Cruelty To Animals

We are all animals…..In my last 3 blogs, I have posted stories about the near extinction of Siberian tigers, and the danger of animals such as the polar bear and the American gray wolf of being put on the endangered species list…P.E.T.A. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is an organization that is dedicated to making people aware of this one simple fact….

The point is that we are all part of the Ecosystem of the planet, all part of the food chain, all dependent on one another, yet some people have the unmitigated gall and arrogance to assume they are not only better than other people, but also have a certain prerogative to treat animals anyway they want, simply because animals cannot speak and are considered lower life forms than human beings……

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Some people consider animals a lesser life form simply because they are different, and the list of human atrocities against animals is similar to atrocities committed against other people….Nature has it’s own hierarchy of predator and prey, and people are entitled to participate in this natural cycle of violence as the natural predators that we are….

I am certainly not an extremist, I believe that certain animals, such as lions and tigers and wolves, are predators, they are carnivorous and can only exist by hunting, killing and eating their prey…Other animals are herbivorous, such as cows, sheep and deer, and can only exist by eating vegetables…In both cases, that is all their digestive systems can assimilate…

Humans are omnivorous,and can eat and survive on either meat or vegetables, and many argue that a natural balance is the best diet for humanity as we have evolved over the years….It has been proven that people can live on only vegetarian or vegan diets, as long as they get their natural protein, but in the real world it is much easier to mix and match meats and vegetables for most people, and I agree with that and think that since we have evolved that way, it is the most natural and healthy thing to do…

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But given that, I am still extremely shocked and appalled at the constant evidence of maltreatment that people in their supreme arrogance feel that they can inflict pain, suffering and maltreatment upon animals that would have them locked up and punished if they dared treat other people the same way….

We as human beings have a true and clear moral imperative to maintain the most humane, gentle and ethical treatment of animals that we can while utilizing food animals for food and all other animals as pets and companions…As my Google sources for PETA indicate, they take a moral stand against ALL human consumption of animals, which I personally do not agree with, but I still find many of their ideas worthwhile, noble, and applicable to my daily life…

For example, PETA believes: “More than a century ago, Charles Darwin showed that all beings had the same common ancestor. All beings share the desire to live. We all feel pain, joy, grief, and pleasure. We all have worth.” PETA strongly believes that: “Human beings have few, if any, unique capabilities—many beings can learn languages, enjoy complex social bonds, sacrifice pleasure for the good of others, use tools, imagine, and dream. Many beings remember information, play with friends, enjoy intimacy, gossip, and mourn their deceased.

Some beings have enormous capabilities beyond our own—in navigation, endurance, communication, and detection of natural phenomena. We don’t yet fully understand how all beings think—or what they think—but dismissing their mental world as less developed, rational, moral, or intelligent than our own is clearly a mistake.”

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I strongly agree with the overall philosophy of PETA that: “Regardless of their capabilities, no living being deserves to be abused. We believe that it’s wrong to torture infant and disabled human beings who don’t have the same abilities as adults. In the same way, all beings deserve liberty and respect not because they share the characteristics we admire in ourselves but because they are living beings. We share the same evolutionary origins, we inhabit the same Earth, and we are ruled by the same laws of nature. We are all the same”

Like I said, I am not a vegetarian, and believe that being naturally omnivorous is natures way of telling us it is OK for humans to eat meat, just like the carnivorous animals such as lions, tigers and wolves…Yet I strongly draw the line at people who abuse animals for no other reason except that they can, just to be sadistic or to make a profit….

I have a friend who recently discovered the abundance and horrors of “puppy mills”…According to the American Humane Society: “ A puppy mill is an inhumane, commercial dog-breeding facility in which the health of the dogs is disregarded in order to maintain a low overhead and maximize profits.

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It’s important to know that, in many cases, puppy mills are not illegal. In most states, a breeding kennel can legally keep dozens, even hundreds, of dogs in cages for their entire lives, as long as the dogs are given the basics of food, water, and shelter.

When documented cruelty exists, The HSUS (Humane Society US) assists in shutting down puppy mills with the cooperation of local law enforcement. The HSUS has assisted in the rescue of almost 5,000 dogs from puppy mills over the past two years alone. But while The HSUS is opposed to puppy mills, The HSUS cannot shut down or raid legal businesses. The HSUS is not a government, law enforcement, or regulatory agency.

Because most puppy mills are not illegal, we need help from the public to put an end to the consumer demand for their “product.” Don’t patronize these cruel and greedy breeders…You can help The HSUS put a stop to puppy mills by getting your next dog from an animal shelter, rescue group, or a humane and responsible breeder that you have carefully screened in person”….

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Please consider this carefully, because we can all work with groups that alleviate unnecessary cruelty and criminal treatment of animals….If you witnessed deplorable conditions in person and wish to file a complaint with the HSUS, please call 1-877-MILL-TIP….Or contact them directly for more information at : http://www.humanesociety.org/…..The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, another worthwhile group can be found at: https://www.aspc….or call 202-452-1100 or 866-720-2676 their switchboard is open Monday through Friday plus weekends…. If you wish to contact PETA directly for more information, try: http://www.peta.org/ or call:1 (757) 622-7382…

All of these organizations are dedicated to the proposition of no more cruelty to animals… Some are admittedly more strident and political than others, yet all have the same basic premise at heart….We as human beings do not have the right to abuse, maltreat or torture animals simply because they are not human beings…As PETA put it so clearly, after all, if you think about it,when it comes down to it:

We are all animals...

A Free Day At The Zoo!

Today we went to the zoo, me and my daughter and granddaughter, because it was the first Wednesday of the month and the city of San Francisco let’s any resident in for free on this day! That alone made the trip worthwhile, it’s like you know how free food always tastes better, and we had a thoroughly enjoyable day at the zoo….As usual it was an educational experience, and well worth the time…

I have to admit, I am rather ambivalent about the concept of zoos in the first place…I have mixed feelings because the latent animal activist in me wants to free all the animals; on the other hand, without zoos, inner city youth like me and my family would never have the opportunity to see in person the rare, exotic animals, like lions and tigers and bears, oh my! We would never get to witness them at all!…

Then too there is the growing trend among the zookeepers themselves to make the habitats of the animals more life like and similar to what they are in the wild…They have been expanded exponentially space wise and are much more like the environments the animals are genetically programmed for than from what they used to be just a few generations ago…

The San Francisco zoo is one of the more progressive zoos in the country, because of the large numbers of animal lovers here in the city…It is a far cry from when I was a kid and visited the Chicago zoo, it seemed like the animals were like prisoners in cages back then….In fact it can be argued that in many cases we treat the animals in the zoo better than the human prisoners in jails in many parts of the country…

San Francisco was among the leaders in the “free the elephants campaign,” to realize that there was no ethical way to keep elephants in captivity, and they released their last elephants from the zoo into a huge land preserve that keeps them safe and as near as possible to their natural environment  as possible several years ago…Elephants need large spaces to roam, and they have such large brains it always seemed to me like they were watching you with their soulful, knowing eyes when I saw them in the zoo….

Circus performers were and still are in many more unenlightened areas also loudly criticized for their harsh training methods with “bull hooks” and forcing the elephants into performing “tricks” for the audience…People’s consciousness has been raised so much recently that the outrage over such cruel and unnecessary treatment is growing, and that elephants at least are trending toward all being freed in the near future….

As a matter of fact, this is a thorny question, because at the San Francisco zoo and among many other zoos too I am sure, they are actually preserving some species from near extinction…The bald eagle exhibit at the San Francisco zoo, for example, states that they have taken in and released over 100 bald eagles in the last few years, thus moving the species from the “endangered species” list to a more normal, protective stage…

This was really heartening news, and it leads me to believe that they are doing the same thing for other species, because the sad truth is that the poachers in Africa who kill elephants and rhinos for their tusks and sell them to their buyers in the booming Asian market are the real villains here…In this case, the zoos can be regarded as conservationists rather than jailers as far as preserving certain endangered species…

In fact, that seems to be the trend of the future for zoos as we head into the future…There are constant fund raisers and animal awareness seminars here in San Francisco about this very topic, and I am confident as more people become more aware of the situation, the zoos will continue to exist, but will become much larger, more species friendly artificial environments than ever before…

The alternative is not an option, we have come too far already, and if we must have zoos, and for all the reasons I have listed above, I believe that in truth we must maintain our system of zoos, we must also strive to make them as near to the actual animal environment as possible…..

The bigger, better, and more animal friendly the zoos evolve into the better, and that way we can strike a balance between species preservation and the real need for people, especially young people, to see with their own eyes what a lion or a tiger or a bear actually looks like…Most of the animals in the zoos today are 3rd and 4th generation bred zoo animals anyway, and like the freed elephants would not necessarily fare better if they were all suddenly released anyway…

It can even be argued that the animals in captivity in the zoo are ambassadors for the majority of their species, and so in the future when the animal activists approach the young people of today for funds, they will be more amenable and aware enough to donate to the cause, as opposed to a philosophical request with no tangible memories to prompt them to save any particular species…..

Simply because the children of today have witnessed with their own eyes on their school field trips or family outings, like we did today, the living, breathing reality of all these exotic wild creatures… ……

Well in summary, although I have seemed to wander far afield from my original intentions of mere description in this blog, we had a GREAT day at the zoo! We walked for miles, we soaked up the sun, and we learned and saw more than watching Animal Planet for a month, all in one day… And today, the day we went to the zoo, is one we will be able to treasure as a family memory for years to come….