Animal Cues

A Non-Electric Sheep, Some
Loose Goose & the Roosters

Since it’s Friday, let’s have our latest roundup of the furry, the featherly and the far out there. After all, birds and bees do it and we’re not above getting high with animal antics.
But not too high. Just like the sheep who wound up on the roof of a house in Pontycymer, Wales. Firefighters took almost an hour to bring him down, unharmed, but no one knows for sure how he got there. Climbing the garage? We don’t think so. Not even if he were of the electric kind.
Deckard, main character of Philip K.Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, keeps one on his building’s rooftop, but dreams of being able to afford a real horse, instead. Strangely, director Ridley Scott got rid of the subplot when he adapted the story to make his classic Blade Runner.
Remember the slaughtered geese of Prospect Park? They had been accused of threatening to down airplanes in New York, but unlike most terrorists, they did get summarily rounded up and killed by the city.
A public outcry followed it and then they hired collies, beautiful and smart dogs trained to drive the geese away. We haven’t heard anything about it but apparently that didn’t work either.
So this year the geese, or at least some of them, will be rounded up and killed again, but this time the plan is to put the savage act for a good cause: food for Pennsylvanian food kitchens.
That’s nice but we do have two questions: what? there’s no demand for food by New York’s own soup kitchens? Also, wasn’t once some concern about whether the birds’ meat not being fit for human consumption due to sanitary reasons?
But who are we, right? At least someone had a great idea, perhaps anticipating that the chase after the geese will be on foot and having pity on the poor, unjustly outlawed birds: they designed a type of sandals for the goose on the loose.
Full disclosure, we have no proof that that’s the motivation for such a stylish creation, but we don’t know of many animal fashionistas either. The shoes do come in handy, though, perfect for such harsh times if you are a goose. Or don’t work in Wall Street.
Thinking about the comfort of their animals is, thank heavens, the main motivation of many a farmer too.
Zhang Xiaolong, for instance, devised a way to put a stop in the constant bickering and vicious fighting going on in his coop in China: he outfit his roosters with glasses. Fashionable too.
They serve as blinkers and prevent the birds from seeing straight ahead – making direct confrontation more difficult. It worked; the crows and cock-a-doodles have been keeping to a minimum and everyone has been able to get some sleep.
And that concludes our weekly roundup of the fascinating and exciting world of animals. Tune in next week when we’ll meet the descendants of one of New York’s oldest lineage of immigrants to arrive in the new world: a family of bedbugs.

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