Why A Biologist Says We Should Kill, Not Clean, The Oil-Covered Birds

Tree Hugger explains the advice of Sylvia Gaus, biologist at the Wattenmeer National Park along the North Sea in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein, in Der Spiegel:

This may shock many, and the advice certainly appears contrary to that of the myriad conservationists who have set up centers around the Gulf to care for oiled birds.

Despite the short-term success in cleaning the birds and releasing them back into the wild, few, if any, have a chance of surviving, says Silvia Gaus, a biologist at the Wattenmeer National Park along the North Sea in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein.

“According to serious studies, the middle-term survival rate of oil-soaked birds is under 1 percent,” Gaus says. “We, therefore, oppose cleaning birds.”

Instead, she says, it would be less painful for the birds to kill them quickly, or to let them die in peace.

Cleaning Birds Worse than Letting Them Die?
Capturing and scrubbing the birds is a traumatic experience, and is incredibly stressful for the birds. Gaus also says that forcing birds to ingest coal solutions like Pepto Bismol as rescue workers are doing in the Gulf is ineffective, and that the birds will die from liver and kidney damage anyways. Birds ingest the toxic oil while attempting to clean their feathers.

Is there ever any news related to this disaster which is not dispiriting?

Thanks go to Susan for the link.

Your Thoughts?

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • http://Reverendevolution.com Reverend Evolution

    When greed leads to carelessness, accidents happen. That is the story here. People are cleaning these birds, not for the bird’s sake but to try and grasp something positive out of the situation. There is just no upside to this tragedy. It’s time to make a plan to end oil.

  • http://www.lavenderliberal.com/ Buffy

    That’s so sad. We need to get the eff off petroleum.


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