Wednesday, August 7, 2013

"whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves..."

 “Animals are more than ever a test of our character, of mankind's capacity for empathy and for decent, honorable conduct and faithful stewardship. We are called to treat them with kindness, not because they have rights or power or some claim to equality, but in a sense because they don't; because they all stand unequal and powerless before us.”
― Matthew Scully, Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy
     Quickly! You hear a crowd screaming as flames  shoot out of a second story window. Panicked, you have to make a split second decision. In one smoke filled room is a crying six month year old infant tragically abandoned by it's mother and in another room is a highly trained yet injured three year old German Shepard police canine trapped under debris. Who would you save?  Most people may be reading this in disgust saying to themselves "what a ridiculous question" of course I would save the baby. Instinctively,  human nature dictates most of us would grab the child and immediately flee from harm. This is a no brainer for fire and rescue teams, right?  Human life will always take precedence over an animal. However, the most heroic of us would be determined to save both baby and dog. Increasingly, many of us would do nothing at all. We don't try to save the baby or the dog. We rationalize good parents wouldn't abandon a baby in a fire. Why should I care about some strangers kid? We rationalize that an animals life is considerably less valuable than a human life, not even worthy of our concern or assistance. So both the baby and the dog are asphyxiated by the smoke and die. The end.

      Unfortunately, we see a society of  not "either or" but "neither".  The previous scenario was written to demonstrate a point regarding animal rights activists and advocates. It has been my experience that some people insinuate you show less concern for children, women's and human rights when you are empathetic and speak out for animals. Since when does being the voice for animals mean you care less about your fellow human beings? That kind of superior thinking lacks compassion and understanding and only demonstrates our own arrogance.  When you choose to protect and honor animals rights, you ARE caring for human beings. The truth is there are many people who love and trust the companionship of animals more than most humans. Do you blame them?  For the first time, many people are able to express deep love and emotion without judgment or criticism with the aide of service and companion animals.  They are able to find comfort and heal wounds inflicted by human cruelty, trauma, illness, developmental disorders and loneliness with the unconditional love, companionship and security of a pet.  Human beings are brutal, selfish, greedy, hurtful and manipulative. The animal kingdom does not exist for our pleasure, exploitation and amusement. We have an obligation to the earth, the beautiful creatures of our planet and each other. We do see the kindness and love in others. We see what can be. We know we are capable of the greatest most unselfish love and  incredible sacrifice. Why do we want to exclude animals and nature in our most urgent government policies, religious faith and philosophies? Many animal lovers, animal rights activists and advocates honor and recognize that we are ALL entrusted to care and protect animals not destroy their habitats, disturb populations use them for cruel science experiments or unmercifully kill for sport and greed. We are only a drop in the great ocean. We are only a thread of the great intricate web.

Humankind has not woven the web of life.
We are but one thread within it.
Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
All things are bound together.
All things connect.
~ Chief Seattle, 1854 ~