During retreats at Iona, we celebrate with a special Sunday lunch. Most meals are vegetarian for the environment and animal rights. On my retreat, we had lamb meatballs, tzatziki, carrots, and broccoli. It was wonderful.
At my table, a staff member from Australia named Lynn mentioned her after-lunch plans. She was house sitting for someone and needed to let the dogs out, feed the ducks, and check the mink traps.
Mink are hunters, and they are a pest. She told me about how mink had recently killed eight chickens and were a threat to the ducks. I asked if they released the mink after they caught them, and she said no. They ‘dispatch’ them. Dispatch is such a gentle euphemism for euthanize.
Since Iona is such a small island, I wondered how mink survived. She said they will swim out to the island. That’s unbelievable. The water is cold and the currents are strong, but if the mink know there is food here, they will come.
I was so curious I had to go with her. I walked with Lynn through pouring rain and was soaked to the bone by the time we reached the mink traps. Much to my relief, they were empty. I wanted to see a mink but I didn’t want to see anyone ‘dispatch’ the little critter.
Iona is committed to peace and justice. This justice includes caring for creation, and it also includes caring for animals. I have been thinking about these themes on my retreat. To be honest, I’m not sure how I feel about euthanizing mink because they are a pest. I don’t know enough about the subject but wish there was a way to release them somewhere else. The animal kingdom doesn’t seem to allow much space to live and let live.
Isaiah 11.6 says the lion and the lamb will coexist in peace. I wonder if in the eternal day of God, the mink and the duck can live together in harmony too.