Saturday, June 18, 2011

on creatures great and small

Animal rights and welfare mean a very very great deal to me. I don't think I have words enough to describe how much. As such, I will support animal welfare groups, and the work they do, however I can.

You may have read my earlier post about my own dog Kip, as well as the wonderful book, One at a Time -- A Week in an American Animal Shelter by Diane Leigh and Marilee Geyer. If not, please take a moment to do so.

I am feeling very compelled at the moment to write about this because just within the past day alone I've read and seen a lot of news on animal abuse that is very upsetting. First, I received my regular newsletter from the local SPCA, which I always open with a sort of dread, because the pictures are graphic and the news is largely sad.

As expected, this latest issue was no different -- reports of badly neglected pets (thank God for the people who report these cases!), a slew of rabbits and hamsters abandoned in public places (some found dumped in a rubbish chute), a cat killed by hanging...

I will not expound the horrific implications of a society where people abuse animals, and where others are indifferent to the cruelty. A study conducted by Northeastern University and the Massachusetts SPCA found that people who abuse animals are five times more likely to commit violent crimes against humans.

Dr Howard Koplewicz, director of the Child Study Centre at New York University, said, "When ever I read about someone committing a horrible crime against an animal and getting off with a slap on the wrist because "it was just a cat", I become sick with dread because I know that as despicable as the acts may be that they’ve already committed, these people aren’t finished yet. They are just getting warmed up".

We cannot ignore what it means when people feel power or gratification in hurting and abusing any living being that cannot defend itself. Nor can we ignore what it means when people respond to these acts with uncaring, heartless indifference.

The SPCA newsletter also reminded me of another issue which had greatly disturbed me -- the importation of 25 wild bottlenose dolphins for Resorts World Sentosa, a leisure and gaming resort on Sentosa Island. Global Animal has an excellent article on this here.

Earlier, I'd signed an online petition urging the Resort to release the captive dolphins. The petition can be found here; please take a moment to help.

The SPCA newsletter states that it "objects strongly to the planned importation of dolphins by Resorts World Sentosa for its Marine Life Park. These animals were caught in the wild and are being forced to adapt to a lifestyle which is not natural. In the process, they have no doubt suffered immensely, being highly sensitive and intelligent creatures.

"Two dolphins died in October last year whilst in a holding pen at Langkawi Island, Malaysia. This news only served to confirm that the whole process severely compromises the dolphins' welfare. Subjecting them to a life in captivity is unnecessary and cruel. Conditions can never come close to their natural environment...

"... As much as Resorts World claims that the well-being of all animals at its [Park] is a top priority, the example it has set by capturing wild dolphins for the public's entertainment, and compromising their welfare, contradicts its aim of educating and conserving the species". More here.

And now, I've just learned of this site. I totally support and applaud the efforts of everyone behind this campaign, but seeing the stark pictures only reminded me of how much terrible suffering there is behind the pet shop trade.

People who ooh and aah over all the cute little puppies in the window conveniently forget, or don't even know about, the appalling horrors of puppy mills. Please take the time to learn more.

And please, the next time you're thinking of bringing home a pet, rescue and give an abandoned animal a chance at a happy life -- adopt, don't buy.

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.
From All Things Bright and Beautiful, by Mrs Cecil F. Alexander

1 comment:

Dawn said...

I almost read thru the entire post until you got to the cats. It is ok though. I rescue animals and I still struggle with thoughts and preoccupations of what if there is an animal that needs food or shelter or vet care right now. I agree about donating but if rescuing or fostering is a better option for people then they should consider doing so. I pray whenever I am consumed with anxiety producing thoughts of animals in need. Thank you for posting. What is your first name? Dawn Suitcase Vignettes xo


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