While PETA protects animals, insects kick our butts | NevadaAppeal.com

While PETA protects animals, insects kick our butts

Barry Smith

My nominees for the people with the most time on their hands would have to be PETA.

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ latest efforts involve persuading baseball, football and basketball leagues to quit using leather balls.

“It takes 3,000 cows to supply the NFL with enough leather for a year’s supply of footballs and 3.8 steers just to make the 72 footballs used in every Super Bowl,” reports Dan Shannon, who is PETA’s point man on all things sporting.

The NCAA already has decided to stop using leather basketballs during the Final Four tournament.

Although PETA claimed a victory for their hidebound friends, the NCAA said it was going to synthetic balls because most teams already use them. The Associated Press reported only four of the 65 teams in last year’s tournament had been using leather during the season anyway.

PETA, of course, are the same people who want Minnesota to ban fishing in state parks. They’ve also campaigned to attempt to persuade teams like the Packers and Gamecocks to change their names because they are being insensitive to animals.

I know I’m living in a wonderful world when people have time to worry about such things.

Personally, I have better things to do — like worry about moths.

When is somebody going to create a support group for people who are afraid to turn on the kitchen light at night because they know a squadron of moths is lurking on the ceiling ready to flutter us into submission?

While PETA is trying to protect animals from the cruelty of the human race, it seems to me the Insect Kingdom is kicking our butts.

Joanne Skelly of the Cooperative Extension office says the moths will be gone in a couple more weeks, but that doesn’t really help us now, does it?

I was trying to watch the NBA playoffs the other night on TV when a moth landed on Shaquille O’Neill’s elbow. The ref called a foul and awarded Shaq two free throws.

In an attempt to fight back against the moth invasion, I enlisted the help of my feline friend, Mel. We had two moths trapped in the bathroom, so I knocked one down. Mel pounced on it, batted it around a couple of times just for fun, then ate it.

Apparently, moths are somewhere down the culinary scale for cats, because Mel didn’t seem that interested in eating the second one.

Who let these moths in the country, anyway? If George Bush is going to reorganize Homeland Security, then I think he needs to include Vector Control in the operation. Out in Lyon County, where terrorists are few and far between, the annual war is on mosquitos. It’s a tossup who’s winning.

The other day, I was sitting our family room when a bumblebee flew into the room looking like a Volkswagen with wings.

I have a deep respect for any insect larger than my head, so I decided to ignore it on the theory it would simply leave. I gave a quick lesson on bumblebee etiquette to the dog — “I’d leave that thing alone, if I were you, Ozzie” — and settled back on the couch to resume reading the baseball box scores.

The bumblebee, instead of flying back where he came from, took a liking to the decorations hanging on the wall directly over my head. Either that, or he was trying to read over my shoulder.

Well, try as I might, I couldn’t concentrate on the newspaper with a rogue bumblebee lurking about trying to see how Shawn Estes pitched the night before. So I got a broom and gently, gently coaxed him back outdoors. He was angry in a way only giant bumblebees can be, but he nevertheless zipped off to explore somewhere else.

Half an hour later, having put the bumblebee episode out of my mind, I went into the garage and got into the truck. As soon as I slammed the door, a loud buzzing alarm went off.

“That’s odd,” I thought. “Why would the buzzer be going off when I haven’t even put the key in the ignition yet? Thing must be broken.”

It dawned on me the moment I realized I could not only hear the buzzing, but I could feel it under my foot. Looking down on the floorboard, I saw a bumblebee — either the same one I had shooed from the house, or perhaps his slightly larger cousin Bubba — preparing to exact his revenge.

At that point, I exited the vehicle in a prompt fashion.

The dog came around the corner to see what was up, and gave me a look that said “I’d leave that thing alone, if I were you, Barry.”

But I had to make a choice. Either I was going to get back in that truck, or I was going to have to take out a classified ad: “For sale. Ford Bronco. Runs well, with extra-loud warning buzzer.”

So I gingerly opened the driver’s side door. The bumblebee was in spasms on the floor, mortally wounded when I stepped on him in my hasty retreat.

I put the bumblebee out of his misery. But not before, I suspect, he got word to the moths.

Barry Smith is editor of the Nevada Appeal.