Today, I read a piece in National Geographic that talked of us still poisoning predators in the US with methods that has killed 2.6 million animals in 2016 alone, including hundreds of dogs, and exposed people to poison.
Why? Because predators are an inconvenience to livestock. Mind you, only a minor have been killed by other causes, including disease and birth complications or unknown causes. Never mind that the continental US is starving for predators, full stop, and can’t afford to undermine some of their populations (e.g. wolves, mountain lions or lynx). And never mind the more controversial, anthropocentric aspect of this, such as, “who cares what ‘casualties’ come between us and our burgers.”
But this blog is not about meat, or even the livestock industry.
It is about the tactics used to control wildlife that this very article calls archaic: non-lethal tactics prove to be more effective, let alone that our current values don’t support the massacre of whole species because they don’t do as they say. Interestingly, a whole bunch of farmers and trappers alike share this view. And for me, the whole article could have been written about #ParentalAlienation.
I am no behavioural scientist, but I find it fascinating that at its core, #ParentalAlienation upholds values and tactics that are proving increasingly outdated in our society: the alienators work to destroy other influences in a child’s life and have to destroy the other adult messing with their gene pool (so to speak). Alienators play the zero sum game, as if anybody else's win is inarguably their loss.
Even from the standpoint of evolution, science is pretty clear that in our newly globalized world, the future no longer belongs to the brute strength. Instead, it rests with those who possess the "preferred qualities” of resilience, grit and the countless derivatives of emotional intelligence: the ability to emphasize, to be compassionate, to build bridges, to create and to collaborate. So merely competing for one’s place under the sun has been outmoded – it is simply no longer useful.
So why are millions of women compromising the wellbeing of their children to spite and alienate former mates? Why are millions of fathers alienating mothers and their new partners, as if the ‘new’ males are going to contaminate their legacy? Why are so many parents denigrating step-parents and grand-parents on-principle, as if anything but good can come out of a greater network of supportive adults in a child’s life? And why are we, as a society, still ok with this primal, counter-intuitive and counter-scientific way of forming the next generation?
If we can see the devastating consequences of massacring wildlife for our wants, why can’t we see the devastating domino effect of equally archaic methods of #ParentalAlienation?