In defence of Mustelids (bad joke warning)

minnow at minnow at
Tue Jul 8 06:10:22 EDT 2003

Charlie wrote:

"How do you tell the difference between a stoat and a weasel?"
"One is weaselly recognisable while the other is stoatally different."

>I asked my son that riddle, and he replied: 'Don't be silly, Daddy! A stoat
>is larger and has a black tip on the end of its tail.' The pedantry of the
>young <sigh>.

Does the black tail-tip stay when the winter coat comes in?  (You ask him,
it'll be good for his morale to have his pedantry taken at face value.)

>On good mustelids - the weasel in Farthing Wood is shiftless and also shifty
>(which takes some doing), cowardly and tone deaf - but basically on the side
>of the good guys.

Is being tone deaf a sign of being a villain as a rule, then?  :-)  'Cos
DWJ claims she can't carry a tune in a bucket.

>But mink! No one but furriers has a good word to say about them, and in the
>only literary representation I can think of (Susan Cooper's _Silver on the
>Tree_) they are definitely agents of the Dark.

I never could see any justification for importing mink into this country: a
stupid thing to do, pure nasty greed inspiring it (with a side-helping of
pandering to vanity), and not needed however I look at it.  I find the idea
of farming animals for their fur repulsive, and I want it stopped *now*
(fifty years ago would be better, or never started in the first place, but
I'll settle for today at noon) but I don't see quite what one could do
about the ones in the farms already.  There's a limited number of people
who'd want to keep one as a pet (probably to be counted on the fingers of
one foot, really); letting them loose is criminal from the PoV of any other
creature in the countryside; what on earth is to become of them?

Though I did like the (I think probably true) story of the Animal
Liberationist raid on a mink farm, when they'd decided to liberate the
mink.  They opened all the cage doors, and the mink looked at them and said
"B*gg*r off!  Not furnished, you fascist!" and other such things (in mink),
and declined to escape.  (They were happy where they were, warm,
well-fed,and ignorant of their ultimate destiny.)  So some fool picked up
one of the cages and turned it upside-down and shook it to evict the

The word that follows has got to be "ouch".


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