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Who Gives a Hoot About Owls

By Momii Palapaz April 14, 2024


The US Wildlife Fish and Game are planning to kill 500,000 Barred owls because they say it affects the "balance" in wildlife.  So far, at least 2,500, have been shot to death.  From 2013 to 2019, the US government department conducted an “experiment”, hiring hunters to track down Barred owls in Northern California.  There are 19 identified species of owls in the US and 250 around the world.  But the Barred owl is being tagged as a threat to the Spotted owl. US Fish and Game says that shooting 500,000 in California, Oregon and Washington will save the Spotted owl from extinction.  US Fish and Game says the Barred owl is an 

invasive species.


Barred Owl


Barn Owl


Spotted Owl


Birds as a commodity in the profit making industry


Back in the 1950s, my parents were fans of the Parakeet.  It’s a chatty, colorful little bird, weighing about an ounce, that is from Australia.  They come in solid colors green, blue, yellow, white, or multicolored.  There was a huge retail market for selling these budgies, or as they were called in Europe, budgerigars.  Parakeets are one of 115 types of parrots.  They were about $2 or $4 dollars back then at F.W. Woolworth.  Sometimes we got them for free.  The five and dime store sold parakeets, aquarium fish and other wild animals to be used as pets.  FW Woolworth is the retail foundation for today’s CVS, Walmart, KMart, and Target.

As a child and into my 40’s, I owned about twenty of these extremely intelligent winged relatives at different times in my life .  Because they were inexpensive, friendly and entertaining, these birds were a common part of households across the US.  Today, a parakeet costs $30.00 or more.  


I worked at the Woolworth store on Powell and Market in SF in 1985. As a clerk in the pet department, I would receive from the pet food distributor, Hartz Mountain, boxes of baby parakeets.  For over 3 days to sometimes a week, these birds were stowed and shipped from the breeding and distribution center of said pet merchandise seller in Florida.  There was no water.  I pulled out near dead, dead babies, sick and some healthy.  I took the most ill home and tried to heal them.  Not only parakeets, canaries, cockatiels, finches, but guinea pigs, hamsters, and fish all suffered in this popular but cruel and profit-making big business.


Back in the 1980’s there weren't any animal welfare groups that responded to animal abuse in the pet industry.  One solution a pet manager made was to put the sickly birds in a storeroom with no lights on.  She left them there and demanded I not bother them.  Today, it is illegal to sell wild birds in places that are not deemed humane to animals.  It should be illegal to sell birds anywhere. These winged animals are tortured just by living in a cage.


Ancestor Jimi Chu, 12 years old+


Parakeets taught me that birds in general can have identification skills, that they are capable of learning a variety of physical actions, conscious responses, mimic, repeat and speak languages of humans, animals, be a companion and feel love, anger, sadness and pain.  


That’s why I feel the pain of an owl being shot from its home tree, or prodded, poked, physically invaded and manipulated.  The trauma for these owls, not a pet, but an animal living, breeding and surviving in the fragile ecosystem, stokes deep ache and anger.


Who protects Spotted owls and all owls?  Who decides?  What is invasive?  How does the US Fish and Wildlife know they killed the Barred owl and not a Spotted owl?  They look similar.   Why do Barred owls have to pay for the human caused devastation of the Spotted owl land?  Numerous kinds of animals and insects live on the same land.  What about their safety? I say Spotted owls are endangered because of capitalist expansion, development of human structures, redirection of waterways, logging, which eliminates wildlife land.  Pesticides also cannot be forgotten as a reason for the loss of Spotted owl and other wild animals, insects and fish.


In searching for explanations to the mass extermination, there is NO mention of extreme concrete developments, encroachment on wildlife and land.  There is NO mention of the fires caused by over development, the chemical based housing structures, NO mention of rampant technology and NO mention of the continuing invasion of two legged beings spreading more waste, hoarding land and displacing millions of people; indigenous, Black and Brown and poor people around the world.


Shooting owls is not the only form of torture and murder


Scientists at John Hopkins have been using cruel murderous experimenting on barn owls to "study" adhd.  People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals or PETA has been at the forefront of the battle to protect owls.  In recent actions, PETA has called out Shreesh Mysore, who has a PHd in neuroscience and does some extremely cruel experiments on Barn owls at the John Hopkins University.  PETA reports that  "Mysore cuts into owls’ skulls to expose their brains. Then, he screws and glues metal devices onto their heads. The owls endure two to three invasive surgeries before Mysore uses them in experiments. These birds—who are nocturnal hunters who would fly great distances in their natural habitat—are forced into plastic tubes so cramped that they can’t move their wings while Mysore bombards them with sounds and lights and measures their brain activity. For some experiments, he restrains fully conscious owls for up to 12 hours.”

“During these experiments, he pokes electrodes around in the brains of the fully conscious birds, mutilating their brain tissue so severely that they become ‘unusable’ to him—at which point he kills them. “


If the owls don't die from his torture, they are killed after the experiment.  So far, no amount of protest has stopped this sick science experiment that has gone on for over 7 years.  Already, this “researcher” has received over 1.9 million dollars from the National Institutes on Health. 

PETA questioned further and “Mysore admits that his experiments are painful for the owls, yet in his grant application for the experiments, he provides scant information on any pain medication that would be administered".  PETA is campaigning for the Barred owl. You can sign the petition on their website.


We Are All Connected


Angel Heart is a fellow poverty scholar and DJ on Poor News Network radio show People’s Botanica.  I asked her about the significance of the owl in our spiritual lives.   “This is what I’d like to say on the murdering of owls because they’re being viewed as pests. Owls do an important job of taking care of the rodent population and making sure there is a balance of mother nature.  This mass murder can also create an ecological imbalance in our natural environment.  Not to mention the cruelty of all of it.

On a spiritual level, owls represent wisdom. They are also on the opposite side of the chart of the hawk. Hawk being sun and owl being moon.  So there’s a lot of  wisdom and feminine energy.  It could also be a transformational type of energy that comes with owls.  I don’t want us to forget the spiritual aspects of the owl and to not discredit the importance of owl medicine in the lives of everybody who resides on Mama Pacha”.  Angel Heart is a lifelong student and teacher of humanity and spiritual healing.  You can listen to her show every Thursday, KEXU 96.1 fm at 5PM.

Owls are amongst the long list of shrinking living wildlife targeted by mad scientists, and departments of the US government like Wildlife, Fish and Game.  Increasingly, inhumane testing and unimaginable amounts of money are used to torture and compete with mama earth while maiming and killing our winged relatives.


STOP TORTURING BARN OWLS.  DON’T SHOOT BARRED OWLS.  FREE ALL BIRDS



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I'm so disgusted by the horrors that these crapitalist fools are up to all the time. GAHH!

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