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Debate Corner: Should We Protect Endangered Species Even If They’re Gross?

scientistLess Attractive, But No Less Important
By: Casandra Miller - Vice President, Princeton University Center for Conservation Biology

As a scientist who has studied the impacts wrought by dwindling populations of a myriad of species on the ecosystems they inhabit, I can say without equivocation that an organism’s outward beauty has little to do with its value to the intricate web of life that sustains the viability of all the world’s creatures – including mankind.

Not to belittle the efforts of those whose puerile sentimentality leads them to champion the plight of puppy dogs, kitty cats and panda bears over less cute and cuddly animals such as the American burying beetle, coral, and honeybees, but the complete eradication of only one group of critters listed above would precipitate severe consequences on the environment we depend on for our own survival, and none of their sad faces have ever appeared on a piece of bulk rate mail begging for a donation, tried to bury a plastic bone in a Persian rug, or chased a laser pointer around a living room for an hour like an idiot.

Enough said.

modelGross Animals Are Yuck
By: Monique Taylor - Model, Actress, Animal Rights Activist

Maybe all the beetles and moths and other creepy crawlers that infest the planet serve some sort of purpose, but I don’t know. I don’t know, and I don’t want to know, because they’re yucky and gross and I could care less if they go extinct. In fact, I hope they do all die. Ick.

I mean, have you ever seen one of these things under a microscope? They are SO GRODY. It makes you wonder what sort of person would dedicate their lives to trying to save them, but maybe it's the kind of frumpy cootie-queen science dork who can relate to their kind because she’s almost as ugly as they are. Just a theory.

But perhaps I shouldn’t be so mean. The truth can hurt, and if my words should reveal to all the Miss Can’t Get A Date With Her Own Species out there that they’re just jealous of people who can look into mirrors without breaking them and are involved with groups that work to protect animals other people actually give a crap about, they might all kill themselves and disappear with all their disgusting bug buddies, and that would be a reeeaaal shame.

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