Come to the edge, he said. They said: We are afraid. Come to the edge, he said. They came. He pushed them and they flew. –Guillaume Apollinaire
In conclusion of our journey of animal care, laws, welfare and rights…
Possibly all the people pushing for these new hard-core draconian laws really believe it will make things better for the animals. I tend to think that many believe this but at the core of the movement behind these laws are those who believe that animals should be living separately from us in order to allow animals to have real lives. Some even believe that, for animals to live with us, work with us, play with us and/or help us is for them to be enslaved, and they are better off dead than enslaved. I honestly don’t think my dog thinks he’s the slave in our house. He has it pretty good, especially considering that before he came to live with us he had been a very abused, starved and neglected puppy. He hasn’t missed a meal since he came to live with us and he is rather demanding that his meals be on time! We bathe him, brush him, do his nail trims, minister to him when he’s ill, pay for his food (he is fed a species natural diet) and all his expenses which include the best nature can offer to an ailing animal, get up at ungodly hours so he can cavort with his dog friends at the park, and play with him. I think the enslaved part of this thinking is grossly misplaced. And I don’t think he’d rather be dead in place of the life he now leads even though he previously led a life of abuse and neglect.
Possibly people want to see the end to the horrific abuse we thrust upon animals in the name of both economics and protection.
We say to protect them we must vaccinate them with toxins that harm their overall long-term health. The same toxins are created by those who perform vivisection with callous disregard for animal life. We feed unnatural diets that create ill health instead of feeding them natural diets. We create more and more chemicals rather than looking to nature for our health, which would eliminate the need for much of the testing that we protest. We force the mutilation of their pristine baby bodies vying it’s for their protection from potential unwanted offspring because we are negligent. We angrily fight for laws to protect animals from trade in the fur of their bodies or from being sold in stores, yet it is our own demands that keep these practices as thriving enterprises. Unscrupulous mills sell large quantities of animals to stores or animal farms set up to give the air of neglect so that sympathy buys will happen by people unversed in animal nature that will ultimately contribute to the throw away pet population. Then we punish reputable breeders instead of looking at our own lack of knowledge about economics and animals. We are callous in our care of food animals because, after all, aren’t they only food? Only to have recalls that render their lives useless; lived in vain. We are shocked but do nothing to change anything that doesn’t further our own personal agendas.
The following quote magnifies the error in our thinking. This quote and the one after which this article is entitled, were supplied by veterinarian friend, Dr. Myrna Milani:
We need another and a wiser and perhaps more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees therefore a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves, and therein we err, we greatly err. For the animal shall not be measured by the man. In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and more complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth. Henry Beston, The Outermost House, 1923
The dignity for animals lies in allowing them to BE what they are; to BE the species each of them is and to work with them within those parameters. They are not lesser beings than we are; they are simply different in their own right. The animals certainly do their best to work within our parameters and they have for millennia. Yes, they have for MILENNIA and yet here we are working to remove them from our immediate presence because of those who perceive their lives with us as enslavement. The animals choose to be with us. They choose to cohabitate with us. They choose to share this world with us. And we owe them the respect, the dignity, the kindness, and humane, natural care that their choice affords us. We owe them our gratitude in joining us for the enrichment and interdependence their lives lend to us.
The abuse and cruelty we thrust upon them MUST stop, but these laws are not the solution. All change, all improvement begins by changing ourselves. Mahtma Ghandi said to be the change we desire to see in the world. BE it. Not FORCE others into compliance with MY ideals. BE it. BE the example. Educate and teach others by our own actions.
The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing. John Powell
Will animals die and suffer in the interim? Yes, of course they will and so will humans. That is the nature of this fallen world in which we live.
I desire to see respect of animals. I desire to see them cared for humanely, according to their natural needs. I desire to see education in the area of animal care and their nature. We should know these things prior to raising or bringing an animal home to live with us which would do much more in preventing their suffering and surrender far more than harsh, draconian laws ever will.
…my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. Hosea 4:6, NIV
Education is what will help people to understand that there are predator animals and prey animals and that each needs to be cared for accordingly rather than overly anthropomorphizing their needs. How arrogant of us to believe they must be like us, forcing our ideals upon the very animals we are professing to fight for and to protect.
We must always remember that force is fear-based. Fear is the opposite of love, not hate.
I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking me – all I ask is that you respect me as a human being.Jackie Robinson
I would add to the quote above that in order for us to live in harmony with animals, we must also respect them in their individual species. Honor that and many of these laws will become moot.
Criminals will be criminals no matter how many laws we throw at them, so to penalize and hold accountable law-abiding citizens in the name of animal welfare and protection is not common sense. That is fascism.
What drives the horrendous acts we perpetrate against animals for human economy and gain is nothing more than fear, greed, and ultimately loneliness thinking we are islands unto ourselves and our ideals. We are right, and others who disagree with us are wrong. We are, everyone single one of us, guilty of that thinking and we are, every single one of us, guilty of using animals as the focus for our agendas.
The more out of control we are ourselves, the more we feel the need to control others…from a Machiavellian mindset we would all rather be loved than feared but because love and fear cannot co-exist – they are mutually exclusive – we choose fear! Dr. Myrna Milani (paraphrased from a conversation on our show).
Fear tethers us. Fear binds us. Fear locks us in cages. Fear pushes for laws that punish others who don’t agree with our point of view. Fear shrinks, shrivels, and diminishes us until we’re locked in a dark, dank dungeon within our own souls thinking all is lost save our agendas to control others lest they control us first.
Only love delivers us from bondage. Only love sets us free.
Animals have been my constant source of love, acceptance and focus for my entire life and they will continue to be. They are God’s abundant treasure gracing our lives, as our companions, as our sustenance, as our mentors, as our consolers, as our entertainers, as our comedians, as our protectors, as our teachers.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13: 6-7 (NIV)
God gave me my ability and gift with animals for His purpose and glory and I will continue to obey and honor Him with His gift. And through that gift I have learned some things:
Leadership is not dominance. True leaders serve the greater good. Horses taught me that.
Forgiveness and meekness is true power and strength. Dogs taught me that.
Healing can be as simple as a purr. Cats taught me that.
Dancing and singing with utter joy and abandon is fun. A bird by the name of Snowball taught me that.
Flight only comes after adversity. Moths and butterflies taught me that.
Love is true freedom. Animals taught me that.
Pride and arrogance comes before a fall. Humans taught me that.
If our desire is to see animal suffering end, animal cruelty end, animal care improved, animal respect elevated then we can start with the person looking back at us each day from our mirrors. Hold that person responsible. Hold that person accountable. Be the change. Be the example.
Will you come to the edge? Will you not be afraid? Will you fly?
Tyranny will be far from you; you will have nothing to fear. Terror will be removed; it will not come near you Isaiah 54:14, NIV
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