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Mass Animal Deaths: A Maddening Tragedy

StalemateIBApr 8, 2017, 5:47:50 AM
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By Z. E. Kendall, StalemateIB Contributor

Introduction: Mass Article Death on Mass Animal Deaths

There used to be a saying that what goes on the internet stays there forever. However, as a researcher, I have known for years that such a saying is far from true. For example, social media websites like Facebook don't keep record of comments in social media group forums after a particular amount of months have gone by, news outlets routinely remove articles from being online, and video hosting sites like YouTube remove video content from their websites for a myriad of reasons.

The mainstream media news outlets have also been taking down or relocating many articles on mass animal deaths over last few years, especially those articles a few years old, making it more difficult (if not impossible) to locate some articles on the topic. What this means is that we are losing easy access to some of the history behind this global crisis. So, in a sense, there is even a mass article death concerning the mass animal death, though surely, those articles are being taken down one by one.

But why would news media outlets do such a thing? Some outlets take down articles that have sensitive or controversial content in them. Others likely take down articles to avoid having to pay more for more internet storage space. After all, news agencies don't typically view themselves as being the great preservers of history, but rather, vehicles to keep people up-to-date and to deliver advertisers to prospective clients or customers.

The Scope of the Problem

But why call the mass animal deaths a global crisis? Simple: they are occurring around the world, from Asia to Australia to North and Central America and beyond. Moreover, the situation is a crisis because of the wide variety of species affected and because of the duration of time in which  the elevated quantity and or magnitude of such mass animal deaths have been occurring. While it is true that mass animal deaths occurred prior to the industrialized human society and prior to the 21st century C.E., the extent of such mass animal deaths in the past decade or so (since the last term of the Bush 43 administration) has apparently risen quite a bit. What we appear to be witnessing is a crumbling of a substantial part of the ecosystem itself.

Meanwhile, while this decade of death has been descending upon the animal kingdoms, many on the political Left have continued their thrust for adjustments in human society to combat global warming, carbon emissions, and "climate change." In so doing, the political Left has been fighting the wrong ecological battle. It has been looking at the proverbial car wreck two miles away while ignoring the fact that the low gasoline light and the engine light have both been on for the past ten to twenty miles of driving.

But what's the size of the problem? The short answer is: we don't know. But that's not a reason for a sigh of relief. The reason why we don't know is because the amount of deaths is too large to reasonably count. The minimal estimate that I can gather from reported mass animal deaths in 2011 C.E. alone total more than 34 million. The actual figure for that year is not known and is likely much, much, much higher than 34 million, especially in light of the sloppy reporting of the figures in ways that cannot be counted (and thus completely omitted from the 34 million figure or else estimated as low as interpretation permits).

But what about the variety of the creatures that are dying in masse? The impression that one gets from watching all the videos and reading the articles is that they are mainly fish and birds. However, substantial chicken, cow, bat, bee, worm, and other animals have died in similar manners as have the fish and birds.

The Tombstones

Below is a short list of some of the animals that have been affected. We will start with aquatic life:

  1. Dolphins (e.g. bottlenose),
  2. Fineless Porpoise
  3. Whales (e.g., Pilot Whales, Short-finned Pilot Whales, Sei Whales, and Humpback Whales)
  4. Sharks (e.g., Hammerhead Sharks and Leopard sharks)
  5. Starfish
  6. Stingrays
  7. Seals (e.g., Fur Seals)
  8. Sea Lions
  9. Drum Fish
  10. Anchovies
  11. Sardines (in ridicuously large quantities—are there any left in the wild anymore?)
  12. Abalone (large mass animal death of 50 million+ of these in China)
  13. Sea Turtles
  14. Clams (e.g., Snout Otter Clams)
  15. Oysters
  16. Cockles
  17. Scallop
  18. Yabbies
  19. Wild Salmon
  20. Carp (e.g., Chinese Silver Carp)
  21. Jellyfish (e.g., Bluebottle Jellyfish)
  22. Lobsters
  23. Crabs
  24. Indian Trout
  25. Gizzard Shad Fish
  26. Pike Fish

Many of these species affected are those typical of Pacific Ocean life, though some also typical of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Some of these creatures affected, such as Humboldt Squid, Bass, Catfish, and Tilapia Fish, are not considered serious given their raw population numbers or ability to reproduce or ability to weather polluted waters.

But what about the birds? Here are some of the birdlife that has been affected:

  1. Starlings
  2. Ducks
  3. Geese
  4. Pigeons
  5. Penguins
  6. Chickens
  7. Pheasants
  8. Peacocks
  9. Seagulls

 

Pigs, cattle, goats, elk, antelope, and other animals have also endured some mass animal deaths (or otherwise been put down in masse by humans due to those animals being diseased).

But what about humans? Well, depends on what the parameters are. The 2004 tsunami resulted in a mass human death, though that's now more than a decade behind us. Warfare and famine have taken their tolls in Africa and the Middle East in the past decade. Human famine isn't quite a "mass death" like the beaching of many dolphins, whales, starfish, and squid that have been photographed and put online. But the results are nonetheless grim.

Part of the Solution

In light of all the death going on, it seems like high time to promote preservation efforts, expand the aquarium and hatchery networks, and the zoo systems also. Develop an actual plastics-cycle, something similar in effect to the natural hydrologic cycle, carbon cycle, or nitrogen cycle. Our efforts at recycling need to go a lot further, regardless of what you or I believe about "climate change" and regardless of whether or not anthropogenic climate change is even real.

Proposed Causes of the Problem

The factors causing the deaths in the wild and in open-air fish farms have been numerous. Some people have tried to blame climate change for some of the mass animal deaths. Some see the problem in a more old-fashioned sense: chemical dumps, plastics, and even the Fukushima nuclear disaster's effects on the oceans are sometimes also blamed. Low oxygen in the water has also been cited as a possible cause in some cases. Algae blooms with red tides have also contributed to some of the mass animal deaths. (If you are algae, it has been a great time to be alive.) There is much more than merely a "global warming" or carbon emission problem. It is a confluence of problems that is leading toward an ecological collapse.

Closing

Meanwhile, wars, occupations, and speculations of war have dotted the media landscape in the last decade, as well as, well, the usual: election cycles, pop and rap sensations, and a host of what can at best be called mildly interesting distractions. The billionaire class seems more focused on population control, power, and prestige than actually ensuring a sustainable future for humanity; governments on the national level are too preoccupied with other matters at the moment. Crowd funding....well, it is in doubt whether that could even get enough money up to actually make a substantial impact. New zoos and aquariums don't come cheaply, and neither would a robust metropolitan recycling network.

The sterilization of the oceans of eukaryotic life is leading toward a smaller supply of fish for humans. One can only expect that the price of some seafood, from shrimp to squid to dolphin to even tilapia, cod, and salmon, would rise as a result. I personally don't eat a lot of fish anymore, so I'm not the best person to ask about what it costs at the supermarket. But if it hasn't gone up in price the last decade, expect it to do so in the somewhat near future.

But this again leaves us with the other major problem: the bee holocausts (performed now at least twice in endeavors to curb mosquito populations, once in South Carolina and once in.... I want to say, Maryland). We endured a scare concerning overall decline of humanly owned hive honeybee populations. The threat against the bees is far from over. If we knock out the bees, then that leaves us with poor prospects for agriculture. Robotic bees as an alternative sounds wildly financially expensive; butterflies and wasps cannot be expected to pick up all the slack. If both the seas and the bees become on life-support, humanity will likely be likewise: no longer thriving and barely surviving.

We in the countries with better logistical structures and more robust economies feel the pain in the pocketbook long before seeing it on the shelves. Others in other countries will not be so lucky.

Even artificial foods typically have some elements that are tied to the agricultural systems that we have in place. High fructose corn syrup is still corn syrup, which means corn grew somewhere that contributed to the finished food-product, after all. So artificial foods, in the absence of substantial seafood and bee populations, can only go so far as well, and might themselves be inadequate to totally substitute for the loss in food capacity.

Unless the ship gets turned around, folks, the children will not have as good of a life as the parents; and the grandchildren of today's parents certainly won't have it as good as those parents. What does it matter, if you gain the light of cheap electricity or gain this or that gadget cheaply, and lose your own food? Or, what will a man give in exchange for nearly all of his food? And what would be worth trading it all in?