What it is


Bob Peterson has my heartfelt sympathy for the loss of his beloved, old yellow dog to coyotes (see Letters, Oct. 8, 2009). But I find his conclusion that because nature "is red in tooth and claw" we should sit back and "enjoy the ride" confusing.

I understand that predator-prey relationship is at the heart of the evolutionary process and that suffering is intrinsic to that process, but I'm not convinced that because "it just is" justifies indifference. By explaining away the fact of animal suffering by simple acknowledgement, we directly or indirectly deepen it. And we harden our hearts.

I suspect that Peterson struggles like many of us with an unconditional surrender to what "is" in nature. His self-admission of an "animosity toward coyotes" belies his peace with nature. For myself, I find that to live a meaningful life I must try to recognize and follow the timeless archetypes of mercy and justice. If I am quiet or ignore the sustained agony that animals in traps must endure by rationalizing that violence and suffering is inherent in nature, then I have abandoned what makes me human. As authentic human beings, is our responsibility to mercy or to what "is"?

Bob Muth Sr.


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