I have said in my book that although some of the animals here in Australia are considered ‘feral’, they are all indigenous to Mother Earth. I find it very narrow minded of people who label certain animals as ‘vermin’ while indicating that they should be wiped out.
Most people still view animals as being ‘dumb’ or devoid of a soul, which saddens me greatly. The animals are our brothers and sisters and should be treated as such. They give of themselves without question. Some share their meat, skin and fleece because they know that this is their medicine and their purpose. Others act as companions, workers and team members. They not only live the relationship they share with us – they feel it. They feel it from a very deep place. They actually remember it. In traditional stories of Creation, many legends speak of a time when the animals and the People were one and the same. People could become animals at will and animals could become People. It was not until they decided what they were meant to be did they begin to take on the one form that would see them through until the end of time. The animals still (genetically) remember this time, and they feel it as their role to help us remember it too.
The animals considered vermin: foxes, goats, rabbits, cats and in some places, wild dogs, pigs and deer are all here by no fault of their own. Although animals like rats and mice made their own way here by way of the ships that brought the first settlers to the country, they would never have made the voyage had it not been for White Man. This land rightfully belongs to the Indigenous People that occupied it before the arrival of White Man, just as it belongs to the native animals that initially inhabited it before the introduction of the European animals that are now considered pests.
If we insist on singling out the animals as invaders while ignoring the intrusive history of our relatives past, then yes, we should view ourselves as ‘ferals’, too. I think that it is amazing how we are able to explain away obvious biases that put Man on a pedestal and label animals almost as ‘throw away’ objects. ‘Feral’ animals have ‘invaded’ the bush, killing the wildlife and destroying habitats and so, obviously, they should not be there. White Man ‘colonised’ the land. He moved in and brought ‘civilization’ to an otherwise perfect People. White Man forgets the countless Indigenous People that were wiped out in the process, not to mention the decimation of an established and powerful spiritual belief system that had supported the People for thousands of years. He says that he is sorry and attempts to put things right by attempting to ‘shut the barn door after the horse has bolted’.
If the animals that we originally introduced and allowed to revert back to the wild (animals that we now target as vermin simply because they have successfully colonised and taken over parts of a land far from their own to ensure their survival and that of their kind), continue to be labelled as ‘feral’, then in my opinion, we, as descendants of those white settlers, should also be viewed from the same viewpoint. What they are ‘guilty’ of is no different, in my opinion, to what we as ‘settlers’ did to the land and the traditional ways of Australia’s Aboriginal People.
Obviously, the situation cannot be reversed. We cannot fix the mistakes of our ancestors, but we should not be trying to ‘band-aid’ the situation by trying to wipe out the ‘feral animals’ in an attempt to cover up our own inadequacies, either. We should be learning to live side by side with one another in harmony with the environment. Sure, we should be taking responsibility for animals that technically should not have been introduced in the first place, but we can never expect to wipe them out completely. It is interesting to note that what we perceive is actually reflective of what we are projecting at the time. What I mean to say is the fact that we perceive these animals as being feral and destructive to the environment actually says a lot about how we view ourselves and our place in this country as a (white) people. We view these animals as being vermin because, perhaps, subconsciously, we acknowledge the fact that we have a lot to answer for. Perhaps we actually see ourselves as being the problem and not the animals at all … just a thought.