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AL GILKES: Animals’ weapons of human destruction


AL GILKES: Animals’ weapons of human destruction

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IF I DIDN’T KNOW BETTER I would swear that non-human creatures like animals and insects have decided that enough is enough and are on a course to take revenge for all the wrongs mankind has perpetrated against them over the millennia.

Unlike us, who have guns to shoot down the larger species, knives and machetes to slaughter the smaller ones and fogging, together with a hundred and one deadly varieties of insecticides in spray cans to decimate the smallest, over the years they have found their own ways and means to take us out by any means necessary.

Rats living in China in the 1300s were among the first to see the light of mass slaughter and came up with a biological agent called Bubonic Plague.

They then enlisted the common flea and entrusted them with the task of delivering the plagues to their brothers and sisters who infested the dirty sewers which criss-crossed the underground of overcrowded cities across Europe.

Within five years there must have been monstrous celebrations in the animal and insect kingdoms as the news spread that what became known as Black Death had killed some 25 million human beings.

Since then mankind has been able to use scientific research to manufacture a range of medicines and products to reduce the mortality rates that would result from these viral and related revenge tactics. But the other worlds keep fighting back with new and newer weapons of mass human destruction.

In more recent years animals that we favour most for genocide in order to fill our plates and satisfy our palates have entered this perceived war of revenge, namely pigs, chickens and cows.

In each instance we have to go under shelter from the consumption of pork, chicken and beef prepared in a variety of mouth-watering ways in the home, in restaurants, on the street, at picnics and other places when we hear the breaking news of threats to our lives with names like swine flue, bird flu and mad cow disease.

As I write, I believe that restrictions are still in place in Barbados against the importation of of chicken from parts of the United States because of the threat of more sickness and death from those quarters.

The insects also continue to take a heavy toll with their own weapons and over the years mosquitoes have wiped out millions on the continent of Africa with bombs of malaria. And if you lived through last year in Barbados and other parts of the Caribbean you are probably still aching from the ravages of what the Aedes aegypti mosquito was able  deliver with that thing called chikungunya.

But let me ask you something. Have you heard about MERS?

Well, on a Tuesday morning after I landed at Miami International Airport and after clearing immigration and customs, I saw a warning posted on a wall about the dangers of this new something called the MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) virus.

I subsequently read that the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States had posted these warning signs in more than 20 airports across the country.

Unless you already know, you would hardly guess which animals have now brought their MERS to the battle. Camels of all creatures.

According to the World Health Organisation, over 500 cases have been reported worldwide with more than 170 resulting in death, the majority in Saudi Arabia. Now it has taken on South Korea.

Al Gilkes heads a public relations firm. Email [email protected]