Just Realized I Have a Moral Problem with Feeding Live (Warning: Long)
When I picked up my female Louisiana milksnake, the breeder gave me a live pinkie to feed to her when I got home. When I was younger, I wouldn't have had a problem with this, but I am growing softer with age. I understand that life feeds on life, but I would prefer humanely-killed thawed food, or even those snake steak sausages that are new on the market. I doubt dog and cat owners like to think about exactly what is in their pets' bowls. And some of us don't like to think about exactly what is in that Big Mac with extra cheese.
Anyway, the yearling milksnake did a pretty pathetic job of constriction and tried to eat the pinkie tail-first. She couldn't quite swallow it. After she wrestled with it for a long time, I couldn't stand it anymore. On the one hand I was concerned about the snake because I could see she was going into contortions, trying to force a breech-feed into her stomach. On the other hand, I hated seeing the mouse suffer. As it went further and further into the snake's mouth, it had a harder and harder time breathing. Finally I couldn't stand watching any longer. The snake wasn't making any progress. The pinkie was suffering.
I don't know if I did the right thing or not, but I held onto the pinkie until the snake spat it out. After that, the snake was stressed and didn't feel like trying again. That poor little mouse lived through the whole ordeal, though its skin had been torn by the snake's small teeth. With no mother here and its skin torn, I figured the pinkie was done for, so I washed it in warm water and fed it to Bayou to put it out of its misery.
I didn't like watching that. Not one bit.
Now the female Arizona Mt. King isn't feeding. I don't know how much of it to chalk up to her being in new surroundings and how much to chalk up to her not liking frozen mice. I would really rather not feed live if I can help it.
I was raised in an environment where people considered animals mere tools for enjoyment. So, even though it tugged at my heart strings, I stuffed it down deep when my family and their friends purposely hurt animals.
When I was a teenager, I actually ended up with a pet rat one of my snakes didn't eat and it was one of the best pets I've ever had. Rats are intelligent and make great pets, much better pets than hamsters, btw.
I just don't get my jollies watching rodents suffer long, fearful deaths in the coils of a snake. I didn't have problems feeding humanely-killed snake food. I just hate to see an animal in pain and fear.
In a perfect world, life wouldn't feed on life, but we don't live in a perfect world.
Back in November, I saw a killer whale eat a yearling sea lion. This kind of thing happens in huge numbers, every day, all over the world. Sometimes I wish it were otherwise. But this is nature's way and it cannot be changed. Carnivores can't be forced to accept a vegetarian diet. They cannot digest vegetation properly. If we forced our carnivorous pets onto a strict vegetarian diet, they would suffer and die. The best we can do is make sure the "circle of life" process is as painless as possible.
In our modern world, humans are very much removed from the circle of life. Most of us don't hunt our own meat; therefore, many of us are either too sensitive to the "circle of life" process or completely desensitized because we don't think about where meat, dog food, cat food, snake food (etc.) comes from.
I've seen and felt both extremes. I watched my father, brother and their friends purposely torture animals for amusement. When the animals were dead, they had no further use for them. Once I grew up and decided for myself that this is wrong, I've found myself almost too sensitive. It's up to all of us to find a balance. Deliberately causing suffering is wrong. But so is not realizing that the world is what it is: life feeds on life. The best we can do (as I've said) is to make the process as painless as possible.
Some people are so distressed by the idea of eating meat they become vegetarians. I respect this choice and I've toyed with the idea myself. However, true carnivores can never become vegetarians. Our carnivorous companion animals would sicken and die if not fed a proper diet.
As a highly sensitive person (probably too sensitive), this realization is sometimes very hard for me.
What is this about a CO2 machine for dispatching rodents? I may need one...although I hope not.
|_ /\ |) `/ |-| /\ \/\/ |<
1.1 Arizona mountain kingsnakes (Chris Baubel and Gerold Merker)
1.1 Louisiana milksnakes (John Yurkovich)
1.2 Okeetee corns (Kathy Love)
1.1 albino Okeetee corns (Kathy Love)
1.0 hypo crimson corn (Kathy Love)
0.1 hypo corn / het for ghost (Kathy Love)
1.0 double-yellowheaded Amazon parrot
Last edited by Ladyhawk; 08-04-03 at 03:26 AM..