By Gene Hall
Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey killed a spider in front of school kids a few days ago. As far as I know, no arrests have been made in that “spidercide.” No articles of impeachment have yet been introduced against the governor. Sure, folks at the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) are upset. Darn.
If there is any action in which nearly 100 percent of the adult population of the world has engaged, it’s the swatting and subsequent crushing of a spider. I’ve done it. My wife is most aggressive at it. It’s a sight to see.
There are many and varied species of harmless and even beneficial spiders, but some of them are quite dangerous. Once bitten, the effect can range from swelling to rotting flesh around the bite. My mother is terrified of spiders and snakes. Neither enjoyed much in the way of life expectancy near her.
Some say we are never more than a few feet away from a spider, even in our homes. Last summer, I aggressively cleared dozens of black widows, whose bite can be most unpleasant, out of my garage. The method was chemical with strict compliance to the label directions. How the spiders felt about it was not a concern.
In my home in Waco, we had a benevolent chicken snake—as we call them in East Texas—living in the vines on the fence between the Halls and our neighbor. A misguided house guest killed it and we were overrun by mice. I’ve learned to appreciate most snakes, though the highly poisonous variety, in town and in the vicinity of my grandchildren, are not welcome. Swatting a spider on your bed or desk meets the test for common sense.
Speaking of common sense, or a lack of it, PETA has or has intentions of buying small surveillance unmanned aircraft—drones—in their never ending pursuit of animal equality.
Drones, essentially, are similar to the aircraft used in U.S. government surveillance and sometimes to dispatch bad guys. PETA intends to use them to stalk hunters. I know of several hunters in East Texas, once lined up on a 12 point buck, who would take a dim view of an aerial drone spoiling the shot. Expect to see pieces of the offending unmanned aircraft mounted on den walls. I’m not advocating this action. I’m predicting it will happen.
Will the drones be used to disrupt livestock operations? Will we see buzzing of dairy cows right before milking time? It would be easy to frighten to the point of panic among the birds. How about stampeding a beef herd during a roundup? All-of-the-above are safety issues for both livestock and people.
All this silliness is over the top until you understand PETA is just cover for other groups like the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). They’re the ones that, unlike PETA, do not disrobe during protests. Their goals are the same. However, when compared to PETA, HSUS doesn’t look crazy.