We can no longer remain silent

Well, today you will have to forgive me because I’m on a rampage! I completely LOST IT when I read this article about someone who put a kitten in cement up to his neck. By the time a Good Samaritan found him, chipped him out of the cement and rushed him to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah, the damage had already been done. This little darling, who never hurt one being on this Earth, died a few days later. (Insert tears and some foul words of your choosing) As I write this, I just want to scream!

While I usually take solace when our companion animals can die in the arms of a loving person, it is not consoling me today. For this little kitten who was named Thomas, dying in the loving presence of caring people may have been the only kindness that he ever received in his short life. And this story came on the heels of me and millions of others across the globe mourning the killing (and you know I don’t use that term lightly) of Lennox, a dog who had been held prisoner in Belfast, Ireland for two years simply because of his breed. He never did anything wrong other than love his family. Yet he was removed from his family by authorities because he looked like a pit bull. The Belfast City Council killed him yesterday in spite of massive protests. If you want to sign the petition to recall the Belfast City Council, click here.

Are you at your wits end about how people treat animals? I know that I am. I am often asked how we can stop it and I have dedicated a majority of my career to educating others on how to stop it. Although I will never give up, I’m feeling like a failure today because we have not been able to identify the key to stopping people from torturing and harming animals. Knowing how much torture and harm is inflicted by humans against humans, and knowing that animals are seen as not as important to most people, it just seems like a losing situation for the animals.

Rather than wallow in misery, I’m going to do something. I’m reaching out to some of the experts in the field who I am honored to have as friends and colleagues and will be asking them to guest blog for me about why people abuse animals, what we can do to stop it, and so on. Bee Friedlander with Animals & Society Institute and an attorney with the Michigan State Bar Animal Law Section has already agreed to blog about AniCare, a treatment program for animal abusers. So has Dr. Clif Flynn, a researcher and chair of the Department of Sociology, Crimnal Justice and Women’s Studies at University of South Carolina Upstate, and recent author of “Understanding Animal Abuse”

Let’s get clear, we cannot continue to go on this way. We cannot continue to turn a blind eye, or get emotionally upset at the stories and then do nothing. Whenever we hear someone make a snide remark about an animal, I want you to stop dead in your tracks, look them in the eye, and say “What happened in your past to make you such an uncaring, uncompassionate and unempathetic person? You must not only hate children and other adults, but also yourself.” Or feel free to come up with some other retort that hits them to their core about their words and actions. We need to be more vocal against how we treat animals as our consumable, wearable, kickable, starvable, worthless objects that we can torture. We need to celebrate the beauty, love, and unconditional acceptance that animals bring to our world. We need to use our words and to stop choking them back in order to be nice to people and not rock the boat. I’ve got oars, so let’s rock baby!

As I ponder endlessly about why animals are harmed by people, it always brings me back to the core question … Why do some humans think they are ordained with the right to harm another living being? Where the heck did that line of thinking come from? Is it a biological short coming, a DNA flaw, an awful upbringing, violent TV shows, eating too much junk food, selfishness? What is causing people to behave so despicably?

Yes, there are people who reference the Bible and that man has dominion over animals. Digressing: You know how two people can witness the same event yet have two different stories of what happened? There appear to be two different belief systems of what dominion means. Where did man think that dominion means that we can overpower and harm an animal? Does dominion mean domination (which just sounds harsh and barbaric) or does it mean that we have the power and the obligation to protect?

So unfortunately for this posting, I don’t have any answers. I just had to get this out and I want us to start being more vocal. No exceptions! As I ask several experts in the field of animal protection to guest blog for me, let me know what questions you have or what issue you want to read about. I will then do my best to have someone address your question.

In the meantime, let’s all send a prayer to baby Thomas, Lennox, and the thousands of animals that will be harmed today. And use your words on behalf of animals … after all, they are voiceless.

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