Oh, how we love our pets; our dogs and cats with the soft fur and warm bellies. We are a nation of pet and animal lovers. Dogs and cats regularly appear in movies, for our added entertainment, and in commercials to seduce sales. They are nurtured by us as quasi-children, are protected, and given a household niche. By reason of our anthropomorphic inclinations, we project human traits and responses to them (See blog#31) and by identification, by nurturing them, receive (ourselves) the nurturance we have always sought.
It is a wide-spread belief that one’s character and worth may be gauged by the quality and manner in which that person treats his pets and other animals.
Cruelty to animals is universally condemned and detested by society and is not infrequently, prosecuted criminally. Agencies such as the A.S.P.C.A. and many organizations exist for the purpose of preventing cruelty to animals. It is, indeed, society’s positive expectation that properly socialized citizens treat these children of Nature with kindness.
Yet, one recalls with horror, the media account of the wealthy dentist, who among many others, considers the killing of innocent wild animals admirable and who proudly exhibits severed parts of their victims (usually the head) as revered trophies.
The person reported in the media, proudly recounted his procedure in killing the lion viz., by shooting him with a high-powered bow and arrow in the morning, then tracking him and killing him at day’s end. He did not see it as relevant to give a moment’s thought to the day-long agony, bleeding and suffering of the innocent beast. Unlike him, the lion did not have a good day.
As it happens, this particular animal was well known and given a name by the local community. The brave hunter was roundly condemned and universally termed a psychopath. P. wonders the event achieved notoriety because the elderly lion was a well- known and beloved resident of the local area; how many numerous other innocent animals, who are not celebrities, are treated to such an end, by “sportsmen.”
We are fortunate to be born, live and share the planet contemporaneously with all of its creature inhabitants. Stated differently, we and our fellow animals, as co-tenants of the Earth, are born, mate, have offspring and, at the end of life (unless sooner terminated by sportsmen) die.
It is an unfortunate reality that there are many unavoidable animal tragedies caused by the proximity of “civilization” to animal habitats, most commonly by way of auto accidents. P. is still unable to rid his mind’s eye of the sight of a young doe, two years ago, sitting awkwardly by the side of the highway, dazed, flicking her ears, having apparently just been hit by an automobile, wide-eyed and bleeding from her mouth. There are many accounts of bears looking for food too close to human habitation that are killed. These are, however, accidental occurrences, and, in most cases, unpreventable.
However, a special and unique category of villain is to be allocated to humans who derive pride and pleasure from the killing of innocent animals; one is obliged to inquire as to the character and moral compass of those who, indeed, exult in the killing and maiming of Nature’s offspring for pleasure.
Our forest denizens have soft fur and warm bellies just like our pets and are not targets in a woodland shooting gallery. They, and all animals, do not exist for the satisfaction of human beings with blood-thirsty and atavistic inclinations.