There is another debate going on related to the BP oil spill. That debate is in regards to the birds that have been affected by the gushing oil.
"Should Oiled Birds Be Cleaned?" asks an article on NPR that presents both sides of the question.
Ornithologist Brian Sharp has his doubts that the cleaned birds will actually survive long term. His view is backed up by his experiences in the aftermath of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.
Based on tags that he used during that incident, Sharp had found that birds that had been cleaned lived only days or weeks after rehabilitation.
There are others who back up Sharp's view regarding the cleaning of birds who have been caught in an oil spill.
On the other side, of course, are those who argue that techniques have advanced since the Exxon Valdez oil spill. There is also the argument that every bird deserves a chance.
Personally, I agree with both sides. I agree that cleaning the birds is quite likely an exercise in futility. Many of the birds are already "dead birds walking" and will likely die shortly after rehabilitation.
You see, the problem isn't just the stress of being rehabbed. Improvement in techniques in rehabbing these birds is good, but the problem also rests in the fact that these birds have ingested the oil.
However, that said, I love animals. If there is a chance of saving any of these birds from death due to this man-made environmental nightmare, I believe that it is worth the effort. That isn't just a matter of being a bleeding heart, though. It is a matter of trying to restore what balance is possible to an area that we humans have devastated.
Ultimately, I suppose that it comes down to being realistic. Yes, the right thing is to try to save what lives can be saved. At the same time, however, we must recognize that many birds are going to die as a result of the BP oil spill. That is a fact that can't be changed, no matter how many search terms BP may buy.