Letter: ‘Mindful’ comments on rabbits
Posted on February 15th, 2015
Kudos to The Forum for the editorial “Don’t call Fudd about the rabbits” (Feb. 10), which was a fine piece of mindful journalism embodying Buddhist principles.
Every year about this time of winter, jack rabbits become newsworthy in the Red River Valley. This year, jack rabbits became news when WDAY-WDAZ-TV reported Feb. 1 that hundreds of jack rabbits have taken over a park and neighborhood near 33rd Avenue South in Fargo.
“Good Morning America” sensationalized the story the next day: “More than 50 jack rabbits the size of small dogs have been hopping around backyards and a park of a new development in south Fargo,” it said quoting a resident. The complaint the residents had against the jack rabbits was that these wild animals “destroy the shrubs and leave their droppings everywhere.”
Reporter Archie Ingersoll’s story in The Forum on Feb. 3 reflected a more conciliatory attitude toward jack rabbits as part of the ecosystem, but it too failed to identify the roots of the problem when it reported: “These droves of hares have invaded (emphasis mine) a newly developed neighborhood along 33rd Avenue South, west of 45th Street, and some residents are not pleased by what they consider a nuisance.”
The reason for the problem is the “invasion” of man into territory that belonged to jack rabbits or, in Buddhist parlance, the craving of the putative humans to acquire more and more and cling on to them thinking they each have a static self.
Thus, instead of seeing the interdependence and interconnections that humans have with nature including all other sentient beings, they see humans as superior to other phenomena in nature.
This is the reason for humans to think that hunting wild animals is OK to accommodate the pleasures and cravings (tanha) of man/woman. Buddhists call this ignorance (avijja) – the lack of understanding the universe as it really is.
Jack rabbits are prolific eaters and can consume over a pound of grasses, shrubs or bark each day. But those who purchased the property and invaded the wild should have anticipated their encounter with these creatures.
In spite of their breeding capacity, jack rabbits have a short life span of one to five years. You don’t need an Elmer Fudd to kill them. Jack rabbits provide a lot of pleasure to children who watch the speedy animals capable of reaching 40 miles an hour, and use their hind legs to propel themselves on leaps of more than 10 feet.
I favor the withdrawal of all laws permitting the hunting of animals for carnivorous indulgence. Hunting seasons are an anachronism in this enlightened era. Let man/woman and nature (including all types of sentient beings) co-exist in harmony.
My hope is The Forum will gradually move away from commoditized journalism and adopt news values in consonance with mindful journalism.
Professor emeritus Gunaratne, Moorhead, is the lead author of the book “Mindful Journalism and News Ethics in the Digital Era: A Buddhist Approach” (Routledge, 2015).