dont sit around picking lice off each
others heads. Well, unless you have children in grade school. But that doesnt
mean we cant learn something from those species which are less fortunate than
Take Keiko the whale. Go
ahead, hell be needing a new home soon and you do, after all, have that spare room.
Keiko, in case youve been too busy trying to sell your stock in Roger Maris
How to Hit a Home Run video company to read a newspaper, is the whale that starred in the
movie Free Willy which, contrary to what Siskel and the other guy may have led you to
believe, wasnt about President Clintons propensity to drop his pants at a
Keikos movie career was a short one
because he unfortunately found himself typecast as, well, a whale. That made it difficult
for him to find parts, being passed up for roles like the iceberg in Titanic, a pigs
best friend in Babe 2, and the lead in The Roseanne Story.
As happens to all has-beens, Keikos
being put out to pasture, which if youre a whale is the ocean off Iceland. They flew
him to an enclosed pen there so they can teach him how to live on his ownkind of a
halfway house for whales. Once hes ready theyll release him inget
this!the only part of the world where they still hunt whales. Thats right.
These are the same people who wouldnt think twice about turning Bambi out in the
woods during open season.
Only about 10 percent of socially monogamous birds are sexually faithful to their spouses.
In other words, birds of a feather flock with whoever catches their fancy.
everyone thinks this is a good idea. Some people think spending millions of dollars flying
Keiko to Iceland in a UPS plane is a waste of money and that he could be put to better use
by being slaughtered and fed to starving people in Sudan. Steinar Bastesan, a Norwegian
legislator who used to be the head of his countrys whalers association says,
"We dont need another whale up here; we have plenty."
Bastesan obviously believes in the sanctity of the
food chain. Unlike here in the United States where maintaining the food chain means going
to McDonalds, in Norway they still use the traditional definition: every animal has
a natural enemy and predator which eats it. Well, except humans. No one eats us. No one
other than, say, Jeffrey Dahmer, but we like to think of him as a mutation rather than the
next step in evolution.
We can also learn a lot from birds. For
years scientists believed many birds mated for life and were faithful to their partners.
Of course, being scientists, we took what they said to be true. Just because in the past
scientists told us that the planets revolve around the earth, bloodletting can cure the
common cold, and Tang was related to orange juice doesnt mean we shouldnt
trust everything that comes out of their mouths. Unless its the Tang they tried to
Well, a new study from the respected journal Science (motto:
"ZZZzzz") says that only about 10 percent of socially monogamous birds are
sexually faithful to their spouses. In other words, birds of a feather flock with whoever
catches their fancy. Even among primates it turns out that only two species of monkeys are
truly monogamous. This brings up another thing that separates us from animals: no bird or
monkey has ever been threatened with impeachment because they lied about their sexual
This points up another striking similarity between animals and humansthese
tortoises, like members of Congress, have a hard time telling their heads from their
|| Then there are
the male fish in Britain which are being born with female characteristics, like ovaries,
eggs, and the ability to put on make-up while driving on the interstate. Scientists
remember them?think this is happening because of estrogenlike chemicals dumped in
the river by sewage treatment plants. Social scientistsdefined as scientists who can
get a datethink its happening because society is more permissive so the fish
are more prone to come out of their watery closet.
If this was confined to Britain there would be no need for concern. After all, English men
have a long tradition of flaunting their feminine side. Just look at Benny Hill, Monty
Python, and Queen Elizabeth. But apparently this phenomenon has also been found in other
countries, including the United States, where similar hormonal havoc has been seen in
alligators, birds, otters, and Ellen DeGeneres.
In our final lesson for today, theres
a rare tortoise in Australia which breathes through its mouth while on land and through
its backside when under water. This points up another striking similarity between animals
and humansthese tortoises, like members of Congress, have a hard time telling their
heads from their asses. At least the tortoises understand their place in the food chain.
©1998 Mad Dog Productions, Inc. All
These columns appear in better newspapers across the country. Read
them because lower animals can't.