I was watching a Fox News live feature about heroic efforts in Houston to rescue animal companions. I am an animal lover, and my wife is an animal worshiper, so this aspect of natural disasters is close to our hearts.
We were told that one sheriff has been going door to door for days searching for endangered non-humans in the flooded areas. Awwwww. Fox caught up with him as he was leaving one domicile with the owner, who had with him the rescued pet: his 9-year-old son’s…
His name is Crabby.
We’re arguing about such dire conditions in Houston that looters are running amuck, and hearing about overwhelmed rescuers and rising death rates, and this sheriff is spending hours rescuing hermit crabs?? The tragedy is down to that then? We’re at the endangered hermit crab stage of triage, are we?
1.That sheriff, who suddenly realized, when the microphone was thrust in his face, that he looked ridiculous, babbled about how he was at the end of his pet quest and would be moving on soon to the important work of dealing with this horrible blah blah blah. Sorry, Sheriff, too late. If law enforcement has nothing better to do than rescue the likes of Crabby, then the flooding has been seriously over-hyped.
2. The Fox News Anchor Blonde on duty tried to cover by talking about how Crabby perhaps was only a crab to us, but to the little boy who loved him, he was still worth rescuing. No, he wasn’t. If the sheriff knew that that the owner was taking him to his flooded house to rescue a damn crab, then the sheriff should be set adrift. If he didn’t, then the father of Crab Boy should be arrested for interfering with rescue operations.
3. What is the ethical hierarchy for rescuing pets in a disaster? Is it in order of intelligence? Size? Value? Utility? Longevity? Cuteness? Tastiness? Is “Cats and Dogs first” the pet equivalent of “Women and children first” on the Titanic? Do kittens and puppies have higher priority than their parents? Or should all juvenile animals have the first call to rescue, including baby rabbits, stoats, turtles and black mambas?
Perhaps the order should be primates, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, birds (before or after reptiles?), fish, invertebrates, insects, arachnids, and then all the icky stuff left. But should aquatic mammals be high on the list, or considered capable of fending for themselves? Pinnipeds, for example, like elephant seals: do they really have to be rescued before, say, Galapagos Tortoises, who just do not do well in floods? Otters would seem to be relatively safe, I’d think. They are cute, though. Should the sheriff be rescuing Warty the Wart Hog when a cute family of otters huddles in a shoe box somewhere?
4. The Hindu approach would be that there should not be any hierarchy: Crabby might be the current vessel for Joan Rivers; in fact, I hope he is. Maybe the sheriff is a Hindu. That’s almost an excuse for him doing this. Almost.
The Ethics Alarms verdict: wherever the line is designating when paid public employees and volunteer rescuers shouldn’t be spending their time saving a pet, it is miles before we get to Crabby. Showing trivial “rescues” like that one probably cost Harvey relief fundraising efforts a few million dollars. If they are really down to saving hermit crabs, everything seems under control.
Send that money to PBS, I’d say, if Houston is spending it on hermit crabs.