The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group asked me last weekend to check out reports of 4 finless dolphins on Tramore Beach. The feeling was that they were animals that had been reported on separate occasions in the previous month or so that had just not been removed by the County Council.
I stumbled across 3 of what turned out to be Harbour Porpoise corpses very close together. I took photos and skin samples but they were old corpses. They didn’t have fins or a lot of much else which is unsurprising considering the time they’ve been tossed around on the beach and the amount of dogs and other scavengers that are around.
Unfortunately these run-of-the-mill strandings have been reported in the local and national media as an unusual event and there’s an element of concern and even hysteria surrounding them. If only people could get so het up by more urgent issues.
If a whole pod of dolphins or whales washed up on our beach it would still be more than likely a natural disaster. Sad but natural. In some cases boats and particularly the British Navy in the North Sea has been accused of interfering with whales sonars and causing them to strand but nothing has been proven. Even if something was proven there is little cause for hysteria, just action.
Any fluctuation in numbers of cetacean corpses washed up will be due to the amount of living creatures visiting our shores and indeed finding more dead animals would suggest to me a corresponding increase in live ones, good news surely?So this year, I think, if I take my own stranding reports as a rough rule, that there may be more Harbour Porpoises about in the locality than last year and last year there were more Common Dolphins.
Possibly fuelling this local hysteria there have been numerous stories of dolphin and whale kills in the Far East and on the Faroes on social media. There is of course reason to highlight these stories but this may also be inciting local peoples imaginations. I don’t support whale slaughter or inhumane animal killing but the first thing I wonder when I see a lorry load of whale corpses in the Faroe Islands is why people don’t get so upset by the gazillions of cows we slaughter every year.
It is something to consider that while everyone is wailing and gnashing their teeth about cute animals dying, other not-so-cute-animals are being bred, kept in appalling conditions and slaughtered to keep us all in chicken nuggets and burgers. I am not a vegetarian and I am not sentimental about animals but I do try to be aware of what I am eating and how I came to be eating it.
To depart from the subject of animals entirely, there are far more things for the Irish people to get upset about than the natural cycle of life and far better uses for the media. Yesterday it was reported that 7 out of 10 members of the Oireachtas had to re-pay expenses they did not need after a random audit. That’s a random audit. Our government is so steeped in corruption that thievery is the norm.
Meanwhile, in the last week the legislation for the property tax has been pushed through, a property tax that will be based on property prices that were shoved through the roof by successive governments refusing to put a cap on land prices.
We have people like the young family who have cancelled their health insurance because they can’t afford it being asked to cough up €500 or so next year or an older couple who bought their house in the 1970s and who are now being asked to cough up hundreds of euro out of nowhere to provide wages and pensions for politicians and bankers who are living the high life at our expense. And don’t tell me the money will be used for local services. Just don’t.
The dolphins are fine. If it comes to a point when they are seriously sinned against action will be taken to protect them, more action than is taken against more serious transgressions. Anyone can join in any action and become educated to the natural world around you by volunteering for the IWDG or other animal or wildlife groups. MISE also looks for volunteers for their animal surveys.
If you are looking for things to be upset about, get upset about the fact that your country is being taken to the cleaners and you have allowed it to happen while stuffing your faces with chicken nuggets and own-brand fish fingers (wonder if any dolphin meat ends up in those?). Get your priorities straightened out. There will be no money to protect our wildlife if most of us can barely afford a roof over our own heads.