In this post, I will discuss the killing of garden animals, including:
-Why kill animals in your garden?
-Alternatives to killing animals in your garden.
-How to kill animals in your garden.
-People who kill animals in their gardens
-Questions about killing animals.
Why would you want to kill poor, cute animals in your garden?
Many people have an emotional connection to fuzzy forest creatures because of childhood stories and DIsney movies that depict wonderful, brave animals consciously interacting with others. However, in practical reality most animals are hardcore survival-of-the-fittest types and will not hesitate to attack your children and eat all the fruits and veggies you have been growing in your garden. My experience with wild animals has taught me that they do not have higher level consciousness and even the cutesy ones, like squirrels or deer, are brutal creatures having nothing in common with humanity. For the most part, only city folk think of animals in the Disney way. People who own gardens, even if they are environmentalists, generally come to discover this fact about the wild animals in their yards and end up exterminating them if they eat their crops. I personally do not have a garden and do not kill animals. However, I do recognize that I would have no problem exterminating pests if needed. If you don’t need to kill your pesky animals though, you shouldn’t, which leads to my next major topic.
Alternatives to killing pesky animals in your garden
There are many ways in which to protect your garden without actually killing the animals. You can use regular fencing, electrified fencing, non-lethal traps (although you have to transport the vicious wild animal several miles away and hope it doesn’t return), spray deterrents and sprinkle deterrents. Most of these methods range from somewhat effective to ineffective on animals. Woodchucks are notoriously hard to get rid of, as are rats and squirrels.
The best non-lethal method of animal control in your garden is fencing. Building a good fence that extends two feet underground and comes up high enough that animals can’t crawl over it prevents most of the damage that animals will do to your crops.
How to kill animals that eat your garden
The number one thing to think about when you are planning on exterminating animals in your garden is whether or not it is legal. Many different laws may apply, including the endangered species act. Review all local ordinances and state and federal laws. I strongly recommend using a professional exterminator or animal control to do what needs to be done. If you insist on doing it yourself though, follow these guidelines:
-Be safe. Do not endanger yourself or other people or the property of anyone around. Yes, using explosives is off limits.
-Be humane. Do not kill animals in your garden using tactics that would cause the wild animals pain. I recommend avoiding poisons for this reason and drowning (yes, a woman actually would catch animals in traps and then drown them).
-Be sane. The most important rule you can follow is your own common sense.
People who kill animals in their garden
I do not have a garden and live in a studio in the city of Seattle. I grew up in a rural area of Washington and have known many people who have tried methods ranging from safe and sane to absolutely nuts in their animal control endeavors. One friend had two huge german shepherds and he would hold them behind his front door while watching a rabbit approaching his garden and when the rabbit was close enough, he would sic his big dogs on them. Entertaining to watch while in junior high, but probably not the best method of animal control. I read a recent article in the New York Times about people who kill animals in their garden (that article was the inspiration for this post actually). The people in the article mostly were city folks who had gotten tired of animals destroying their gardens and had set about killing them. The people ranged from using wire traps to catch animals then drown them in their rain basins to beating the animals to death with shovels. One woman just hated snakes and would walk around in her garden with a 20 gauge shotgun and would blow them away whenever she found one. Snakes don’t even hurt gardens, she just was afraid of them.
Questions about killing animals in your garden
I have some questions about killing animals in your garden. Is it ethical? What are the best methods to do it? Does anyone have any stories about killing animals in their gardens or heard of anyone who killed animals in their garden? Are there any moral implications we should consider?