5 Ways We're Screwing With Wild Animals (For Their Own Good)

#2. Saving Animals by Encouraging Kids to Kill Them


Hunting consists of a lot of sitting outside in the early morning waiting for an animal to appear, usually in cold temperatures, and often drunk. Kids these days don't see the point -- they're not old enough to drink, and they can get all the pleasure of killing a beautiful thing that wasn't paying attention from their graphically impressive gaming consoles, thank you.

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"We've been out here forever; can't we just camp a deer spawn point and then go home?"

This is a problem.

For the animals.

It turns out that much of the money for conservation programs comes from the sale of hunting licenses. Without people buying hunting licenses, there isn't enough money for animal conservation. Steve Sanetti, the president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, said, "As paradoxical as it may seem, if hunting were to disappear, a large amount of the funding that goes to restore all sorts of wildlife habitat, game and nongame species alike, would disappear." In other words, if people don't pay to kill animals, animals will die.

Apparently Bambi was more ethically convoluted than anyone thought.

Man, do you ever just stop and appreciate how totally fucked you are, animals?

Of course, that's coming from the president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, and we risk controversy here by wondering if he might not be a bit biased. But regardless of whether you're pro or con, there's no arguing that hunting is a multibillion-dollar industry. Hunting sales generate retail dollars, and that money gets pumped into local economies and, through taxes, generates hundreds of millions more for government wildlife protection efforts. That's just how it works. There's no arguing it. With fewer new hunters arriving to fill in for retiring hunters, this revenue is slipping, and it's negatively impacting the Fish and Wildlife Service in several states -- whose job it is to protect and manage animal populations.

Conservation has a lot of faces.

States are doing what they can to try to lure kids back. They haven't yet resorted to endorsements from Dora the Big Game Hunta or SpongeBob RiflePants, but they have lowered or eliminated minimum hunting ages in 30 states. Authorities are also running workshops that extol the virtues of hunting to children and ceaselessly plugging the sport using social networking.

Guns, blood, and Twitter: Together at last.

#1. Making Penguins Wear Dorky Sweaters

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The fairy penguins of Tasmania live on an island near a shipping route, because there's no apartments section in the Penguin Craigslist. They're pretty much stuck where they are, which sucks, because their home is frequently hit by oil spills from passing ships. The birds get oiled up, in the least sexy meaning of that term, and when they go to preen their feathers, they ingest poisonous oil and die.

The end. Article over. Go kill yourself.

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Somewhere, that damn Sarah McLachlan song just started playing on its own.

Oh, wait! No, sorry, there's more: Conservation groups do clean the birds, but it takes a long time to scrub down a whole flock of greasy birds. Birds that were waiting their turn for a bath were preening their feathers and thus dying before the workers had a chance to clean them. What to do?

Why, knit them tiny adorable penguin sweaters, of course!

Toby Zerna/Newspix/Rex USA
"Come at me with a beanie cap and I'm gonna go find a seal to end this farce."

It was a grand idea whose practicality was outweighed only by its cuddliness. But then some grizzled old veteran of the great penguin war looked up from the dead bird in his hands, choked back the tears, and furiously demanded to know how they were going to knit 1,000 penguin sweaters in time. So they asked the Internet, which had been waiting for this exact moment since the moment it was first incepted, and of course it said "OMGZORS I CAN MAYK PENGY CLOWZZ!1."

Turns out that meant "Yes, we will absolutely help you put turtlenecks on penguins."

Well, we've finally done it: hipster animals. Good job, humanity.

A copy of the pattern was posted on one of the conservation groups' websites. The pattern was specific as to the size of the sweater, as they could only be about 40 centimeters tall to fit the tiny penguins, but the colors were all up to the volunteers, hence the handsome cable-knits up there.

The penguins weren't happy about wearing them, as they are wild animals and not fans of torso coverings, no matter how hilariously ironic they might be. But it saved their damn lives. The Internet was the true hero here, and all we, as a part of said Internet, are asking in return is that somebody dig through their archives and find us a photo of a penguin in a Cosby sweater.

If it does not exist, make it. Be the change you want to see in this world.

Blair Dodge is a writer from Melbourne, but his real passion is stacking shelves. Check out his friend's Carnisnora Tumblr for more animal hijinks of the illustrated kind.

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Related Reading: Some animal rights campaigns utterly fuck over the animals they love. That's why Dolphin-Safe tuna murders every other swimming animal. And hey, how'd you like to see a caterpillar dressed as a voodoo mask? We've got you covered. Not done goofing off with Internet comedy? Click here for the dark side of adorable animals.

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