A Crazy World? Or Is It Just Me?

I won't be popular for saying it but ... was one Emperor Penguin really worth the $80 000 spent to return it to its natural habitat?

Sure Happy Feet (as the penguin was known) captured the hearts of millions ... and yes, what a privilege to see one up close ... and of course, it provided valuable practice for veterinary students and biologists ... and naturally it brought the conservation debate to the forefront of thinking (personally I don't know if that's a good thing but I won't go there) ... but really, was it worth the cost?

I personally prefer not to think of the alternative (having an animal put to sleep) which probably makes me a hypocrite (then again, I eat meat and prefer not to think of where it comes from either) but on the other hand, is this penguin likely to survive in the wild? After all, he was found on a beach far from his natural habitat with his stomach full of sand. I have a feeling that Happy Feet may have been a few sandwiches short of a picnic. And when it comes to survival of the fittest in the wild ... well, I'll leave it up to your imagination.

People - and corporations - and whoever else - are free to spend their money as and where they will but I can't help wondering what a difference that money could have made to the Horn of Africa? Or to the poor in this country? The children that go to school hungry and barefooted ... the elderly who cannot afford heating ... those without a roof over their heads ... Granted it probably wouldn't go far but surely it would make a difference to some lives?

Have we become such a mixed up crazy world that we value the life of an animal over the life of a human? Some would say that a life is a life, regardless of whether human or animal. But it is the human that has been created in God's image and who has an eternal soul ... something that cannot be said for an Emperor Penguin no matter how adorable he is (and I'll admit that he is cute).

Call me callous. Call me unfeeling. Call me insensitive. Call me whatever you like. I would love to see Happy Feet returned home, but at such a cost I believe we have our priorities mixed up.


Fox said…
Well, we do live in a crazy world. It's admirable to save baby whales and baby seals, but if you wish to save an unborn human life, you're told you're taking away the rights of women (the right to kill - maybe it's just me, but I thought we already did that for all people, hence the time spent in prison for murder).

I didn't know it cost $80,000 to return Happy Feet back to his home. I guess one way to look at it is if they would have spent the money on research anyway, then this is just another project for them. Maybe they will learn something that will help people in the future... probably not, but it's a thought. It is sad, but there are people who will gladly give money to help an animal, but will not give money to help humans. Maybe their thinking is that animals can't help themselves. But there are lots of people that are pretty much helpless too.

I think they should just have charged $1 per person to use the website to track Happy Feet. I know I am interested in what happens to him, so I imagine there are 80,000 people out in this world that would have paid $1 to defer the costs of this and get to watch his progress. Then again, if you'd give a dollar to do that, would you give a dollar to help feed the hungry? Priorities, priorities!

We had a missionary from Africa in our church on Sunday. He wants to start an orphanage, but because of the paperwork costs within the government there, to do it will cost around $15,000-$20,000. We were able to give $1500 to help them, but that's a drop in the bucket. He already has 10 kids living with them in their home. He was weeping... because he said he can't bear to see them tossed out like trash, like a dog on the street with no one that cares about them. So he keeps taking them in, but there are so many more kids that need a safe place. Are the priorities of the world messed up? Yes, they are. But then again, I'm convicted myself because not every dollar I spend is spent in a totally selfless way either.
Anonymous said…
I agree, but then I wonder where my values came from???

It reminded me of a song by Casting Crowns, 'While We Were Sleeping':

"United States of America
Looks like another silent night
As we're sung to sleep by philosophies
That save the trees and kill the children"

Though it could apply to any nation on earth, not just the US.

This song also helps us to re-evaluate our priorities, not monetary, but spiritual. It talks about how Israel missed the coming of the Messiah. But it also asks America (and us) whether we will (or have) missed Him as well, with distorted views and priorities.

Son #2

P.S. I highly recommend Casting Crowns to everyone!
SchnauzerMom said…
I love the group Casting Crowns! I really care about animals but I think wild animals need to be left alone. We interfere way too much. If that means they die young, well, that's part of being a wild animal.
Jules said…
Fox, Son#2 and SchnauzerMom, thank you for your comments. It does seem that there is a clamour when it comes to Save the Whales, or Save the Trees, or Let the Elderly Die With Dignity (i.e. euthanasia) but only a whisper when it comes to saving a human life. It even seems that more air time was given to Happy Feet than has been given to the plight of starving children in the Horn of Africa.

I don't spend my money in a totally selfless way either (hey, we're renovating a house) but I do wonder about our priorities in general.

BTW, Son#2, I think that song is from my CD. Does that mean it's no longer in my house??? I didn't know all the words and I'm glad you brought them to my attention. They are so true.
Jen said…
I remember watching "Whale Wars" on tv, and getting so frustrated that these people were willing to spend all this money and time, and risk their lives....for whales. Not that I am not an animal lover. I am, and believe God wants us to take care of the animals He made. It is just that our world has things so mixed up, and people have started to put the value of human life so far down the chain of importance compared to animals. I have been shocked at how people (and some politicians) have been mentioning that the U.S. should start doing population control, like the kind that is manditory in China. They think it is necessary and fine, even though it would involve the killing of the unborn. Yet these people that advocate population control would be up in arms if we suggested trying to control the population of any of the wild animal kingdom. It is insane. I see commercials all the time for these organizations that are against cruelty to animals. The sad things is that these same people don't think twice about letting a child suffer a horrible death in the womb. It really makes no sense.
busymomof10 said…
I agree Totally!!! You are right on target! Good post!
Jules said…
Jen and busymomof10, thanks for chiming in. I appreciate your comments so much. I could go on and on about the injustices and inequalities when it comes to time, money etc spent on animals as opposed to human lives. There are people in this country - mothers, children, breadwinners, etc - dying from illnesses that can be treated but they can't afford the treatment because our government won't subsidise the cost of the treatment. For example, that $80 000 could have saved the life of a mother with young children who is dying of cancer. The drug is available - in the US for example - but not in our country unless you can foot the bill yourself.

It just seems to me that while Happy Feet is an adorable penguin that endeared himself to many, he is after all just an animal, and that money could have been better spent.
Anonymous said…
Out of interest, there's speculation that little Happy Feet may have become a Happy Meal. It appears that after only five days back in the wild, his tracker has stopped transmitting. While it could be faulty or could have fallen off (though the manufacturers doubt both), there is also the explanation that he became the most expensive meal available for some lucky shark or whale.

Son #2

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