Saturday, November 02, 2013

Saving kids and animals

Here is an example of misguided efforts to save animals, and value them more than people.
Santa Cruz' famous downtown mountain lion was struck and killed while crossing Highway 17 early Thursday morning near Vine Hill Road.

The lion's body was given to UC Santa Cruz researchers, who helped capture the wayward puma in June and fitted it with a tracking collar. The juvenile male crossed Highway 17 several times in the months since its downtown excursion. ...

The nonlethal approach earned statewide praise, and came after law enforcement in Half Moon Bay were roundly criticized for killing two cubs who wandered into the city. The state Legislature later passed a bill encouraging nonlethal responses by public safety officials when mountain lions don't pose an imminent threat to public safety.

Those aren't the only threats to lion, and UCSC researchers are looking at the intersection of wildlife habitat and urban boundaries. Pumas can be shot for harassing domestic animals, and freeways pose a big threat.

Just days ago, a female mountain lion was killed on Interstate 280 in San Jose. Mountain lions frequently cross Highway 17 between Lexington Reservior and Los Gatos, and between Vine Hill Road and Laurel Curve in Santa Cruz County.

A state Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman said the incident happened overnight, and that it appears 39M was struck by several vehicles. Not only was Atlas struck on the same road, but a pregnant female puma also was killed there.
Statewise praise? For endangering the highway drivers for a year and getting the cat killed anyway? If the state allowed shooting the cats who wander into populated areas, everybody would be better off.

Here is the annual scare story about Halloween razor blades in treats:
The Nashua Police Department is currently investigating an incident involving a single loose razor blade found in a child’s bag, while the child was trick or treating in the area of Broad Street. ...

Update: Nashua police say this was a misunderstanding.
Joel Best debunks the myth:
Eventually, I decided to test this. I figured that a child killed by a poisoned treat would be a big news story, so I looked at 25 years of Halloween coverage in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune—the most prominent papers in the nation’s three biggest urban areas. I could not find a single report of a child who had been killed or seriously injured by a contaminated treat picked up on the course of trick-or-treating.
There are paranoid people who take their Halloween candy to hospitals for xraying. Maybe the parents should be going to a psychiatric hospital instead.

In my experience, these are two subjects where you cannot reason with people. They think that they are saving kids and animals, and it does not seem to matter to them if the facts show that no kids or animals are really being saved.

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