portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article commentary global

animal rights | environment | sustainability

Snail Medicine

honor the lowly slugs and snails...
I went out to purchase a couple of yard tools this morning. While I was standing in queue my eyes roamed to the items in the cart ahead of me. A few plants, a garden hose, a bag of "snail and slug death"... A BAG OF "SNAIL AND SLUG DEATH"!!

I wanted to scream out to the woman with the cart and ask her how she could kill these creatures, how she could use such a toxic poison on other beings and on the earth and in her yard. I had a dialogue in my head of how the conversation would go. After me asking her the question she would look at me like I was crazy or something and then verify her suspicions when noticing my "FREE TIBET" t-shirt. And then she would say, in a condescending tone: "they are eating my flowers... "

While the cashier was ringing up the woman's purchases I watched her expression while scanning the bag of DEATH, you know to see if she was as sickened by it as me. No change in her face, nope, just another item to her.

And then I wondered, don't people think about things like this? Don't they realize that we do not own the earth and that we do not have the right to kill innocent beings just because we can? How do people justify this sort of thing? Humans thinking that they are so superior with the right to kill other beings is such an insult to mother earth.

I found it interesting that the title of the snail and slug poison did not even decorate the name with something other than the word "DEATH". You know something sterile like "Snail and Slug Eliminator" or "Snail and Slug Be-Gone".

After leaving the store I felt sad about the snails and slugs in this woman's yard, happily munching away on greenery only to be tricked into a meal of poison that sentences them to death. I thought about the snails and slugs in my yard that I see everywhere, that I delight in photographing, that I share my flowers with, wondering what their earthly purpose is.

What I really appreciate about them is the magnificent unhurried energy that they have, the way that they gracefully glide over rocks and take their time getting to where they are going. Few of us notice this in our busy rush through life with no time to consider the impact that our actions have on the planet and all of her inhabitants.

great story! 05.Jun.2003 13:03

forest rebel boy

resized pic for feature

I love my slugs 05.Jun.2003 13:29

nature boy

Snails and slugs have a right to be happy too. That's why I share my beer with them.

Remember kids 05.Jun.2003 13:48

James

Vegetables are people too! Stop the slaughter of innocent vegetables. Don't eat animals and don't eat vegetables. They are all beings of Mother Earth. Rocks too, they just move slower.

re: veggies 05.Jun.2003 13:56

dpix

I draw the line at veggies. One must eat something, and veggies don't have nerves. ;)

reply to beer and james 05.Jun.2003 14:09

Omnivore

If you are going to kill the slugs and snails, you should eat them.

Boycott WalMart 05.Jun.2003 14:15

Gonzo

This time of year, what really get's me mad - besides unrestricted snail and slug killing - is mosquito killing. I say we boycott walmart and get some rallies going.

the problem with "the left"... 05.Jun.2003 14:24

forest rebel boy

...is the lack of respect for the sanctity of life. now, perhaps "James" and "nature boy" are not "left" leaning people and are just goofing on the site here, but i've heard barbs like theirs coming out of the mouths of many "activists". to kill something to eat it is one thing; indeed, that's the natural way and i'd eat a slug (or a rabbit or a squirrel) in the woods if that's what i needed to do to live. i would give thanks to the animal for sharing its life with me and consume it with much mindfulness, though. but in other circumstances, like gardening in a city like peace rebel girl is talking about, the slugs really ought to be left alone. who was here first after all? and why should the slugs respect our domestication of plants in their linear arrangements?

too often, people who express their feelings on the sancity of life or the the presence of the divine in the living things around us are laughed off, mocked, or called "woo". well i got news for you, busters -- whether you'd like to admit it or not, we're all in that sanctity together, interconnected, interdependent, and wholly not independent. to take out the slugs for the purpose of keeping a flower or a leaf or two of greens is to be out-of-synch with the universe. both the joy of the beauty of the flower and the nourishment of eating the leaf later yourself will be diminished for you lack of respect.

only by removing sanctity from life can trees became board feet, animals test-subjects, and people slaves.

when you mock the sacred, you are mocking yourself. and you ain't gonna change nuthin' in the world living like that.

H2OH 05.Jun.2003 14:28

Wilma

Thinking about killing a slug or snail? Abort your baby instead...the world will be better off!

thanks for resizing and aligning with snails and slugs forest rebel boy 05.Jun.2003 14:50

peace rebel girl

as i was out working in the yard and seeing all of the snails lazing under the oregon grape root bushes (smart on such a warm day) i was thinkin that i should put a bigger photo up because my snail procession pix looks teeny weeny on my laptop monitor so thanks for doing it forest rebel boy. aren't they cute!

long live the snails and slugs!

How to get rid of snails while getting revenge and having fun 05.Jun.2003 15:21

Nick Olmstead

1) Round up all the snails in your yard if you find them pesky. A bucket works nice.

2) Locate the lawns of a few Bourgeois yuppies, you know, the one's whose lawns are basically status symbols and expressions of their constant quest for ridiculous perfection...

3) Be sneaky and distribute the snails among their flower beds and gardens.

4) Take pride in knowing that you may have just effected a mid-life crisis. This can be very rewarding as a mid-life crisis may take a white-collar slave out of employment, albeit temporarily.

Barbs? 05.Jun.2003 16:18

nature boy

Barbs like mine? I unleashed no barbs. Goofing on the site? Left-leaning or not? Activists? So much to read into other people's words, so little time. If you're sweating the slug comments so much, wait to you get to the really big stuff. You won't be able to sleep if you can even find the time.

Back to slugs: nobody has mentioned getting a pet duck. You can feed it your unwanted slugs while honoring the sanctity of life.

And for those of you who really care about sanctity of life, I'm sure you were part of the miserably small turnout for the Kendra James caravan to Salem yesterday. Bless you.

Why a feature? 05.Jun.2003 16:37

I like slugs

I do. I like slugs and all. I try really hard to not step on them when I go hiking. I wouldn't kill them if I had a garden.

But is this story really worthy a being a feature? When there is only room for a certain number of feature stories, what makes this more important than all the other stuff going on? Some things that come to mind: Kendra James, the invasion of Portland by the US Navy, the whole thing about Bush making up shit to justify the slaughter of maybe 10,000 Iraqis...there's lots going on, but this slug story is the headline. It does make Indymedia look like a joke.

What is the policy on making stuff a feature? Who decides what's important enough and how do they decide it?

I also like slugs 05.Jun.2003 16:50

low low

I also like slugs, but Im going to have to agree with 'I Like Slugs' and ask the same: just what is an "argument" of this nature doing here? I cant help but think that there are more....relevent things to be discussed.

sorry!

Interconnectedness of ALL of life 05.Jun.2003 17:05

peace rebel girl

Really, what I was trying to convey in my article is about a lot more than slugs. It is about the interconnectedness of life, of all creatures - big and small - from the Iaqi's to Kendra James to the slugs that slime around in our gardens. It's about walking a gentle path while being aware of and honoring all life forms.

The scenario (human buys toxic poison to kill "pesky" beings) that prompted me to write the piece is the norm in america (it's not something that I am exposed to very often because I rarely go shopping for non-food items) and is in large part responsible for the mass murder (ecocide) that we are witnessing of the planet.

All of the issues that you speak of, yes, they are important and need our attention. But until we can start the small and simple task of honoring all life, beginning with something as lowly as the slug, we will not have a clue as to why these other issues even matter.

And another thing... 05.Jun.2003 17:06

nature boy

Slugs are competing for my food when they are in my vegetable gardens. They are voracious!

While some may not agree with killing slugs, beer is not toxic to most of the rest of us. My favorite bait was the now-extinct Rainier Ale ("Green Death"). It was cheap and strong (and Fred Ekhardt liked it!). A little for the executioner, a little for the slugs, a little more for the executioner....

features 05.Jun.2003 17:26

pdxtech

If you're curious about the feature policy you can read it here:  http://portland.indymedia.org/en/static/features.shtml

Yeah, but 05.Jun.2003 17:33

James

...in Soviet Russia the slugs killed you! And remember, Saddam Hussein gassed his own people.

that's funny 05.Jun.2003 17:39

--

I don't know what it means, but it's funny. especially if we wave our arms and repeat over and over "he gassed his own people!" thanx for the image!

re: slugs, the sanctity of life, and kendra james: i like slugs and place a medium number of chips on the sanctity of life for 500 ... and, yes, I was part of the turnout for the kendra james caravan. Too small a turnout ... but not miserably so.

I enjoyed Nick's suggestion..... 05.Jun.2003 19:07

MartyZBear

I had to laugh when I read Nick's idea about taking the snails and slugs over to live on some bourgeois yuppies' lawn.....because I actually did something like this a few years ago, only it wasn't snails, it was mice. I got those little live traps that look like a microbus, rounded the mousies up and told 'em, "OK, time for you to move to a better neighborhood ......." ;-)

Yes, but.... 05.Jun.2003 20:59

David Barts

All you wanted to know about local snails and slugs but were afraid to ask:

As much as I dislike killing, I'd be tempted to make an exception to the rule if the snail shown in the picture was in my garden. It's Helix aspersa (aka the brown garden snail), a European species. Trouble is, its diseases and enemies didn't come from Europe with it, so it outcompetes native snails, such as the beautiful Monadenia fidelis (aka pacific sideband snail), pictured here (I'll also try to upload it).

A similar situation exists for slugs, with the introduced Arion ater (aka furrowed slug) and Limax maximus having already crowded the native Ariolimax columbianus (aka banana slug) out of many woodlands adjacent to urban or suburban neighborhoods.

I'm always happy to find native slugs or snails, and if they're in a trail, I'll pick them up and move them out of harm's way.

Baits in any question are a big mistake, as both the native and pest species come to them equally enthusiastically, as well as pet dogs. (And the native species typically eat fungi or dead and decaying plant matter, and thus aren't the ones eating your dalhias.) When I had a garden, I'd hand-pick (wearing gloves) the pest slugs and toss them out in the street (it was a busy street) and let the passing cars do the rest. And a quick sudden death from a car tire is more humane than the lingering slow one from a poison bait.

Pacific Sideband (Monadenia fidelis)
Pacific Sideband (Monadenia fidelis)

Slugs and snails 05.Jun.2003 21:25

carpenter

When I get a cut on my leg, is it wrong to apply alcohol, iodine, or antibacterial, is it wrong to kill any bacteria at all? Should I let the cut fester, pus, infect, and allow my leg to get gangrene, so the "natural" way of things will continue?

Am I practicing correct Dharma if I am killing the bacteria that will eat my leg?

Now how about my food source. Is it wrong to protect my food source?

Is it wrong to poison non-native slugs and snails, to let my non-native food survive, so my non-native body can keep living, and practicing Dharma? What does native mean? Am I native because I was born near where I live? Like the slugs/snails/and forebearers of my tomatos? Would it be "right and correct" to allow my food souce to be eaten by snails and slugs, let the weeds grow and outcompete the vegetables, let the bacteria grow in the cut, and just lay down and die?

Dont judge so quickly O tibetan shirted one. Have you taken refuge?

feature-worthiness of this story, and of other stories 06.Jun.2003 01:59

pdx indy editor

as she noted in a comment, peace rebel girl's story is only superficially about slugs/snails, and is actually an examination (through example) of a greater and deeper disease infecting the aMErican people and their lifestyles. metaphorical writing like this can make a point in a way that more literal stories do not. heck yeah it's featureable. it's a great story, it's original, it's local, and it even has a sense of humor!

to respond to one commenter, who said: "But is this story really worthy a being a feature? When there is only room for a certain number of feature stories, what makes this more important than all the other stuff going on? Some things that come to mind: Kendra James, the invasion of Portland by the US Navy, the whole thing about Bush making up shit to justify the slaughter of maybe 10,000 Iraqis...there's lots going on"

yes of course there's a lot going on and all those are important issues. all original stories about kendra james have been featured so far. no one has written about the the invasion of portland by the us navy and posted it to the site (other than an event announcement by code pink), so there's nothing to feature. same goes for Iraq news. (reposts are not made into features unless they are from small, non-corporate publications, and only rarely then. indymedia is for ORIGINAL writing, which the slug story is.) the new topic pages on this site make it much easier to find older features, too. just go to "police state" or "anti-racism" to find all the stories about kendra james, for example.

if you want more features on any of the topics you mentioned, YOU NEED TO WRTE THEM AND POST THEM. they will be featured if they are ORIGINAL. this site does not exist to provide coverage of the news. this site exists to provide a way for YOU to cover the news. if something's important to you, don't wait for "indymedia to cover it". indymedia doesn't cover anything. people in the area who are interested are the ones who cover stuff, and they use indymedia as an outlet.

portland is, btw, the only IMC site that works that way, where all features are culled directly from the newswire with no editing, from anyone who writes. the other IMC sites have editor groups that compose and put together the features for the middle. these sites have a much less broad array of topics covered, and are updated far less often. instead of writing/editing, portland editors find cool pictures and collect related links. go look at the seattle site right now, and you'll see how difficult it is to find stories about the LEIU actions in a coherent fashion. the two portland indymedia features are actually better collections.

no one is going to like or agree with every feature story up here (including the editors of the site), and the understanding of "what a feature is" is constantly changing and evolving as well. right now it is a wide open standard, and that standard is giving voice to more people than other standards, as practiced by other IMCs. this philosophy of empowerment has made portland one of the 2-3 most posted-to IMCs in the u.s. so for the time being, the slugs are here to stay!

question for nature boy 06.Jun.2003 02:06

pdx indy editor

what does making a feature out of this story on thursday have to do with poor turn-out at the kendra james event on wednesday?

taking refuge 06.Jun.2003 07:14

peace rebel girl

well, my snails have taken refuge...in my yard. and as i said earlier, i am happy to share it with them. and i feel that if we live in balance then we do not take more than what we need, and you know what, they don't. it's a give and take kind of thing...and in my add-on comment i explain the reason for me original post, which is about more than slugs.

Hear the cries of the carrots!!!! 06.Jun.2003 08:25

Oaktree

Let the rabbits wear glasses! :Life feeds on life feeds on life feeds on life feeds on life
get the picture....

Connectedness 06.Jun.2003 09:18

nature boy

pdx indy editor asks me "what does making a feature out of this story on thursday have to do with poor turn-out at the kendra james event on wednesday?"

I'm not sure I can answer your question. I made a connection between caring about the sanctity of life and showing up for the Kendra James caravan.

life feeds on... 06.Jun.2003 09:25

peace rebel girl

life does not feed on poison...so many are missing the thrust of the article. life feeds on compassion, awareness and love.

Direction 06.Jun.2003 09:54

nature boy

Life does not take the direction one wants to imprint on it. Articles posted here sometimes seem to take on lives of their own, completely independent of the author's intent. This can be interesting, sad, informative, frustrating, and often, one must just let it go.

question to the editor 06.Jun.2003 13:15

yElp

what are the most hit imc's?

You said portland was in the top 2 -3 what are the other ones? Im just kind of curious.

The point here should be obvious 07.Jun.2003 08:46

ranger

...you don't use poisons to kill things. You don't upset the natural cycles. I can't believe the number of people who use pesticides/herbicides/molluscicides on their yards; for what - to kill dandelions? These are poisons that get into the food chain, ultimately into rivers, and oceans. Frankly, I have been doing vegetable gardening since I was nine and never have snails or slugs done that much damage. My harvest last summer was the best EVER and not a single drop of any synthetic chemical was applied. There are plenty of ways to keep, what you may consider, pests at bay in more natural ways. Actually, you should try not to see dandelions, slugs or snails as pests. I can understand having problems with non native species that eradicate your NW garden, but these should be eliminated with methods other than chemical. Himalayan blackberries should be removed manually. There are machines that will turn them into mulch. Then all you just need to do is deal with the roots.

Homegrown 07.Jun.2003 10:13

Slugger

Since I grow many of my own veggies in my yard, I have had to compromise my long term veganism by judiciously eliminating slugs and snails or there would be no garden. I share quite a bit with the slugs but do kill them if they are destroying anything outright (fyi, studies have shown a small amount of slug or other insect damage actually strengthens many plants) . Slugs are migratory so all the handpicking you do one year doesn't guarantee a tolerable level of slugs in the yard the next year.

For those who do not grow your food, please consider what is going on behind the scenes of the the produce you buy at farmers' markets, stores and restaurants. I worked on an organic farm run by conscientious almost vegans and they still used a lot of animal products (manures, blood meal, bone ,meal, shellfish shells, etc) and killed many "pests" in order to produce enough to make the farm successful. Personally, I think it is more honest and ethical to kill a few slugs myself than buy produce that supports factory farming.

"Don't think by turning your face the other way, all the pain and suffering will just go away" - Flux of pink indians

Connection 08.Jun.2003 00:29

Bill

"Bush making up shit to justify the slaughter of maybe 10,000 Iraqis"

Snails sitting on your flowers? ... ... Kill them!

Iraqis sitting on your oil? ... ... Kill them!

confused 13.Jun.2007 13:02

t. fritz aksalaroses@aol.com

Jeez all i was looking for was information on how to keep a pet snail for my children to observe for a few days and then release it back from wence it came. What i found was we have a pacific sideband, who is the most personable creature i have ever seen, this little bugger will come out and try to see us if it is curled up in it's shell and you nock nock it comes out and wants to interact. When we take it out for a stroll in the yard it does not go the oposite way or shut up in it's shell at the first site of people, it turns around and as fast as it can comes rite back to the pair of feet that released it. Now i turn to the great web for advice on feeding and caring for out guest and what i get is how to murder the most effective way, this creature god gave us and why i should or should not throw it in the street like my aunt in California taught us at the tender age of 7. You all keep talking about the destruiction of flowers and plants but not very many have specified what PLANTS as i have not seen any around my yard that seem to be appetizing to our guest who according to some of you is "the great destroyer of yards" if it was a slug i could just get a pansy flower or two...lol as it is i guess i will just have to wait and see if anyone can come up with a web [age that actually talks about how to CARE FOR the lowly snail.