Paul's Internet Landfill/ 2011/ RIP Carp

RIP Carp

I made the mistake of looking at the front page of The Record the other day. The City of Kitchener is engaging in another expensive renovation project. This time they are redoing the lake in Victoria Park. They are dredging up the lake, making it deeper, and redoing the shoreline "to dissuade geese".

Because they are draining the lake for the renovations they have to do something with the wildlife -- in particular the fish. So they zapped the lake with electricity, which stuns the fish so they can collect them in nets. The article said that native species would be released into other streams. Carp and goldfish would be "destroyed", which is a pleasant euphemism for "mass murder". The rest of the article laid out all the reasons they didn't want non-native fish in the lake. They stir up algae! They push out native species!

There was a time this would have thrown me into a rage. Now it just makes me feel sad. So much of "habitat preservation" consists of finding immigrant species and killing them off. But the argument around immigrant species is a smokescreen. They don't want native species dominating Victoria Park either, which is why they are going to great lengths to dissuade Canada geese from setting up shop. In they forcibly removed 147 geese from the park because too many had been settling in the area. They also abort eggs with mineral oil and remove nests.

I don't know what to say. Victoria Lake is an artificial construct to begin with -- it was dug up when Victoria Park was created in 1896, and has been "renovated" several times since then. There is not much that is native about it.

And I liked the carp a lot. They swam near the surface of the lake, so you could stand on the bridge to Roos Island and see them swimming below. They would pop out of the water to snap up fallen berries from the trees along the lake. They were graceful in the water. Now they are all dead.

What a waste. I bet they did not even use the carp for food.

We are so cavalier about how we treat animals, because "might makes right" is the only rule that matters. Every week I see fish that are treated a lot worse than those carp at the Chinese grocery. I am not even sure those fish are fully dead when the store staff starts "cleaning" them. Maybe stunning the carp and then killing them is more humane. The only reason I feel sad about this mass killing is because I read a newspaper article about it. If I had not been explicitly told about the action, I would have implicitly knew that the fish were killed but I would not have cared much.

As I aged I hoped I would gain wisdom about these things. Instead my responses have deterioriated to simple, unexplainable emotions. I feel sad, and I can't even justify why.