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.