On this site, I constantly call out the dark side of humanity when it comes to the needless killing of animals. From the sadistic trappers to the deplorable hounders that dark side seems to be a sick side effect afflicting a significant portion of our species. Tonight, I read an interesting article about a study conducted by a Clemson college student. The student placed a fake turtle in the road and counted the number of drivers who deliberately swerved to hit the rubble turtle. As expected a significant number of people went out of their way to strike the turtle. From the article:
Clemson University student Nathan Weaver set out to determine how to help turtles cross the road. He ended up getting a glimpse into the dark souls of some humans.
Weaver put a realistic rubber turtle in the middle of a lane on a busy road near campus. Then he got out of the way and watched over the next hour as seven drivers swerved and deliberately ran over the animal. Several more apparently tried to hit it but missed.
We are led to believe that psychopaths and animal abusers are rare and that their actions are just an anomaly. However, each time there is a study like this it seems that a significant number of people go out of their way to strike the fake animal. Just look a the huge number of “road kill” when you drive in the spring and fall in Wisconsin. The dead animals are almost always in the center of the road or on the side and very rarely in the middle of the lane. Of course accidents do happen, but how many are deliberate? It must take a real man to run over a small animal deliberately with a giant vehicle. Having lived around marsh land in Wisconsin for most of my life I cannot count the number of turtles that I have removed from the road and carried closer to their destination. I once even carried a massive snapper across a busy highway. I learned to carry them from the rear of their shell so that their head cannot reach you. Good advice for anyone trying to do the same.
The reality is that there is a significant portion of our population that have ZERO empathy for other living beings and go out of their way to inflict pain and suffering. If you look closely at the percentages of people who deliberately run over animals in these studies you will see that the number mirrors EXACTLY the percentage of “recreational” hunters and trappers in our society, six percent. Not definitive proof, but pretty convincing circumstantial evidence. Empathy is a very strong emotion and it is very disturbing that so many in our society have no concept of it. Here are multiple articles about this subject. They make for some very interesting reading and prove why I lose more and more faith in our species each day.