Some ancient accounts would place us 'a little lower than the angels'. Those same sources tell us we are to have dominion over all animals. That position sounds rather impressive, but it can play havoc with an unrestrained ego. Remember, this same source condoned slavery.
Since the beginning of mankind, there has been a need in some, to be a member of a superior race, tribe, clan, or religious sect to somehow be better or above others. Well, one's position on this planet does not change, no matter what self righteous affiliations they might have.
If you ever really get in tune with life as it exists on this planet, you will know that you are not 'chosen' nor 'special'. You are just one of millions of species living on this ship. Our cognitive skills and our ability to destroy this ship are the only things separating us from all other species. In regard to animals and this planet's resources, the human ego trip must end, or for us, all days could end.
In my ThriftyFun profile, I state:
"If all the animals in the world were to die out, all humans would die, too. If all humans were to die out, the animals would keep on living". That statement alone should tell you something about who you are and your actual position on this planet.
Animals are now our responsibility. They should not be, but they are. Once we took them out of their natural habitat and brought them into ours, we automatically assumed that responsibility. Many of us share our home with small animals we love dearly. (Notice I said 'share our home with', not 'own'. We did not create these animals and have no right to claim ownership of them. These kept animals should be our friends. You don't own your friends). We give them the best food, exercise, bedding, and veterinary care. We are company and comfort to them, and they to us.
On a larger scale, the picture isn't so rosy. As a matter of fact, it is ugly. The internet will readily provide text and video accounts of horrible slaughtering methods still in practice today. Some, but little progress is being made to make these meat packing houses clean up their act. Did you know, each winter, millions of calves are kept in a stanchion so small, the animal has no room to move? Not one inch. When they are released in the spring, they are unable to walk. Did you know, once it was common practice (and might still be in some areas), to nail a ducks feet to a board? Then it would be fed all it could eat for a month or so. This was done to fatten up the bird prior to slaughter. Our very lives depend on the animal kingdom, and this is how we treat them.
As much as we depend on animals, we have mentally detached ourselves from them. Out of sight, out of mind. We don't have time to be bothered. Let animal control deal with it. Yet, from elephants to hamsters, we humans have taken wild animals from their own environment, brought them into ours, and expect them to do our bidding.
I am particularly concerned about the treatment of dogs. I have lived in well to do and not so well to do neighborhoods. In all, dogs were treated pretty much the same. It is natural for a dog to be born in the wild, to be a member of a pact. She has her social life, her family and friends. She bears and raises pups and would defend them with her life. The pack and her pups are her life. Then, along comes Joe Human. He figures because he has the skills to trap the dog, bring it to his home and keep it tethered to a chain for the rest of it's life, he has the right to do so and so he does just that. Is this what it means to be human? Is it supposed to be some sort of status symbol to be able to imprison other species?
I don't like being ugly, and stereotyping is demeaning, but I'm sure most of you have seen this Joe Human. He marries young, part of his ego trip. Right away, he has more children than he can properly care for, part of his ego trip. He buys a pickup truck and treats it better than he does his wife, part of his ego trip and when he gets a big dog and keeps it chained in his back yard .then he can tell the world, 'I am now somebody, Y'all. I have arrived. I am a man'!
The man and his wife work all day and the children are in daycare. The poor dog has nothing to do all day but sleep. The man comes home and feeds and waters the dog. He may even pat the dog on the head and tell himself what a good master he is. By means of his ego and his ignorance, he thinks he has done the dog a favor by robbing it of it's natural life and forcing it to be his prisoner.
The dog having slept all day, is now awake all night. It's bored. It barks at every sound, disturbing several neighbors' sleep. If the owner hears the dog barking, it's music to his ears. 'She's just protecting the property'. Dogs in their natural habitat rarely bark at night. Surely, there must be a way to change the mind set of these ignorant people.
It has been too long coming, but there are actually a few neighboring counties in which it is no longer legal to keep a dog tethered. In those counties, if you own a dog, you must provide a fenced in area for that dog to roam. I applaud the legislators of these counties and hope others will follow suit very soon. If there is anything you can do to persuade your county legislators to adopt these ordinances, please do. You could be instrumental in changing the horrible fate of millions of animals.
I am mindful of the rights of others. I try not to infringe on those rights. One person does not have the right to take away the rights of another. By the same token, one species does not have the right to take away the rights of other species. If an animal has evolved to the point it has consciousness, feelings, and a sense of awareness and self, it should be treated with the same respect as any species possessing those traits. As humans, we are but one species, sharing this space ship with a multitude of other species. We are totally and helplessly dependent on other life forms. We are not at the top of the ladder. We never were. There is no top. That was just man's ego talking. If you can accept your true place in this biosphere, then you do have a pretty good idea of who you are.
I take back the part about you not being special. You are. We're all special. Even the man who chains his dog is special. He just needs to be helped to understand he is mistreating the animal, because he apparently is ignorant of that fact.
It's 2017, people. It's time we started cleaning up our act. We need to be continually aware that we share this planet and all it's resources with beings other than ourselves. We are not the 'Big Picture', we are part of the big picture. It's time we developed compassion for all species. Who knows, a strain could evolve that will be 'superior' to us. And if it should, it will remember! That strain could see us as inferior and imprison us to their liking.
Get involved to any extent you can. At the very least, report any animal abuse.
Please be kind to all animals. We need them a lot more than they need us. Right, Judy?
My thanks to Judy Pariser who read this article prior to it being submitted and suggested it deserved to be posted.
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The picture? That was my best friend. Championed sired Chihuahua (not that bloodlines mean a thing among real friends). Her registered name was Chiquitita de Chihuahua.
She was given to me as a present by a lady friend. If I remember correctly, she was four months old at the time. The perfect age to begin showing her pointers on how to behave as a sweet little dog.
In her entire life, she never barked at anyone. When I approached someone with her on a leash by my side, she stood quietly and waited for queues from me. Everyone wanted to hold her. When I gave the queue, she wagged her tail and allowed the person to hold her.
When someone knocked at the door, she never barked. She would looked at me, waiting for a queue. If I said 'stay', she stayed, quietly. If I said 'Let's go see who is at the door, she jumped off the sofa and went with me to the door.
When I opened the door, she never barked. She stood quietly, wagging her tail. A perfect greeting for a guest. A far cry from the poorly reared dog whose shrill bark literally says,' Who the hell are you and what do you want! This is my domain and I will protect it from intruders. And if I get half a chance, I'll bite your damned leg off'.
Everyone liked Chiquitita. She indeed was a good dog. All she ever wanted out of life was to please me. And she did, in so many ways, every day.
Dogs are very versatile. I could have reared this one to be an irritable, hateful, snapping, loud mouthed little bitch. I take pride in knowing she was reared in such a manner, it caused her to lead a very contented life.
Please know that aggression is for dogs in the wild, when and where circumstances deem it necessary. It is not for small pets in the home. Aggression here just makes everybody, including the dog, very uncomfortable.
Oh! I forgot. I know dogs like to bark. It's part of their nature. Chiquitita was taken on regular outings, usually to a nearby park. There, she was permitted to bark all she liked. At every bird, every leaf that stirred, just about everything, except people.
Well Done My Brother Well Done.
This is a long read but well worth the time required as there is so much truth in what is written.
I live in a county that has just passed a law/rules about keeping animals in a confined space. It is getting a lot of attention but I think it will stand. The "rules" clearly state that a dog can only be tied/changed if it attached to a dog run. I do not remember the distance but at least it is a beginning. I had a neighbor that continually left a little dog in a cage outside (in all weathers) and after we had a long discussion she has changed how she treats her dog. I agree that any type of abuse should be reported.
Thank you for taking the time (and thought) to post this as it is an overdue reminder that we all have a place and everyone should be grateful to be privileged to have animals who befriend us.
Yes, it is a long read. I could have given more accounts of animal cruelty. I will give just one more, here.
Once, I knew a dairy farmer who has 50+ head of milch cows and three of the largest bulls I've ever seen in my life. When his smallest, young cow came in heat, he turned her to his largest bull.
The calf was so large, the cow could not give birth except the head. Along with the aid of a veterinarian, one end of a chain was placed around the calf's neck. The other end was attached to a tractor.
The calf was literally pulled out of the cow. As a result, both of the cow's hips were dislocated. Could it get worse? Yes. When the same cow came in heat the following year, he turned her to the same bull. Again, the calf was pulled from the cow, and again both her hips were dislocated. The height of animal cruelty, and aided by a veterinarian. I think both should have been punished. Both should have lost their license.
You can tell a lot of people that animals have feelings. They will readily agree. But for many, it's just words. They haven't quite grasped what that really means.
Dogs, cats and other animals we have domesticated experience feelings of love, pride, dislike, anger, fear, shame, loneliness, grief and many more. Many people see animals displaying these feelings and they still just don't get it. It registers as 'The dog is sad'. It does not register as 'The dog is feeling sadness, just as I do. It is real. He is hurting, just as I would. There's no difference. This four legged animal can experience the exact same emotions as me'.
Once people see animals from this perspective, their world will be forever changed. They will no longer see themselves as a master of a lesser species. They will see themselves as but one species among many on this tiny spaceship we call Earth.
It is sometimes difficult to believe we live in a society with people who do such horrible things and the sad part is that they and many other people think these are "good" people. They may have even bragged when they related this story to others. My husband was a gentle man but if he encountered an animal abuser he literally went "wild" and many times had to be restrained from giving the abusers the same type of mistreatment they were giving the animal.
i have cried many a tear while caring for one of my sick pets and still feel very sad over the loss of a "friend" who passed away many years ago. And, truth be known, I have even used my annual leave to take care of a sick pet or take them to the doctor. Animals are valuable to our own well being and deserve being treated in that manner.
Stories like this are hard for us to read, but we still need to be reminded that these kinds of people do exist in our own society (not in some distant country) and it will take strong caring people to stand up and be counted when it comes to eliminating this kind of cruelty.
OMG - this essay should be published in every newspaper in the country. Not that the despicable lowlifes who mistreat and abuse animals can read......
I wanted to tell you how much it meant to me to read your article on animals, how we share our world with them and how they are treated. I'm 64 and don't know very well to navigate the net, but pressed a few buttons and it led me to this site to post. I pray you have an inspirational section on your site on how we can actively participate in making our world a better place for humans and animals.
Philippians 1:6 "Being confident of this very thing, that He, who hath begun a good work in you, will perfect it unto the day of Jesus Christ."
I absolutely couldn't agree more with every bit of this post. My family includes dogs, cats, and a big fish in a giant aquarium all his own (he's the loner type who prefers it that way). The largest part of my time is spent on my fur (and fin-) kids...especially now that my human babes are all adults and have little use for me anymore!
One thing I would like to keep in the minds of those who truly love the animals of our planet: the mistreatment of 'farm' animals will never--NEVER--end, as long as there is a profit to be made. And, in pursuit of growing these profits as big as they will get, animals will continue to be crowded into the tiniest, filthiest spaces and get the least feed, attention, and veterinary care possible to maximize the amount that their keepers get to sink into their pockets.
PERIOD. Even the 'best' of the 'best'--local, family farms, will, if they wish to see their profits grow, need to head in this direction. Don't forget...they were once ALL local, family farms...
If we TRULY love animals, and TRULY wish to end their suffering, the only way is to eliminate the products they produce (dairy, their own flesh), while housed in their hells-on Earth, from our lives.
FOR GOOD. Period.
And I know, carnivores collectively'll roll their eyes at this suggestion, and the meat industry is WONDERFUL at putting as many bugs in our ears praising meat and all its virtues that it can squeeze into thirty seconds at a time. I mean, seriously--who wants to give up their bacon cheeseburgers?!
But we at the least must be cognizant enough to realize that, by eating as such, we DO implicitly condone the lifetime of suffering spent by the pig and the mother cow--constantly pregnant and having her babies stolen--over and over and over (all for that gooey, melty slice of cheese; it's ok--veal calves do 'fine' on weak, iron deficient 'formula'--God knows what's in THAT--or, plain and simple, drained cow blood). That's the way of the world, right? WE are superior. We DESERVE milk on our cereal and cheese anywhere we want to melt it.
Finally, though, when her production drops below acceptable levels, that poor ol' (4-5 year-old) mama cow gets to retire--to become the meat patty. (Cows' natural lifespans are +/- 25 years, btw).
And if lack of cow- and pig-familiarity fails to tug hard enough on your heartstrings, google 'Yulin Dog Festival'. Your burger? Same thing, but with animals most of us haven't taken the time to get to know.
There is NO way to eat meat and dairy and simultaneously purport to respect animal life. Period.
Sorry. Do what you will (don't we all?!). But do it without lying to yourself. And be ok with it, for your suppressed mental health.
If you DO currently eat animal products and DO wish to weed them out, my only advice is to start small. A meal or two a week. A sub here and an alternative there. With a will, the way will be yours before you know it. The alternatives available today are so good, after your palate cleanses, you'll not miss a thing. Time. It heals all wounds. But it does take time. And trial and error. Successes and failures of will.
But if your will comes from love of the creatures you are trying to pardon from living their hells for YOUR benefit, you WILL succeed.
Admittedly, I still miss cheese; the taste is hard to forget.
But I'm CERTAIN I don't miss it as much as even ONE mama cow misses her stolen baby. I'll live. I'd LOVE to let them do the same.
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