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    Just don't call me ugly

    A coyote in Seattle's Discovery Park got a reprieve from plans to kill it. That doesn't mean the animal's fate is secure. So far, the human population has heard from spokespeople and the like. Now it's the coyote's turn.
    <i>Canis latrans</i>. (Wikipedia)

    Canis latrans. (Wikipedia) None

    The coyote responds:

    First of all, what did you expect to find in your great big woods? It's a forest, you idiots, and forests have to have carnivores or there'd be nothing in them but fluffy little riffraff like squirrels, bunnies, voles, and rats, millions of chattering little pests and more every day because they have huge litters over and over again. (The wife and I have four pups twice a year, and they call us prolific. A brown rat has 12 little ratlets five times a year. Do the math.) Somebody has to – what do you call it? – thin the herd, or everybody starves. And that's carnivores like me who do that, carnivores who incidentally were in that forest a long time before you showed up, a long time before you built your city by cutting down all the other forests so we had nowhere else to go.

    So now you say how you're turning this "park" into a "Wildlife Habitat." You mean like a place where wildlife live? Or is what you're really talking about a Habitat For Very Carefully Selected Pissant Little Wildlife Plus Clams, one that won't upset your useless pets and children, one where nothing's too wild and nothing's too attached to life? Because look at what happens the first time we have a co-existence problem. I'm willing to discuss it, work something out; my species has always been adaptable. We're born negotiators. But what do you do? You immediately get your rifles and traps and Navy sharpshooters and say things like, "It will likely be euthanized."

    Euthanized. Hmmm. My human is a little rusty. What's that mean again? It means instead of shooting me outright, you clamp my leg in an incredibly painful way or shoot me in the butt with a syringe or drop a net over me, and when I'm completely terrified and frantic, then you kill me "humanely." Thanks a lot.

    Yeah, I admit it, I popped one of your cats. I didn't do it because my Hickory Farms Meat of the Month didn't show up, I did it because that's what I do, that's how I survive out here in your "habitat." But I'm not the only one with blood on my paws. Did you ever wonder why all those cats come sauntering over from the Naval Habitat? They come to kill birds and torture mice, that's why. Your furry little pets are vicious, but you choose to ignore their villainy because they rub on your leg and don't try to eat your offspring. They kill for fun and then go home to fill their bellies with Friskies. I got no real home and no Friskies, and I don't kill for fun. So which of us deserves to live? (And let's not even talk about the thousands of your "pets" you kill – oops, euthanize – every year because nobody wants them, because you're too stupid to give them the snip they deserve. There's a lot of blood to go around.)

    The irony here is that we created you, if you believe a lot of the native peoples (who were also here a long time before you were.) They tell great stories about my ancestors, including a creation story where human beings came from a coyote kicking a ball of dung around until it formed into the first man. That's right, a ball of dung. No surprise to me.

    So you've decided not to kill me, at least not yet. If you expect me to thank you, you can forget that right now. Having lunch is not a capital crime, except maybe in Texas. You've finally realized that I eat what's easiest and safest. It's true, of me and every other carnivore on earth. I haven't the time or energy to do a lot of needless running around. You think if you lock up the easy eats I'll move on. You're telling people to keep their cats inside, leash their dogs, hide their garbage, and not leave their babies alone under trees in the forest. I'll admit it, it might work, and I will move on.

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    Posted Wed, Feb 6, 9:18 p.m. Inappropriate

    Great essay: Now let's open the floor to a representative of the voles.


    Posted Thu, Feb 7, 2:01 a.m. Inappropriate

    Coyote Suffrage: Greg's piece is a great and hopefully seminal coyote tract. The truth--self evident to to some of us more political coyotes--is that we ought to be granted voting rights. We are indigenous, sentient, living creatures with inalienable animal rights capable of relentless hard work and group bonding, not unlike Microsoft computer scientists and Boeing wing-welders. Each Coyote over the age of 3 (the age of majority in the coyote population) should be granted an "animal vote" in particular zones reserved for coyotes. In coyote zones, e.g., critical areas, humans should not be allowed to vote or to own land.

    Making this change requires that the Growth Management Act grow up and start acknowledging the existence and rights of coyotes and not just the need for more economic human pawns to feed the coffers of corporations and government, those "legal entities" cobbled together out of the ether that don't acknowledge the facts on the ground: Coyotes Exist and Will Resist! Can you believe that there are ZERO coyote shareholders of any corporation in the U.S., and that not a single coyote of any race or sex (let alone minority coyotes) has ever been elected to any political office? Instead we get tokenism. I know all too well the patronizing Wiley Coyote-ism of the average Seattleite.

    By creating Coyote zones, good Public Coyote Law becomes possible. Are you listening Perkins Coie? For example, many coyotes wander the Sammamish river. These are some of my best friends: ethical in their hunting methods, moral in their division of prey. However, they've not been given even a grade school education (though many have matriculated from Seattle Public schools, not to mention many of our finer business and law schools) so have not been socialized like your average consumer at Bellevue square. Thus, they feel no moral compunction about devouring cats in raids on the evil sprawl of suburbia: my brethren are nothing if not environmental zealots.

    But this way leads to anarchy. With the expansion of rights beyond the self-puffing arrogance of the human race, and the actual creation of Coyote Zones, we then have a way of negotiating. Good fences make good neighbors, but we don't need a wall along the Rio Grande or winding through the West Bank to keep the peace. If coyotes are caught out of legal Coyote Zones eating cats, deportation--not euphemistic euthanasic capital punishment--should be the punishment. For common felons strolling Laurelhurst for poodles, the punishment should be harsher--perhaps caging in the King County Council chambers for six months.

    Now don't get me going on dogs. These guys are the idle pampered rich of the larger canine race. We coyotes are left homeless, fighting for cat venison, while the genetically ravaged dog population is treated like a master race, even though the dog's inbred genetic disaster is obvious to those of us in the lower working intellectual classes.

    I'm pretty sure that if we organized, Coyotes would go big time for Obama. We need hope. Audacious hope. Bush was never a friend of coyotes; think if just $100 billion of the money spent on the war in Iraq went to coyote rights? And how many coyote lives were saved during Katrina? McCain is a senator from Arizona, home of one of the largest indigenous coyote populations, and all he wants to do is make sure we coyotes are not a national security threat and can't get on airplanes without having our shoes and water bottles checked. Hillary 's health care plan doesn't even mention us. Hispanics have the vote, so she caters to them. If we had the vote -- say one electoral vote in each state--we'd have 50 votes to lobby with. Bill Clinton would be here in a New York second.

    "I feel your coyote pain," he might say. But Obama is the guy. Rumor has it that he doesn't own a dog. You can't own a dog and be for coyote suffrage.

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