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Friday, January 7, 2011

What Judaism Says About Deaths of Birds and Fish Since 2011

Nadene Goldfoot

New Years 2011 is bad news if you're a bird or a fish. Mass deaths of both were first reported from Arkansas, Louisiana, Kentucky and then Sweden, all within the past week. Reports are coming in fast and furious from other locals as well.

Judaism says that the world is God's creation and that whoever helps to preserve it is doing G-d's work. G-d told Adam when he showed him around the Garden of Eden the following: "See how lovely and how worthy of praise are My works. They have all been created for your sake. Take care not to spoil or destroy My world."

Events that have arisen since then are: development of many vast industries, fights against disease which also creates dangers of overpopulation, invention of the diesel engine; global wars, nuclear energy, and massive building activities. This makes it impossible to get direct guidance from Jewish tradition such as "And replenish the earth, subdue it, have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the fowl of the air, over every living thing that creepeth upon the earth". At the time this was written there was no ecology problem as there is now.

We are to have a clean and peaceful environment. For example a dovecot (raising doves) was to be kept at least 50 cubits away from a town or your own property in order to keep the doves from eating the seeds sown in neighboring field. Goats and sheep were not to be raised in cultivated areas so as to encourage renewed agricultural growth after the land was devastated by wars. It is forbidden to destroy animals. Now we have thousands of birds, fish and other small animals all dying with a very short time frame. Is this a usual event? What are the odds that this could happen normally?

This all started with 83,000 dead and dying drumfish found dying in a 20 mile stretch in the Arkansas River, and then 3,000 red-winged blackbirds falling out of the sky on New Year's Eve in Beebe, Arkansas. People gave reports of hearing a loud noise and then seeing birds flying low across the ground and smashing into homes, cars, mailboxes and whatever. Louisiana reported birds falling from the sky, then Kentucky. Sweden was next to report the birds falling. In recent days 2 million fish died in the Chesapeake Bay, 150 tons of red tilapia in Vietnam and 40,000 crabs in Britain and other places across the world are reporting losses of animal life. Doctors report that the birds died of blunt force trauma. I guess we all would if we dropped out of the sky. Brazil has reported 100 tons of sardines, croaker and catfish washed up dead. New Zealand reports hundreds of dead snapper fish with with missing eyes. It was thought that they were starving.

Biologists are trying to calm people down by reporting that this happens quite frequently which is usally caused either by disease, parasites, pollution or an unknown mystery. They say that an average of 163 events are reported to the federal government each year. They're blaming cold and wet weather like in Arkansas on New Year's Eve when the birds fell out of the sky. This is often associated with mass bird deaths according to some ornithologists. Our paper and TV news reported that fireworks caused the birds to be so scared that they dropped dead out of the sky. That was a new cause to be added to the list. Technology can be blamed says Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson. We now have internet, cell phone and worldwide communications so people are hearing about it faster. Somehow, I just don't buy any of this. For all these animals to die in the same short timeframe in water and air, here and far away is mighty mysterious and makes me wonder what technology could be causing this to happen.

We have been made aware of animals that face extinction and are doing something about it. However, this is instant death of thousands and millions of birds and fish, and we must find the reason behind it. In this day of terrorism where Israel has had to give its total population gas masks, and we are made aware of the ease terrorists could poison our water supply, we know that our environment is in jeopardy and must be guarded. We just haven't done it well enough to protect our fish and bird population on this planet. We have a responsibility, and we shouldn't take animal death lightly as something that just happens. What is the cause for this effect?
More reports have come in. Folly Beach, South Carolina witnesses thousands of dead fish. 10,000 Menhaden were washed up on shore dead. This is SW of Charlston. cold water temperature was blamed.
Italy saw hundreds if not thousands of dead birds. They have been identified as turtle doves and were found with blue stain in their mouths. This could be a sign of poison or hyoxia. Rockwall, Texas had dead birds on Highway 155. Florida saw fish floating dead in a creek. Reports just keep on coming in. on Arkansas birds and fish dropping dead.
Book: What does Judaism Say About..." by Louis Jacobs from the New York Times Library of Jewish Knowledge.

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