My sister called yesterday for advice.
Here was her situation:
A co-worker who she is friendly with took the day off. She and her family were having a garage sale, her son was selling lemonade, etc., so at some point during the day, my sister stopped by to say hi.
While there, the child brought her into the house to show her the turtle they'd found on the side of the road.
My sister, an animal lover and vegetarian like me, was skeptical but followed the boy inside.
And there indeed was a gigantic snapping turtle inside a cooler with about an inch of water. The cooler was closed. There were no holes to let air in.
My sister was horrified.
And then it got worse.
Her co-worker's husband announced they were going to eat it that night.
My sister went back to work and couldn't shake what she'd just seen. She called a local conservation board, who told her it was illegal for them to keep the turtle. At this point, she called me.
Should she turn them in? Should she say something to her co-worker about how wrong this seemed?
Should she do nothing?
Ultimately, I suggested she do nothing.
But I hate that answer.
Later, my sister did call the Natural Resources District (that turtle doesn't have a voice, she decided). And they told her that, if you have a license, you can in fact trap and kill snapping turtles.
This person likely does not have a license, but the legality of it clear, she let it go.
We talked on the phone later that night and I said, "Well, if it was a cat or a dog, of course, you would have said something right away."
And almost as soon as I said it, while I knew it was true, I thought, "Wait. What? Really? Why is a turtle's life less valuable than a cat's?"
But in society, it just generally is.
It's the same reason people eat cows and pigs and chickens and turkeys every day - sometimes all three meals - without blinking an eye.
But they wouldn't eat Sadie the Cocker Spaniel or Fluffy the Maine Coon.
It's one of those realities that just is the way it is.
But I wish it wasn't.