An Amazingly Ordinary Goose

I heard a “delightful” animal anecdote today about a Canadian goose who had been rescued as a young bird by a family of animal-sensitive humans. They had found him injured beside his crushed sibling, took him home, and raised him as a companion animal. The point of the anecdote was to relate, with due amazement, this bird’s remarkable behavior that includes the utmost attachment to his saviors: he follows them everywhere, acting more like a faithful and well-trained family dog than a wild bird. I am the odd man out, I suspect, in my reaction to the story. It just makes me sad, not charmed. I don’t think that this one bird is a genius goose. I don’t take him as the remarkable contrast to the typical “bird-brained” animal just because he shows interests, such as an attachment to other creatures, which bespeaks a true degree of intellect and emotion. People need to find this goose sui generis or rara avis (the better Latin phrase in this instance). How can your generic goose be like this clever goose when we stuff geese into cages and force feed them to swell their liver so we can feast on foie gras or make their carcass the centerpiece for a Christmas meal? We like to think they are not “smart” or capable of affection and that this one goose is simply remarkable. He is a goose and his behavior is not astounding any more than the behaviors of so many animals, such as cows, pigs, and turkeys, when they are not consigned to cruelty and cages. I have a cockatiel who knows my son and likes him more than anyone else.  When he hears his voice he flies to him even if he is several rooms away; I might offer that as an “amazing” animal exhibition, but I don’t think it is at all except to people who insist on denying the depth of an “animal’s” existence (forgetting we are animals too) which makes eating them so much easier. I wish I could be exempt from hearing such stories as it only disturbs me.  Oh well I am doomed to be disturbed — hunting season is coming to New York State… oh that pesky deer population, must bag a few as a service to what?  Our yards?  One last thought, now that I have segued to hunting:  humans have proven that one of the most firmly entrenched needs for many is to feel superior to someone else: whites had to feel superior to blacks or indigenous people or any one they could find; one tribe or religion had to feel superior to some other; men had to feel superior to women.  Even some mean girls have to feel superior to other girls and on it goes.  People might not like to admit that they have fallen so low as to need to be better than other species, but I think so.  Hunters need to feel superior to other animals. One lucky goose and millions of very unlucky other creatures.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s