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Obituaries

An Incomplete History of Humans Killing ‘Miracle’ Animals

In honour of the late but great frog in the pepper, here are some other extraordinary animals killed by bureaucrats or just plain old human ineptitude.

by Mack Lamoureux
Feb 14 2020, 8:32pm

Humans are the worst and we, on a whole, treat our fellow animals terribly.

However, to make things confusing, we also absolutely love these creatures we're such incredible dicks too. We make social media accounts for our dogs, we paint pictures of our horses and put them on our walls, we worship our Harambes. And those (Harambe aside) are just ordinary animals. Every once in a while a critter will rise up above the common animal and seize our attention by our puny human throats. It doesn't matter if it's a moose on a loose, a frog in a pepper, a cow that avoided becoming beef by conquering land and ocean, or a dang animal we turned into an astronaut—we love us our miracle creatures.

We’re still humans though, and the one thing humans do and will always do, is ruin everything. So, for many of these animals, the very thing that made them famous was also the very thing that killed them, often via heartless bureaucracies or human ineptitude. (Unfortunately, the same does not apply to influencers.) In honour of the recently departed Frog in the Pepper, who was murdered by the Quebec government, here’s an incomplete history of humans killing our beloved miracle animals.

Charlie the horse

On August 29, 1903, over 100 million tonnes of rocks came crashing down on the small Alberta mountain town of Frank. In less than a minute the rock slide claimed up to 90 lives. It remains Canada’s deadliest rock slide.

But that hateful pile of earth did not take everyone. Underneath the town of Frank existed a mine and inside that mine existed a horse named Charlie. Charlie was trapped under the rockslide for a while, but he survived by drinking the water that had seeped in from a nearby river, and chowing on the timber that lined the tunnel walls. Charlie was the original Chilean miner.

After a month of clearing the massive boulders and rubble, miners finally managed to secure entry to their workplace again, and lo!, they stumbled upon the horse. They were ecstatic. Charlie had survived! They were so excited they fed the starving horse brandy and oats—food fit for the King Charlie—but they partied a little too hard and overfed the horse and he died. Charlie may have lived a common horse’s life, but he died a king's death.

Our first astronauts

For years humans have looked up at the starry abyss dreaming about whatever the hell is going on up there. (The answer is: aliens.) For millennia, visiting the sky wasn’t an option, but then the 20th century came and we figured out motha fuggin’ rockets. You better believe the minute we figured out how to get these past the mesosphere we threw some animals in those rockets, wished them a bon voyage, and blasted them straight to hell.

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In the late 1940s to the early 1950s, the United States offed a series of monkeys named Albert in attempts to send them to space. The Alberts died in many horrible, horrible ways, some were pulverized or “liquified” when their parachutes didn’t open, and the lucky ones died of suffocation.

The Soviets, inspired either by the United States encroachment to space travel and/or their own ability to kill animals they sent to space, also decided to get into the action. After sending a series of dogs on flights similar to the Alberts, Laika became the first animal from earth to orbit in space. It is hands down one of the greatest feats ever by a creature, but it didn’t matter because she was sent on a one-way trip. Laika died several hours into the journey because of stress and overheating, meaning she was both the first animal in space and the first animal to die in space. The Soviets, being the Soviets, lied about how she died, saying that she was euthanized humanely by cyanide in her food. A statue for Laika was later erected in the Russian Cosmonaut training facility in 1997, and Arcade Fire put her on Funeral.

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Killing space animals is a proud tradition that continues to this day. As recently as 2016 we sent a collection of mice to space who were promptly euthanized and dissected upon coming back to earth.

Now, you may say, space flight is not a miracle, but science. But can you even explain how a plane stays in the air? No. So space flight is a miracle and these animal astronauts are its angels.

Just like sooooo many cloned animals

Scientists have been killing animals for millennia; it’s a thing for them. We shouldn’t be surprised that they would murk some puppers, mice, or whatever else they can get their sick scientist hands on. So look into your hearts and know this: scientists have cloned and killed a ton of animals.

I know Dolly the sheep lived an OK life and died of cancer at six (that’s 50 in sheep years), but you’re lying to yourself in you don’t think that over the years cloned animals were birthed under the watchful eye of a blood thirsty scientist conducting research in dim, dank laboratory. Then, after creating their lil’ babies, the creators would let the creatures—CLONES—grow until it was testing time and just humanely euthanize (sciencemurder) their ass so they could dissect them in every which way.

You fools, you idiots, do you really think the first few clones popped out and the scientists were like ‘oh, well run along now, go live a happy life’? I pity your naivety.

That Groundhog Bill de Blasio may have killed

Look, if we’re to believe that a groundhog can truly tell the length of winter because of its shadow—and you will never be able to convince me otherwise—then the animals are a miracle in and of themselves. That’s why any death of a groundhog is tragic but it becomes even more tragic when it may have been caused by a butterfingered mayor of New York.

At the 2014 Staten Island Zoo Groundhog Day ceremony, de Blasio, the guest of honour, was holding the rodent soothsayer Charlotte. The 6’5” mayor fumbled Charlotte and the groundhog tumbled to the ground. She died a week later of what was reported as “internal injuries.” The death has never been fully connected to the tumble, but rumours abound.

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Not the cow in question but still a cow. Photo cia Getty.

This cow that escaped a slaughterhouse and was granted amnesty and then died of ‘stress’ while being transported to safety

We all knew one of these stories was going to make this list, right?

In 2018, a Polish cow won her nation's heart by escaping from slaughter. The cow made her break for it when she was led from the barn. She leapt a fence or two and then trampled a metal mesh for freedom. The cow was cornered by some workers but fought back, breaking one of the worker's arms. The cow took off towards a nearby lake, hit the water and swam (I didn’t even know cows could swim!) to a nearby island.

The cow was pissed off and ruled with an iron hoof on her island home. She wouldn’t let anyone near her and was able to evade capture for weeks. The cow's quest for freedom was covered extensively—enough that a Polish politician pledged that, if recaught, she could live slaughter-free on his farm. The cow was eventually subdued and captured by a team who then attempted to transport her to her forever farm. The cow died of “stress” during this trip.

A likely story.

The frog in the pepper (grenouille au poivre)

The bureaucratic murder that inspired this list.

Last weekend a nice couple in Quebec was making some rice and decided to add the sweet taste of bell pepper to their meal. However, when Nicole Gagnon went to cut into her WHOLE bell pepper she found a frog inside. As of press time, It is not known how this frog got inside—despite the efforts of some of the greatest minds of our time—but what we know is that it is as close to a goddamn miracle as any of us are going to get in our sad, miserable lives.

That’s why it’s such a tragedy that the bureaucrats at the Quebec Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPAQ) killed the frog from the pepper to run tests on it. This is typical of any animals found in or around food. Still, you’d think they would make an exception. It was a frog in a pepper, y'all—it’s better than seeing Jesus in your toast. A dang miracle.

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‘Miracle’ Animals