Saturday, March 11, 2017

Human Conceit

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," dedicated to deities as old as dirt! This is another entry in Vulture Saturday, highlighting a sacred, totemic creature whose stature has fallen at the hands of modern American conceit.

Most people, if they think of vultures at all, think of them as ugly and disgusting. It hasn't always been that way. Some Native American cultures still venerate Vulture,

One thing Americans do brag about is being at the top of the food chain. It's all about us.

I'm sorry to disabuse random morons about this, but the actual pinnacle of the food chain is the vulture. By definition, the food chain is organized by what you will and won't eat. Aphids don't eat ants, so ants are higher on the food chain. Ants don't eat anteaters, so anteaters are higher on the food chain. And so on.

People don't eat vultures. Vultures will eat people. Therefore, vultures are higher on the food chain. They are, in fact, at the top. (I'm talking about complex organisms here, not the tip-top organism, the bacterium.)

Of course, the human race is all about, "What's in it for me?" What can vultures do for people?

Quite simply, they keep the country clean.

Just ask the citizens of India how it's going for them since their farmers used an anti-inflammatory medication called diflocenac to keep cattle alive. When vultures consumed the carcasses of animals treated with the drug, it killed the vultures. A huge die-off of native vulture species has led to rampant rabies among animals (big uptick in cases in people), an explosion of dangerous wild dogs, and garbage reeking everywhere. It will be decades before the vulture population regains its numbers, as they breed slowly.

Here in America, vultures serve the same purpose. They consume carrion. Rabies has no effect on them. Salmonella has no effect on them. They remove from the environment toxins that are dangerous and disgusting. In return, how do we treat them? Shabbily.

Vulture the Sacred joins all American citizens who care deeply about the environment we are creating for future generations. Future generations of people also presupposes future generations of vultures. Restoring forests, reducing CO2 and other pollutants, and designating wild areas will help not only our children, but those baby vulture chicks being hatched this spring -- who, in the absence of lead in their food -- could live 40 years.

The next time you see a vulture, think humbly about it. Promise it you will do what you can to keep it safe. Then notice the grace and, indeed, beauty of this apex creature. How can we humans claim any kind of superiority?

The word of Vulture for the people of Vulture. Thanks be to Vulture.


Debra She Who Seeks said...

I never truly understood or appreciated Vulture until I started reading your blog. You have educated me. Praise His Mighty Wings!

anne marie in philly said...

praise his mighty black wings!

vulture is MUCH smarter than donald dump and his dumptards!

Birdie said...

The same reason I love crows. And I don't mind rats either. I don't want maggots in my house but they are very important.
And now I am not hungry for dinner! 😁

Ol'Buzzard said...

The Ol'Buzzard has no problem with vultures. I eat dead stuff all the time. My wife and I are going out for breakfast this morning and I am looking forward to fried dead pig with my eggs and toast.
Vultures rule
the Ol'Buzzard

e said...

Crank up the Way Back Machine. Many, many moons ago, when I was a wee lass of about 10 years, we lived in a rural community on the West Coast of the North American landmass. My mother, may her memory live forever, called me to the window to witness an amazing spectacle.

Across the road from our place was a large field surrounded by tall trees. Gathering in the trees was a conclave of Vultures. There might have been as many as 50 of the stately birds perched in the towering trees. We watched for hours as they swooped down from the branches to the field below. It was clear that there was a hierarchy to the order of swooping. It was not random at all. There was no bickering or fighting over one's place in the line, at least not that we could see. It was quite orderly.

My brother and I slunk over the road to see what the deal was. A dead deer, probably hit by a car but managing to stagger off the road, was splayed out in the field. The impressive avians were so well organized in their consumption of the deer - the Vultures were clearly in a rotation in the trees. The highest branches waited the longest, the middle branches were slightly impatient waiting their turn. The lower branches were reserved for those with full bellies.

It was an amazing spectacle. Before that I had not given much thought to Vulture. But seeing the society in action changed the way I thought about these amazing apex creatures. Thank you for reminding me of that day, and of the majesty of Vulture!

Anne Johnson said...

e, that is an amazing story! You are now officially a disciple of Vulture. As for Ol'Buzzard, he's the crown prince.

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Anonymous said...

Anne! I had thought you were leaving the blogosphere, and so stopped checking up regularly on your blog. Happy that I visited it by whim today! It might please you to know that there is a state park in my area where the vultures come to nest in the spring and stay all summer long. Every April there is a Welcome Vultures festival thrown by the park, and every autumn a similar farewell festival. Makes me happy!


I'd like my body just tossed to the side of the road for the vultures to have at.