Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Stupid Human Tricks

- I don't want to eat genetically altered salmon, the first living creature to be played with in such a way or at least the first one for which geneticists are trying to get approval from the F.D.A.

Humans are so breathtakingly arrogant about screwing with other species. We used to create our desired changes via breeding. We produced cows with udders the size of hot air balloons for more milk, hogs with less fat because we prefer lean bacon, chickens with the brains and maternal instincts taken out of them to turn them into egg-laying machines, roosters for lethal fighting instincts.

We bred pets for traits that pleased us - dogs with noses so flat they could barely breathe, or skin so wrinkled they develop mold if not properly cared for,  so vicious they have to be caged and muzzled. We bred them for speed so we could gamble on their prowess on the track. (Of course, if we couldn't breed for the desired changes, we simply butchered for them, cutting off dogs' ears and tails).

We bred horses to run fast as well or trot fast or pace fast, based on our preference. And sometimes we simply bred them so we could harvest their urine to make hormones for menopausal women.

Because we think extremes are cute, we bred miniature dogs and cats and horses and goats. We bred them to have excessively long fur or to have no fur at all.

We bred wild animals so we could fence them in and allow Bwana Big Hero to "hunt" them so they could hang heads or pelts on their walls and brag to their friends.

We removed the taste from of fruits and vegetables so they'd stay looking good during shipping.  We bred for showier blossoms without fragrance.

We bred other plants to have more seeds or larger ears although in the transition, they lost their resistance to blight or other enemies.

When we didn't breed mutations, we did it in other ways - by cloning them. (Remember, dear Dolly, the sheep?)

And now we're fucking with genetically altered salmon to make them bigger, twice as big in fact as natural salmon.

And why do we need to do that? Why because there are too many of us, of course. We need giant fish and abnormally productive apple trees and humongous ears of corn and enormously uddered cows to feed ourselves. Because while we're good at altering other creatures for our purposes, we seem to have no tolerance at all for altering our own self-destructive natures, one which is very definitely self-indulgent breeding of our own.

It's been a long, long time since God told us to go forth and multiply. Maybe it's time to stop worrying about dogs and cows and corn and salmon and starting breeding some commonsense qualities into ourselves.