The Threat of Trash to Animals

As you can probably imagine, human trash is extremely dangerous to animals.  Thousands of animals die each year in very painful ways.  A survey in Britain found that more than 69,000 animals were killed from exposure to trash in 2002.  Says Tony Crittendon, the chief officer of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, “If people disposed of their rubbish properly, many animals would be saved from injury and death.”

This survey found that the most common causes of animal death to trash are:

cuts caused by cans or broken glass

poisoning resulting from ingestion of spoiled food

suffocation caused by plastic packaging

As animals are becoming more accustomed to eating and sifting through human trash, they are becoming more susceptible to injury and death as a result.  Another way that animals are severely harmed is when they get their heads stuck in cans or jars.  One story talks about a bear that was witnessed with a plastic jug on it’s head.  People hoped that the bear would be able to pry the jar off with it’s hands, but two days later it was again seen with the jug stuck on it’s head.  The temperature was in the 80s and the bear was struggling to breathe.  After realizing that the bear would not be able to remove the jar from it’s head, Wildlife Control set up a trap.  Two days after that the bear was caught in the trap, tranquilized, and the jar was finally removed from it’s head.  This is just one example of how human trash can be extremely dangerous for animals.  We pose so many threats to animals and nature, and we often don’t even realize it.  In my upcoming class on Tuesday, I hope to explore this further.  We will talk about humans impact on animals, evolution, and the extinction process.  The principal question driving the discussion will be, “If we believe in evolution, survival of the fittest, and that extinction is a natural part of life, then why do we feel the need to “save” endangered species”


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