Articles of Tasty Prey
I'm reminded of certain articles of understanding recently perpetrated in the autistic community. Here's the comic strip version:
The crocodiles all got together, formed a nonprofit group called Zeebas Speak, and created public service ads declaring that the tragic existence of large numbers of zebras was an unsustainable burden to the environment and that more predation would be in the zebras' best interest. Somehow the crocs managed to persuade an earnest but overly credulous group of zebras, who called themselves the Prey Animal Partnership (PAP), to have a friendly dialogue about the use of the word "kill" and to exchange the following articles of understanding about it:
PAP, and the Word "Kill"
When we discovered that we were prey animals, we had no idea how many different viewpoints there were in the world of predation. And these conflicts are probably a good thing, for in the grand scheme of things, we still know very little about all this predation stuff. We want the debates to be less divisive so that we don't hurt the feelings of well-meaning crocs.
Many of us believe that all the zebras in our community are part of the same herd and should not be separated. On the other side of the debate are those who believe that the slower and weaker zebras should be split out from the herd and eaten. Splitters use the word "kill" believing that slowness is a terrible thing to happen to a zebra, whereas being a zebra who can keep up with the herd is believed to be not so terrible.
The authors of the Crocodile Manual of Prey, Fourth Edition (CMP-IV) describe several categories of prey animals. But we believe the descriptions in the CMP-IV can't be taken into consideration with 100 percent accuracy. After all, there are many different opinions about predation among biologists, and some slow and weak zebras can be quite content with their lives.
The crocodiles also have potentially traumatizing burdens: hunger, deteriorating marriages, long and difficult hunts. It's probably very traumatic for a hungry croc to be lectured on the wrongness of killing a young zebra. But almost every one of our folks admits feeling unwanted to some degree when a well-meaning croc tells them they hope to make a good tasty kill. We are all going to have to be very flexible, what with all the suffering that everyone in the predation community is enduring. Parallel stories of coping, meanwhile, will help.
Signed by prey animals Larry, Carley, and Moe.
Zeebas Speak: "Kill" is Not a Four-Letter Word
At the far end of the herd we often find lower functioning zeebas who cannot run fast enough to escape predators, while at the other end there are zeebas who struggle with other issues. When we at Zeebas Speak use the word "kill," we are most often focused on the tasty little morsels we can catch.
** offstage whispers **
"Mmm... tender juicy young zeeba..."
"Bob! Quit drooling!"
The pain of these poor weak little zeebas is heartbreaking. We do not use the word "kill" to insult other zeebas. We use it because we hope that one day, the weakest zeebas will no longer have to struggle every day in their world and will know a different, pain-free existence as part of our world.
(Handwritten note by crocs in margin: Hee hee! We gonna digest em! Tee hee hee!)
At Zeebas Speak, we want to bring a voice to all struggling zeebas. Our goal is to do this by funding new research on ways of culling the herd. In fact, in our last round of grants, we funded several projects focused on high functioning zeebas. We know that such zeebas have different needs than the lower functioning ones, but when it comes to predation, we all need more options and new opportunities.
Signed with paw prints by crocs.
(oo, lookit what big claws we got! The better to hug you with, my dears!)