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Animal Slavery

VIEWS: 7 PAGES: 41

  • pg 1
									130,000 Years
        A robin redbreast in a cage
         Puts all heaven in a rage.

A dove-house fill'd with doves and pigeons
    Shudders hell thro' all its regions.
    A dog starv'd at his master's gate
      Predicts the ruin of the state.

     A horse misused upon the road
    Calls to heaven for human blood.
     Each outcry of the hunted hare
    A fibre from the brain does tear.

    A skylark wounded in the wing,
     A cherubim does cease to sing.
 The game-cock clipt and arm'd for fight
      Does the rising sun affright.

       Every wolf's and lion's howl
      Raises from hell a human soul.

 The wild deer, wand'ring here and there,
    Keeps the human soul from care.
  The lamb misus'd breeds public strife,
   And yet forgives the butcher's knife.

     The bat that flits at close of eve
   Has left the brain that won't believe.
    The owl that calls upon the night
     Speaks the unbeliever's fright.

     He who shall hurt the little wren
      Shall never be belov'd by men.
    He who the ox to wrath has mov'd
     Shall never be by woman lov'd.

    The wanton boy that kills the fly
     Shall feel the spider's enmity.
   He who torments the chafer's sprite
    Weaves a bower in endless night.

             William Blake
          Auguries of Innocence
      ‘Perhaps you have noticed how babies, children and those
 disadvantaged souls of low awareness and intelligence, enjoy and
are generally fascinated and engaged by animals, particularly those
     we call pets? They talk to them, touch and stroke them, and
become part of their lives, even immersing and perhaps identifying
    themselves with the animal's simplistic natures which, being
 mostly of an unthreatening disposition, reasonably often matches
         the level of their own intelligence and awareness.’
 Preface

   Perhaps I should apologize for this socially radical document. I
did not intend it to be a diatribe, and I have been generously
informed that I am not an acrasial author. Nevertheless, I have no
doubt this essay will be likened to the labour of Sisyphean, king of
Corinth, condemned in the underworld to roll a huge stone to the
top of a hill from which it constantly fell back; laborious and
fruitless; endless.
   Reading and re-checking the text, I cannot help but feel it will
have as much as an effect than if I were to plea to an army of
Islamist militant suicide bombers to, just be nice, do no harm and
go home and love your families. My early test readers, upon
wading through its content, thought at first it was a parody.
   Certainly, it can be admitted that a social conscience drives my
thoughts...however hopeless my ultimate aim. Upon initial
consultation with colleagues and one-time friends, it was
suggested that this book be written either carefully or carelessly.
There could be no other way. You are welcome to be my judge.
   It may upset the status quo. I am clear of this possibility. It may
inform. It may inflame. It may infuriate. Nevertheless, I am
convinced not a single shred of human activity will be altered by
its publication. Why then publish? Because I believe that
somewhere, out there, there exists a greater good, and trust that
although nothing of earthly value will be moderated, our
spirituality will benefit merely from its existence. What is it about?
There are books on bullying humans. This one is about how we
bully animals.
   It is a slender volume. However, if I were to mention and offer a
fuller description of the activities and atrocities, both legal and
illegal concerning our morality and immorality concerning any
creature not labelled human, this book would be hundreds of times
greater in length. Natural Truth is always short. Their fundamental
nature can be written on scrapes of paper and placed in
matchboxes. What then is this book’s purpose?
   When I was a child I asked the oddest of questions to the
constant irritation of my parents who were not in a position to offer
meaningful answers. ‘What is the value of a spider?’ ‘How many
insects do blind people eat each year?’ ‘Where was I before I was a
baby?’ ‘Why do I feel like this?’ You can imagine the picture. I am
convinced my parents must have dreamed of having a child that
just asked normal questions such as, ‘what is sex?’
   Nevertheless, as a youngster, my mother gently informed me,
that reading, like travel, would broaden my mind, and answer all
my questions. It is the purpose of words she informed me.
However, some sixty years on, there appears to be a niche of
people where words do not impact or penetrate. No matter how
structured the argument, how well devised and logical, the
messages they offer, the knowledge they contain, skim over certain
types of people like flat stones across a still pond.
   The written word has changed communities. Please note, I did
not use the noun, civilisation. For many, books are the plough of
humanity's social life, enabling both good works and weeds to
flourish, feed and entertain us. Rain falls; books grow; yet a not so
rural field remains.
   It is understandable why we pick and choose our knowledge, our
seedlings, and our flowers. Some provide much needed
nourishment, yet others entertain us with their beauty. Some rare
varieties manage both (John Fowles/Michel Faber). Some live for
moments (pulp fiction) yet some a lifetime (J. K. Rowling) Or,
many lifetimes (Beatrix Potter/Jane Austin) One or two even grow
into monoliths spanning the centuries, continuously feeding our
hearts and minds (Shakespeare/Homer/Herodotus).
   We have perhaps noticed the odd corruptible weed solitary
struggling to grow, but generally, most publications are life
affirming and congenial objects, no more a threat to our
sensibilities than unspoken words. Our social conscience sees to
that. Those that do attempt to distract and ease us from our paths
of compliancy often do so with such tenderness and gentleness as
to make their authors seem entirely like placating seraphic
gardeners.
   That will not be my intention here. And for that single reason, it
is doubtful that this, ‘unpalatable weed' will flourish except in the
mind of its author, and a very few crazed others. Almost certainly,
it will never bare any form of sweet fruit, at least not the kind on
which my contemporaries and peers might enjoy sucking. For we
have here in this volume ladies and gentleman, a hardy variety of
heterogeneity, a sub species which many might regard as worse
than a bittie weed comprising a noxious pot of potpourri.
  You may ask; why do I choose to see similarities between plants,
and the world of literature and especially books? It is because of
their ability to emancipate us. However, beyond the obvious
connection that both have a life cycle consistent with each other,
being born, bred, cultivated, lost, cut down, used and destroyed,
plants have the ability to save us wholly. Words only partly.
  It had not my intention to write a foul-smelling monocarp.
However, this seedling, this book, some may find noxious.
Nevertheless, it will be you own thoughts and opinions that will
upset, not the innocent words. Some readers will applaud, but
many will be appalled. I expect that. Virtually all of you will be
accused in some manner, and this is unavoidable considering the
way of the world.
  This book has been many years in development, perhaps
decades. I believe it had always been searching for a suitable
approach until I realised one morning that one did not exist. I was
forced therefore, to carve the approach out myself, and force the
discussion. So, what is this book's purpose? It has none. Like the
spider, it simply exists. My justification for writing it is not clear,
although I do now understand the value of a spider.
  I trust that you will appreciate my unashamedly honest way of
tackling this quite serious topic. It is not my intention to appear
preachy. I understand we live in the real world, but real life
occasionally means we have to compromise our ideals.
  I admit; I am an idealist, yet I do not look down upon those
whose life choices deviate from what is considered to be the high
moral ground. My wish is too lead souls to water. It will be up to
you to drink. Despite this early negativism, I close ultimately with
a message of hope. You will find certain words and phases used
repetitively. I choose this manner of expression for I respect their
importance and competency.
  Many may question my bias. Some may consider me insane,
naive and even half-witted. Others, possessing a less charitable
nature, may organise Heaven and Hell against me, as if I am some
distinct agent of the Devil come to wreak havoc amongst the
world. But I maintain that Hell is already here and living amongst
us quite quietly.

                                 ONE
   ‘I feel little but contempt for the actions of ancient, so called,
'civilisations’

 One

  The genesis of my thoughts concerns bullying, and that will, to
those of a more discerning nature, answer any question of bias.
School for our young in any time period has always been riddled
with the uncertainty of ones peers, but it is only within the last two
decades that serious attempts been made to tackle this form of
persecution. Our place of work too is another environment where
the oppressor and the tyrant can make day-to-day living a
thoroughly miserable experience.
  Let us be clear; bullies are thugs. They are concerned with their
own pleasure. They both want and need power over others, and
they are willing to use and abuse other people, animals and
situations to achieve satisfaction. By definition, they find it hard to
understand another's perspective. This is childlike and egocentric
behaviour. The behaviour of the immature.
  I dare not, and will not offer reliable statistics. The World Wide
Web carries more up to date information than I could ever hope to
impart, but the problem is gigantic with, in the worse case
scenarios, suicide rates escalating worldwide. Child lines and
advice lines have never been busier...and needed.
  Explanations absolving the inner personality of the bully are
many and varied, but that will not concern us here. For what one
person may consider someone’s personality unnerving, another
may experience no such emotion.
  Classifying the personality of the serial, or even the occasional
bully into a well-defined arena is a helpful course of action.
Nevertheless, I put forward the case that that this step is only the
beginning. Professionals who study this sort of thing are convinced
that two forms of bullies exist. Physical bullies are more obvious,
yet the psychological ones act discreetly, and are equally
damaging.
  An example of a physical bully occurs on our roads. Speeding
and tailgating are just two tactics of the selfish intimidator. Two
situations amongst many serious traffic violations that are reported
each day.
  However, after every incident has been labelled and itemised, we
are left with the fundamental impression that bullying is about
dominance; a queer need to control and have authority over others.
This diffidence happens within the mind of the bully.
  Therefore, by the very nature of this argument, bullying can
occur on many levels, and this aggressive behaviour cuts across
countries, creeds and religions. I have to acknowledge our history,
and our pre-history and the steps we have chosen which has
brought us to this point in our evolution. However, to bring
matters into the open, where they can be compared and judged, I
refer now to the keeping and breeding of domestic animals for
pleasure and profit.
  By using this example we can distance ourselves from the
bullying issue without prejudice. However the matter still provides
a strong magnifying glass into the way we exist. Furthermore, it
will be clear that the way we treat animals will be a perfect
reflection on the way we treat each other. How could it not be? The
more they are placed under the glass, the more is revealed about
us.
  Perhaps you may now begin to understand why these words will
do little to stave off the hoards of frightened ruffians who are too
set in their ways to change. Perhaps though, just perhaps, a trickle
may be able to see through their own deficiencies, scars and
problems and look with new eyes at what is to come.
  If we can understand new vistas with horizons so far distant
from the ones we currently possess, then perhaps we will be able to
comprehend how difficult it currently is for people who do not
have the vision or courage to alter their behaviour.
  My imagination, when it comes to bullying, goes far beyond the
usual resources about which we have become accustomed to
reading, as dreadful and as tragic as all of those common
circumstances may be.
  Let us be clear once again; bullies are those who are concerned
with their own pleasure. They want and need power over other
people. They are willing to use and abuse other human beings to
achieve their aims.
  Therefore, to begin. In order to gently immerse ourselves into this
new fiery environment, let us add a caveat. Within the terms of
bullying, let us substitute the label 'animal' for 'human' so that the
example is clear. Here are some reasons we might do that.
  1. Have you ever witnessed a person yank at a dog's collar to
subjugate it? Or seen a pet cower in fear?

  2. Have you seen a bird fluttering uselessly in a cage? Or seen a
large and confined animal pace back and forth?

 3. Have you ever ridden a horse, pony, mule, camel or elephant?

 4. Have you ever eaten animal flesh?

 5. Have you ever yelled at an animal? Or hit one? Or kicked one?
Or killed one? (And not eaten it)

  6. Have you ever placed a bet on a horse, dog or any other type of
living creature?

  7. Have you ever visited a zoo or Wildlife Park or a place like
SeaWorld?

  8. Have you ever kept a dog, cat, rabbit, fish, reptile, insect or any
other life form as a pet?

 9. Have you ever visited a circus or an aquarium, or do you
yourself have an aquarium?

  Of course you have! We all have. Its part of who and what we
are, living as we do in this time and place. Most domesticated
animals are thought of as little less than moving furniture. Yet are
furthermore treated like criminals. We lock them away when we
feel the need, and control their every movement and motion. They
are brought and sold at the slightest whim. They are items kept for
amusement or companionship. Let us continue further into the
dark.

 1. Have you ever paid to see a bullfight? (tauromaquia)

 2. Taken part in a fox hunt?

 3. Do you fish for pleasure? Are you an angler?
 4. Taken part in a dog fashion show?

 5. Have you hunted with dogs?

 6. Have you taken part in hare coursing?

 7. Have you practiced falconry or enjoyed watching trained birds
hunt?

 8. Taken part in a pheasant shoot?

 9. Visited a rodeo?

 10. Been involved in pigeon racing?

  If you live in the countryside and in the UK, then concerning the
fox issue, up to February 18, 2005, the activity of fox hunting may
have seemed attractive to you. Perhaps it still does. Fishing for
relaxing purposes, particularly for men, may seem an inviting
activity in which to take part, and even one which appears normal.
Certainly an activity that may seem to fall into the realm of the
commonplace.
  However, it is that very impression of normality that I am aware
to be the knife that is stabbing us in our own backs. And not only
physically with regard to our own health, but also to the
relationships we forge with each other.
  In the fifteenth century, the people of England believed it was
quite acceptable to chain bears to a wooden post, and set large
fighting dogs against it until it bled to death. Besides asserting that
the meat tasted better, it was considered entertainment. How many
of you reading this still hold that view?
  However, despite the hundreds of years which have passed, this
very same unimaginative and singularly barbaric mental altitude
exists in the same form the way some people view fishing and
horse-racing today. Some may comment that it is not the same, but
where it counts, where it originates, in the mysterious mind, it is the
same. Disrespect and disregard, cruelty and bloodthirstiness originate
from the same place.
  Some may squirm and writhe at this accusation, this suggestion;
this association of events and topics, but a death for amusement, is
a death for amusement, is a death for amusement. How you take
what is being offered here depends, of course, upon your
personality, your point of view, your humanity and the level of
respect you show for all life. Not just human life, but life of any
kind.
  The world will offer you up-to-date exam results on your
personality should you wish to view them if you simply examine
your actions, your desires, your needs and the things you feel
compelled to do. Let us walk further on... and into the darkest part
of the cave.

  1. Have you ever seen bear (cynartomachy), badger and bull
baiting?

  2. Have you ever-witnessed organised dog fighting? Or perhaps
cock fighting? (alectryomachy)

 3. Have you ever participated in, 'throwing at cocks?'

  4. Have you ever been on safari with an aim to shoot animals
such as elephant, rhino, leopard, lion, baboon and cheetah? And
then bring the animal home as a trophy to hang on the wall?

 5. Have you ever shot a partridge?

  6. Have you ever been involved in hunting hart (a stag more than
seven years old), a wolf or the wild boar? Or buck, doe, fox, the
martin or the roe? How about the badger, the wild-cat and the
otter? What about the reindeer, the cat and the elk? Why stop
there? How about the grey, the weasel, the squirrel, the white rat,
the stoat and the polecat? Or just plain wild boar?
  The last wolf was killed in 1770 in the UK, so you would not have
seen one in its natural habitat in this country, but it is understood
the practise of killing them still occurs in countries that are not as
morally advanced as the UK.
  The Humane Act of 1835 brought many of these ancient and
indecent traditions and customs to a shuddering halt. Because it
can take generations for human beings to change some of their
perceptions, we can take it as certain that many citizens of the time
probably wholly disagreed with the government's legislation. And
probably none more so than those who earned a living from
practicing that the Act forbad.
  But those people survived. They moved on. At least the ones
with any sense. Our government, in its present mature form has
been around for over a thousand years, and because it does not
deal with individuality, it has had the experience, and has the
wisdom to know that behaviour becomes modified over time. And
moreover that the population have short memories.
  It understands that people resist change, and it knows they will
complain, but it also comprehends how single men or small groups
can do very little about it. Since 1949 when two private member's
bills to ban, or restrict, hunting with dogs failed to make it onto the
statute books, it took until February 18, 2005, some fifty-five years
later until The Hunting Act 2004 was passed.
  As controversial as the passing of that Act was, within a short
number of decades, and with the old enthusiasts dying, and their
grandchildren growing up not taking part in such activates, the
hunt and its archaic memories will fade. How many old people do
you know who still talk about when their own grandfathers used
to complain about The Humane Act of 1835? I would guess none.
  The animal activists need do nothing. We need not fear the
government will repeal the Hunting Act for it was a responsible
decision, meant to enhance the lives for the majority. Time will
take away those responsible for fox hunting, and they will be
eventually be forgotten just as we have forgotten the names of
those who bated bears. In general, we favour those who add
beauty and protection to our society, not those who kill and maim.
Especially for fun.
  When the Conservative government under Benjamin Disraeli
took it upon itself to deny the greater public access to public
executions in May 1869, a great sense of ill feeling and resentment
was generated. Partly, no doubt for the revenue the, ‘hanging days’
generated (because of the sensational amount of crowds generated)
but the need to satisfy an ancient bloodlust was, we can have no
doubt about it, also a mighty factor.
  However, how many today clamour for the, ‘good old days’
when up to 20,000 people could witness, even children gasping for
their last breath as they pointlessly struggled and fought to live
whilst roped and blindfolded? Very few I would imagine. At least
here in the UK.
  The youngest children ever hung in Britain were Michael
Hammond and his sister, Ann, whose ages were given as seven
and eleven respectively. They were hanged at Kings Lynn on 28
September 1708 for theft.
  The corruptible mentality continues today of course bolstered up
by reality shows where crowds abuse solitary ‘victims’, but the
desire for real bloodshed is not entirely diminished. There are
companies and individuals, acting irresponsibly, and most
probably illegally, who make money selling films of death scenes.
Beheadings, shootings and hangings appeal to the barbaric just as
much today as they have in the past. When a certain African
government recently advertised for an executioner, over 200 people
applied, some from the UK, and some were women. Naturally,
whatever is good enough for men is certainly good enough for
animals. Cockfighting in Cumberland is still known to exist. (2007)
  At the beginning of this book I wrote that I would not be
mentioning any or all of the evil acts in which human beings take
part, but here I will make an exception; Live quail shooting. For
sheer barbarity, unpleasantness and repugnant value, this is hard
to beat. This inclusion is taken from FAACE, a UK based
organisation, that campaigns to stop the torture and death of
animals for entertainment. We should not be surprised that the
report originates from Spain.
  This practise involves factory-bred quail chicks that are used as
clay pigeons. This type of activity, known as Tirada de Cordoniz,
takes place regularly.
  Eighteen crates, each containing thirty quail chicks, are removed
from broiler sheds and taken to a purpose built arena.
  The ‘tournament’ is open to anyone prepared to pay twelve
Euros or about 15 US dollars, to shoot at ten birds.
  The birds are stuffed alive into the barrel of an adapted clay
pigeon launcher, and blasted into the air. Some chicks are shattered
as they leave the spring-loaded launcher. Those that managed to
survive, flail helplessly in the sky before being shot down by large
calibre shotguns.
  Some tiny birds are always still alive after this barrage and lay
fluttering. A few hop through the bodies of their companions
trying to escape. The netting around the area that allows no exit
frustrates their desperate attempts to escape. Yet as they walk,
more shot rips their bodies to shreds. These escapees are the
subjects of much laughter and joking. The pace is non-stop. At the
end of the massacre a few hundred bodies lie scattered like little
grey stones across the killing arena. A prize giving is held, with
plastic trophies plus Euros awarded to the shooter with the highest
tally of hits. Afterwards amidst the picking up of beer cans and
general tidying, the bodies are scooped up by various men and
flung into boxes and carrier bags to be taken off and eaten.
  Any survivor hidden behind the bodies of its companions or
tucked away in a corner are stamped on or flung into the bags to
suffocate amongst the corpses.

   However, to return to the fundamentals of people enjoying
people and animals in pain. The human race being so diverse, will
always toss up an atavist of course, and we can only hope that
these ‘throw-backs’ will eventually be caught, and properly
punished by their own misdirected passion.
   However, we can rest assured that for many, this curious need to
see people tortured and killed has now buried itself deeply into
our collective unconsciousness even though many harmless people
still find it a fascinating subject. We are surely at fault when we
assume we are the only form of life, which can be aware of our
own mortality.
   As we become aware of the news today and witness the now
powerless hoards of ‘red-coated devils’ still attempting to ride to
hounds, with the aim of extinguishing the life of one small red-
coated creature in the most repellent fashion, it is with a profound
sense of relief we realise that the general public's memory and
desire of those events will eventually erase and extinguish
themselves as I have mentioned as much as it has for the above
listed blood sports and public executions.
   As mentioned, the populace has rather a short memory as long as
there is another simple diversion to be enjoyed just around the
corner.
   But I am no ‘creature cuddlier’. I derive no emotional fulfilment
in the friendship or companionship of animals of any description.
Nevertheless, everything lives at the expense of other creatures. In
Chief Seattle's words: ‘What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts
were gone, men would die from a great loneliness of spirit. For whatever
happens to the beasts soon happens to man. All things are connected’.
  Even our own decay is brought about by other organisms. We
must be honest. Our race is still immature. Intellectually, we sit
atop of an irrepressible, evolutionary, dynamic pyramid of life.
Each competing for the next meal. It is only right and proper that
the most specialised succeed and develop. There is a Zen to the
process, and of course there is no doubt that human beings, with
our intelligence and advanced sense of self consciousness, are more
than equipped to succeed than any other animal. Social or solitary.
  However, we will not arrive to where we are supposed to go in
evolutionary terms unless we give up our past. And here we
immediately arrive at an impasse, for how can we rise above our
animal ancestry while we still need them?
  I believe that is a good question.
                                  TWO

  The use and misuse of animals since we evolved and stood
upright has developed by way of a clearly defined path. The first
nexus was food. In the beginning our societies were composed of
hunter-gatherers. In anthropological terms, a predominant method
of subsistence involves the eating of edible plants and animals as
nature supplied them using foraging and hunting. At that time
there was no recourse to either agriculture or domestication.
  The second link is agriculture. Which began in the Neolithic
period, about 12,000 years ago, and continues up to the present,
clearly demonstrating our ability to manipulate the greater world
around us. No doubt, this on-going process will continue with
ever-greater intensity although recently (geologically speaking),
nature is offering us signals, clearly in the form of global warning,
that what we are doing, and the inclinations we are following are
perhaps not the best of directions.
  The line between agricultural and hunter-gatherer societies was
never clear. Many hunter-gatherers used to consciously manipulate
the landscape through cutting or burning undesirable plants while
encouraging desirable ones, some even creating an improved
habitat for game animals. Some tribal agriculturalists even
nowadays also hunt and gather, extending their farming during
the frost-free season and hunting during the winter.
  As our societies became agrarian, dense and ever more
sophisticated, it is not difficult at all to understand, with the ever
present threat of invasion and death from unknown peoples, why
clans and tribes formed.
  The first display of cruelty with malice against an animal is
unrecorded, the first deliberate infliction of pain and suffering
without nourishment.
  Perhaps it was simple use of association; a death for a death,
performed in some antediluvian rite. Alternatively, perhaps it was
an extension of the same reason domesticated cats torment any
prey they manage to catch; to hone and perfect the necessary
killing skills. I find it telling though that nowadays, in our Western,
high-tech and commercial world, that the ancient bloodlust still
exists. This inner need to kill living creatures just for the merriment
of it. In this way, we are certainly different to the rest of the animal
kingdom. We do not eat foxes. Not any more anyway. Killing foxes
with hounds is really a form of premeditated prevention...with joy.
  Clans became tribes and tribes became empires. Killing, the
actual extinguishing of the mysterious entity called life, was
exercised by royalty to impress and keep order and power. The
more he (or she) held the power of life and death, the more potent
and Herculean they seemed to be. One only has to read about the
use of animals in the Roman arenas as an infamous, objectionable
and hideous example.
  The Roman Emperor Trajan gave one set of games that lasted 122
days during which eleven thousand people and ten thousand
animals were killed. Titus had five thousand wild animals and four
thousand domestic animals killed during his one hundred day
show to celebrate the opening of the Coliseum for instance. I
cannot begin to imagine how those ancient people dealt with the
amount of blood that was spilled. They must have been wading
through it.
  In 249 A.D., Philip celebrated the one thousandth anniversary of
the founding of Rome by organising games in which the following
were killed: one thousand pairs of gladiators, thirty-two elephants,
ten tigers, sixty lions, thirty leopards, ten hyenas, ten giraffes,
twenty wild asses, forty wild horses, ten zebras, six hippos and one
rhino.
  The organisation these men needed to find and catch these exotic,
unpredictable and dangerous animals, and then to convey them
back to their homelands must have been colossal. How much the
lives of everyone could have been changed if the same amount of
attention and energy had been paid to improving human life.
However, none of those societies at the time were ready for that
direction. Thank goodness that we are now.
  May I direct you back to the quote at the beginning of chapter
one? I do not consider these organisations, societies and
governments civilised. (I refuse to dignify them with the word
civilisation) That word implies a quality of excellence in thought,
manners and taste. Mayan and Egyptian social groups were equal
in barbarism in the ancient world as much as Nazis. It must be
remembered that all of them dealt in human slavery.
  Let us not get caught up in their positive achievements like being
able to build large structures and long straight roads. These people
were cruel and barbaric, and life for almost everyone was hard and
short.
  I regret the romanticism reserved for these uncivilised and
unsophisticated cultures. I make no apologies for finding people
more important than buildings, roads, democracy, laws or science.
It is one of our unfortunate truths though that we have had to
travel through those barbaric stages in order to reach where we are
now, and over the long term, allowing for hiccups in behaviour,
the future can only hold better consequences for us all. And that
includes our relationship with the rest of the animal kingdom.
  Our main difficulty will be learning to remain part of nature, but
at the same time realising that we are quite different and separate.
At the moment though, man's personal continuing domination
over the natural world has changed little since the wickedness of
those earlier savage and brutal times.
  For although jurisprudence has changed a great deal, in the
hearts and minds of many uncultured people, little has
unfortunately changed. If we log on to the Web and type a few
chosen words into a search engine, within seconds, we will be
treated to the foulest of stories concerning the ill treatment of every
living thing. The only animal, which escapes this human terror, is
the one we have not yet discovered.
  As mentioned, it is clear that many humans are still involved in
behaviours that are unsettling, disturbing and occasionally even
horrific. I would be the first to admit that eliminating these grossly
offensive acts to decency or morality may take several hundred
years. If not thousands. So what I am proposing may seem
impossible.
                            THREE

  I delight in the simplicity of what I see. From my kitchen window
I never tire of how astonished I feel as grass grows back again and
again after our communal gardener spends an hour mowing it. No
matter how many times he cuts it, year in and year out, back it
grows with a never-ending regularity. I am witness to a struggle
for something to continue itself. No different in that regard to us.
What a gift.
  As I mentioned before, that really is the Zen of things. Life is an
unvarying struggle. So although it may seem that I am trashing
people for their destructive and upsetting habits, if we take an
overview of any situation, there can be no blame, no incrimination,
no fault-finding. People do what they do. If we stepped back far
enough, everything would appear normal.
  However, who among us can act with such nobility? Perhaps the
guru who has spent forty years isolated from the majority of the
population? Or the priest or nun who has dedicated his or her life
to God and good works?
  Many of us, given the time, might realise that there is probably a
higher ‘stage or setting’ to the one we are currently enjoying...or
not enjoying. I currently believe as well that a universal
heightening of the human spirit would not do us any harm at all.
  I do claim though that animals are equal in status to humans. It is
my prerogative to believe that. I do not make the statement
because I believe animals to be equal in everything, and that
includes the high level of consciousness we enjoy of course. I do
not believe they are of equal intelligence either in as much as I
know we are not equal in speed and strength of some of them. All
living things have value and achievements over other things. I state
the obvious of course, but I do so with an aim of clarifying my
position so that what follows will not be taken out of context.
  What I am convinced of also has nothing to do with what is
outside of my thoughts either. Many of us are meat-eaters. We are
part of the whole, the struggle, and most have no problem in
defining our roles in the greater scheme of things.
  The way the world performs, it is the strong that seeks to destroy,
consume, devour and control the weak. And there is nothing
inherently wrong in that. That's the way this place has developed.
  Many humans though have made the conscious decision to
bypass those impulses and understand that plants are all we need
to supply all our nutritional needs, and I say, good for them, those
‘veggies’. Perhaps I will be able to achieve such complete and
wholehearted fidelity one day, for, without doubt, and as 'Zen' as
the our world is, the actual event of killing a living creature for
nourishment can only be a noxious process. To end any life is
crushing and sorrowful.
  And one that many continue to believe, belongs to those of a
certain social class in as much as, to use an up-to-date metaphor,
smokers and users of drugs and alcohol belong to another. As
criminals do to another. Moreover, on that note; I may mention the
following statistics.
  Cruelty through farming. An estimated three million piglets, two
million lambs and a million calves die unnecessarily each year. On
farms therefore, about 16,000 large animals die unnecessarily each
day.
  Does this brief dip into animal hell take us away from bullying? I
believe not. Perhaps some dictionary descriptions may assist us.

 Pet: An animal kept for companionship or amusement.

 Zoo: A facility where wild animals are housed for exhibition and
amusement.

 Bullying: To discourage or frighten with threats of a domineering
manner. To intimidate. The act of intimidating a weaker person to
make them do something. To control. To dominate.

  Italics are mine. Our source here connotes that we cannot bully,
control, dominate or intimidate an animal. This, many would take
umbrage to, and is clearly incorrect. Bullying and controlling is the
same whether applied to a human or an animal because it
originates and stays within the mind of the bully. To quote from, A
Course In Miracles, ‘thoughts do not travel from their source’.
  All relationships between human and domesticated and wild
animals are based on power, control and domination. There will be
no prizes for guessing which way the entropy flows. Or for
perhaps my next collection of targets as my moral compass
expands. Truly though, in the panorama of human activities, what
we do with the status of our earthy companions is hardly bearable
to think about. I arrive now at the detestable subject of pets.
  It cannot be denied of course that many of us think a great deal of
our domesticated animals, and probably all would disagree with
the opinion that they control, dominate, restrain, command, curb
and moderate. As they do with their human children if they are
decent parents.
  But the plain fact is, concerning animals that have been bred by
us for thousands of years like dogs and cats, controlling and
training occupy a greater part of our relationship with them in
order that they do and act, exactly what and how we wish them to
act.
  We use the lead, the yell, the smack, the jerk and the use of food
to train and enforce our dominance over them. We organise their
short lives, we train them when to urinate and defecate, we
coordinate their exercise and feeding times, we stipulate their
comfort and punishment and eventually, if they live long enough,
we order and arrange their deaths.
  This domestication has been speculated about for many years. It
was thought until very recently that dogs were wild until about
13,000 years ago. But DNA analysis by molecular dating methods
published recently suggests a date of about 130,000 years ago for
the transformation of wolves to dogs may well be a truer date.
  This means that wolves began to adapt to human societies long
before humans settled down and began practicing agriculture. This
speculation also casts doubts on the excepted thought that humans
domesticated dogs to serve as companions. Rather, it is now
thought by some, that dogs may have exploited a niche they
discovered in early human society, and got humans to look after
them. However...
  Now we have humanised them. We make coats for them. We use
them as toys. We tag them. We enter them into competitions. We
put them on leads. We name them. We use them. Is that
honourable?
  Here is an important question over which we can ponder. Can
that same state of mind, which demeans animals lead to quality behaviour
and improved relations between ourselves? Removing our dependence
on animals that have been bred for domestic purposes would be an
excellent place to begin the process of clearing up issues we have
with each other. To those who do not fully understand this
connection; control and bullying is control and bullying whatever
way we look at it. The same mind that shouts or injures an animal
is equally capable of shouting or injuring a human because the
threat occurs from within the bully.
  The time has come to amplify on the catalyst that was mentioned
in the preface. The activator of this book. I have a dear friend who
has such a high regard for life that it is with the greatest difficulty
that I can write anything derogatory about him. But let me begin
noting his positive qualities. He is a vegan. He is magnanimous. He
is one of life's greatest givers. He is, I used to clearly announce to
other friends who had never been fortunate enough to meet him,
that he was the closest thing to God on legs that I have ever been
fortunate enough to know.
  But, through time, moving homes and circumstances of family
bereavement on both sides, we lost contact for a full five years. My
destiny was travelling off in its own usual wayward way but we,
by a happy happenstance, met once again as perhaps I always
thought we might. However, during those long years my own
perception had increased and distended itself until where,
unfortunately, one evening at dinner, instead of enjoying my
friend's company and his wisdom, all I could do was watch in
wide-eyed astonishment at how he treated his dog.
  If it moved from its position on the floor, it was, ‘down dog’. If it
even slightly whimpered that it wanted to go out, it was ‘No dog.
Later’. There was no doubt that my friend cared a great deal about
this animal, but it was quite frankly, rather sickening how much
control he exercised over it in the false name of love. Much as
another friend of mine had her cats spayed or neutered. For those
who do not keep animals, that means removing their reproductive
organs, and male dogs and cats are neutered by removing their
testicles. As a badge of authority and a demonstration of almost
ultimate bullying, how could we improve on that?
  Therefore, that was the specific circumstance that initiated this
book. That was the event that took a series of disconnected and
haphazard thoughts and turned it into what it is becoming.
Perhaps my friend was more spiritually advanced than I thought.
 Here are some special thoughts from The Humane Society of the
United States. My comments are in italics and bold.

  1 Spaying and neutering helps dogs and cats live longer,
healthier lives. Why do humans wish to improve on the creator's
handiwork? This is nothing but an exhibition of gross arrogance
and pride on the part of the demented and diffident.

  2. Spaying and neutering can eliminate or reduce the incidence of
a number of health problems that can be very difficult or expensive
to treat. If you loved something enough, like a child, it would not
be thought of as expensive or difficult.

  3. Spaying eliminates the possibility of uterine or ovarian cancer
and greatly reduces the incidence of breast cancer, particularly
when your pet is spayed before her first estrous cycle. Why do
humans feel the need to transform the experiences of another life
form? If they cared that much for animals then why are the
population levels of hundreds of thousands of species not
classified as pets heading dangerously for extinction? Human
beings are currently causing the greatest mass extinction of species
since the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. If present
trends continue one half of all species of life on earth will be extinct
in less than 100 years as a result of habitat destruction, pollution,
and climate change.

  4. Neutering eliminates testicular cancer and decreases the
incidence of prostate disease. As above but hey! Why not neuter
men after a certain age if that is such a wonderful and efficient way
of controlling certain types of cancer. If it's good enough for
animals...

  5. Spaying or Neutering Is Good for You. An animal then is a
product, a machine, a plaything, nothing more. An item humans
can order, alter and then dispose of when their usefulness has run
its course.
  6. Spaying and neutering makes pets better, more affectionate
companions. Better? What does that mean in relation to the
animal? Again, modifying a living thing to please an under-
developed ego.

  7. Neutering cats makes them less likely to spray and mark
territory. Why should any human soul wish to stop another life
form from doing that which it is designed to do?

  10. Spaying a dog or cat eliminates her heat cycle. Estrus lasts an
average of six to 12 days, often twice a year, in dogs, and an
average of six to seven days, three or more times a year, in cats.
Females in heat can cry incessantly, show nervous behaviour, and
attract unwanted male animals. As above.

  11. Unsterilised animals often exhibit more behaviour and
temperament problems than do those who have been spayed or
neutered. As above. 'Let us control nature as much as possible
because we think we know best'.

  12. Spaying and neutering can make pets less likely to bite. As
above.

 13. Spaying and neutering makes pets less likely to roam the
neighbourhood, run away, or fight. As above.

  14. Spaying, neutering and pampering are good for the
Community. It provides jobs and an income for vets and ‘pet
parlours’. As usual, we find this is not about pets; it is about the
humans under which they are forced to live. And another
exploitation of yet another resource.

  15. Communities spend millions of dollars to control unwanted
animals. As above.

  16. Irresponsible breeding contributes to the problem of dog bites
and attacks. As above.

  17. Animal shelters are overburdened with surplus animals. As
above.
  18. Stray pets and homeless animals get into trash containers,
defecate in public areas or on private lawns, and frighten or anger
people who have no understanding of their misery or needs. As
above.

 19. Some stray animals also scare away or kill birds and wildlife.
As above.

   You will notice that there are plenty of references to 'as above'.
This is because the arguments for keeping wild animals as pets are
extremely limited. Yes, wild animals. By the way, as an aside,
should you wish to see what is under the very thin psyche or
‘personality’ of any domesticated animal then simply stop feeding
it. Then you will see how much it, ‘loves’ you.
   Moving away from the Zen position, because very few of us are
capable of spending forty minutes on our own let alone forty years,
the idea is negative, and therefore harmful.
   To those who think I am brainsick and dangerous, I offer the
following. Humans who keep pets for amusement and
companionship enjoy the same mind-set that is changing our
planet. They do not occupy themselves with the same actions of
course, but it falls within the same sphere of activity.
   Which is, believing that the earth is our playground, and that the
life forms which occupy this space with us should be dominated
and controlled. Spayed and neutered. Yes, I feel I am nailing my
colours to the mast now. Quite the actions of the insane. I will
agree that I am dangerous though. People who care normally are.
   Continuing.
   Naturally I would not be doing my literary duty if I did not
mention the unnatural practice of beautifying dogs. I almost
become lost for words on this subject, for I find the process
sickening, distasteful, revolting, repugnant and so utterly
unnatural. There are unfortunately more products available in the
marketplace than there are synonyms to describe them and what
they are for.
   There are products to bush their teeth, pyjamas, coats, collars,
leads, dark glasses, designer shades(!), tags, non-slip dog food
mats, lifejackets, weekender travel bags, snowsuits, dog ramps,
thermal dog cushions, a dog sitters handbook, an ultrasonic pet
trainer, bean beds, duvets, throws and blankets, mats and other
bedding, rigid dog beds, soft dog beds, vetbeds, flecta beds...
  And for cats...no, I won't subject you to it. Humans make money
from animals. Humans make money from the care of animals.
Humans make money from the exploitation of animals. Humans
make money providing food for animals. For getting rid of their
waste. For naming them. For curing them. For killing them. For
burying them.
  Animals who are loved are profitable financially for business, or
for emotional reasons by the person who thinks they are in control
of them. Those that are not are quickly disposed. Those that
become unmanageable are disposed not so discreetly. Those who
do not live up to our expectations, whatever they may be, perhaps
not cute/bouncy/colourful/big/small et cetera, et cetera are
disposed.
  Canis lupus familiaris, the common dog, we have made into
particularly pathetic creatures. Like humans, they are highly social
animals, and this similarity in their overall behavioural pattern
accounts for their trainability, playfulness, and ability to fit into
human households and social situations. This similarity has earned
dogs a unique position in the realm of interspecies relationships.
The loyalty and devotion that dogs demonstrate as part of their
natural instincts as pack animals closely mimics the human idea of
love, leading many dog owners to view these animals as full
fledged family members. Engendered, we bred them for control,
size and temperament.
  The evolution of the dog is certainly interesting, and we can trace
their ancestry back to a five-toed, weasel like animal called Miacis,
which lived in the Eocene epoch about 40 million years ago. This
animal was the forebear of the cat, raccoon, bear, hyena, and civet,
as well as of the wolf, fox, jackal, and dog. From Miacis, next in the
evolutionary line was an Oligocene animal called Cynodictis,
which somewhat resembled the modern dog. Cynodictis lived
about 20 million years ago. Next in line was the extremely doglike
animal called Tomarctus, which lived about 10 million years ago
during the late Miocene epoch. Tomarctus probably developed the
strong social instincts that still prevail in the dog and most of its
close relatives. Members of the genus Canis, which includes the
dog, wolf, and jackal developed into their present form about a
million years ago during the Pleistocene epoch.
  But then their natural world combined with ours, and they were
given names, taught to be obedient and do tricks. Nowadays they
are dressed, dyed, groomed, pampered and massaged. We insult
their sacred wildness and credibleness by dressing them up in the
mannerisms of humans and photographing them in idiotic poses
for greeting cards.
  And it is important to remember the anal sacs. What are anal
sacs? They are two small glands just inside a dog or a cat's anus.
The material secreted into these glands is thick and foul smelling.
Most animals can empty these glands voluntarily for scent marking
or in self defence (as a skunk does). However, domestic animals
have largely lost their ability to empty these sacs voluntarily.
Walking around and normal defecation serves to empty the glands,
but some animals become unable to empty their glands on their
own at all. The sacs become impacted and uncomfortable. Dogs
with impacted anal sacs usually scoot their rear on the ground in
an attempt to empty the glands. Some dogs will lick their anal area
and other dogs will chase their tails. Cats often lick the fur off just
under their tails.
  I am certainly not against some of the symbiotic relationships
that have evolved between men and beasts such as police, search
and rescue and other forms of sniffer dogs. Their extraordinary
sense of smell is unique, and we do not have to technology to
mimic these. Other creatures manipulate animals, therefore I do
not have any difficulty with this concept. However, I do have more
to say about this point later.
  Sheep dogs and Seeing Eye dogs too have their place, and I
understand there are dogs who are so sensitive that they can
foretell when a person is going to have a seizure, an epileptic fit or
when their blood sugar levels are low. Until we gain the
knowledge of how to achieve this with the same degree of
sophistication, again, I see no problem in learning to live in
harmony with these animals.
  Other animals, even the lowly ant, has learned to live in
propinquity with aphids whose abdomen they stroke to release a
sweet liquid called honeydew. Some ants even move aphid
nymphs to new plants, and into their own nests during bad
weather, and they assiduously guard their aphid cows from their
natural enemies.
  There are examples of animals of different species living in
beneficial relationships to each other all over the planet from the
great plains of Africa to deep in the sea so I have no dilemma with
this situation; animals which live in harmony with each other for
mutual purposes. However, that is not what the substance of this
book is about.
  I believe it is important to ask why humans choose to create
children (as opposed to animals who are driven by blind instinct
over which they have no control)
  Do we do it for the child's sake? When we make love? To give an
unknown and, at the time, a non-entity, a life? Or is it for
hedonistic means? Or for reasons other than true altruism? Do we
do it to please others? For our own future's security? To show our
peers how potent we are? For companionship or amusement? To
ease the pain of aloneness, of solitude?
  All or many reasons for which most people do not have a
problem. However, I mention this because I am concerned over the
question of destiny. A person, too bonded with their mother or
father, to the extent of not being able to leave the nest, is truly a
stunted person. They are on a leash just as real as any captive dog
or emasculated cat. And imprisoned like any caged bird.
  We may well ask at this point where does our natural sense of
compassion and curiosity come into play? The answer to that
question may be complicated for some. Children are naturally
curious and learn quickly that they can destroy what they do not
like. But can we allow a child's perception to dictate how we make
choices once we have developed into maturity?
  And who among us can pass by the wounded, the flailing and
the dying animal without compassion of a sort arising in us?
Certainly, to heal an animal is to take charge of it, to confine it.
Because we know what is in its best interests.
  No one end of the vast spectrum of human understanding works
completely well in this discussion. Becoming sensitive to the
inherent value of an animal in terms of its existence and balancing
that ideal with our natural ability to interfere, needs constant
readjustment with emphasis given over to the welfare of whatever
we are attempting to help. I myself would advise an approach with
no hard edges. What is commonly being referred to as the middle
way.
  A way to satisfy our unique sense of compassion yet a way in
which the contentment of the creature is untouched. It is not an
easy road, but not taking it means we, collectively will eventually
have to pay the price.
                               FOUR

  This is a book of stages, and we have arrived at an age of
compassion for animals. Before two to three hundred years ago it
may have been given some thought, but the subject would never
have been written about. Animals were regarded as dumb
creatures that served mankind just as human slaves were regarded
as necessary to serve those that ‘owned’ them. Animals never went
to heaven. They didn't have a soul. They never felt pain and if they
did, well, it was just an animal. Any expressed thoughts of equality
or rights for them would surely have been greeted with a huge
round of great merriment, and the speaker probably would have
been regarded as a simple-minded idiot and probably put in the
stocks, themselves to be made the subject of sadistic entertainment.
  Human societies in the past without exception were cruel and
barbaric. Most still are in one form or another. Then came
legislation in all its many forms and now, today, for the majority of
us at least, any of the activities mentioned earlier such as dog and
cock fighting, bear baiting and killing large game for pleasure (I
cannot and will not dignify the activity with the word sport) have
become abhorrent to many of us. That some activities like dog
fighting still occurs in parts of the world, even in so called civilised
countries like the USA, in the twenty first century is an indication
of how deep this self-conditioning behaviour runs. (We have
perhaps 130,000 years of conditioning to overcome)
  Of course there will always be those feeble-minded, and it has to
be offered up for conjecture, possible psychotic to a degree, weak
and helpless individuals, mostly, it needs to be mentioned, middle-
aged men who will always feel the need to justify their frail and
powerless personalities by killing those less able to defend
themselves be it a tiger, an elephant or even a cold-water fish. We
have all met these singular people. Remember them from the
playground of our youths? Or from the last car journey you took?
  However, just as much as what we consider to be satisfactory
and endorse today, will, in all likelihood be put to a moral test
tomorrow. An activity like fox hunting, of which many people in
the early part of the twentieth century approved, one hundred
years later has now been rejected and disapproved of by millions.
Enough to force the government of the time to act.
   Perhaps in another one hundred years time, fishing for pleasure
will be as regarded with the same amount of repulsion as we now
view bear baiting. Imagine that. Perhaps, dog and horse racing will
also be banned, at last, out of sheer cruelty. Although I myself
think it may take more than that amount of time for that to happen
given that our own Royal family is so enwrapped in the divinity of
it.
   But make no mistake, their world of cruelty, control and
domination is becoming ever smaller, and this many recognise.
Acting themselves like cornered and fearful animals, their time will
eventually run out as decency and a better face of humanity
emerges and prevails.
   However, back in the present, let me tell you that horses
regularly die at race meetings and despite the 1911 Protection of
Animals Act, a statute that is intended to protect animals from
‘unnecessary suffering’, little is done and these beautiful creature’s
necks, backs and legs are broken and damaged whenever racing
takes place. Heart attacks are not uncommon. The amount of
suffering that happens in the equine business is prodigious,
horrifying and by any recognisable and moral standard, should be
offensive to any human holding any kind of compassion in their
soul. The amount of money changing hands in the entire equine
business is disheartening and flagrantly depressing.
   To those who argue that little Sally's ride on her pony at the
weekend does no harm, I ask them to remember that by supporting
her hobby, besides sending an abundant amount of clear messages
to the child of the type I have mentioned many times over in this
writing, the owners, the stables and everyone involved in the
infrastructure of keeping the animals for pleasure and profit are
linked to the wider world of the professional horse trainer, whose
activities and involvement in races do kill so many wonderful and
beautiful animals. Nothing we do is in isolation.
   The same kind of argument prevails whether the discussion is
about illegal drugs or media piracy. Purchasing an illegal DVD at
the local market may seem a harmless enough thing to do, but
somewhere down the line, that person has just supported slavery
and prostitution somewhere in the world.
  Every year some 375 horses are raced to death in Britain. Some
thirty percent of these fatalities occur during or immediately after a
race, and result from broken legs, necks or pelvis’. Deaths also
result from fatal spinal injuries, exhaustion, heart attacks or burst
blood vessels. Other victims perish from training injuries, or are
killed after being assessed by their owners as counterproductive
and expendable. No fewer than thirty horses have perished at the
three-day Grand National meeting since 1997. (Information
received 2006) They became casualties from the usual broken
necks, backs, legs, shoulder blades and from being deliberately put
to death, ‘out of compassion’.
  Quite apart from this lamentable and horrid state of affairs, this
wretched issue, of using horses as beasts of burden, takes on new
meaning for me every time I see a horse and rider, perhaps on a
Sunday afternoon. Occasionally I stop and stare almost not quite
believing what I am witnessing. For I become aware of two things.
Firstly, the poor captured horse, saddled, the metal bit
uncomfortably in its mouth and artificially shod, its spine under
pressure from the weight of the rider and its inability to flee, to
peregrinate where it wishes to go, and secondly the
unconsciousness and self delusion of the lazy creature who sits
atop of it.
  I have no doubt that many riders ‘love’ their charges, and care for
them perhaps even more than they might members of their own
race, but that is hardly the point. The fundamental issue is, no one
has asked the horse if it wants its spine deliberately bent out of
shape by baring a load nature did not design it to take.
  We understand we obviously cannot ask the poor thing, and that
should become our starting point; for beginning to understand
ourselves in a more complete and wholesome manner. We have no
need to ride horses nowadays. Not in the Western world. Other
means of locomotion have become available. We no longer need
oxen to pull the plough or horses to pull carts. The horseless
carriage was invented over a hundred years ago.
  Recently I heard these words from a BBC television program
called Countryfile; ‘The countryside is very important to
people...and to animals as well of course’ What a perfect
indictment as to the way that presenter thought.
  It has to be remembered that everything we do in connection
with animals is a perfect record of how we sit with ourselves.
Naturally it is impossible to advance the quality of our living
conditions without disturbing the environment. Like any other
animal, we are rivals for food and shelter. However, the moment
we begin to cultivate soil, remove trees, divert lakes etc, we remove
ourselves from the ‘natural’ system. Altering the ecosystem,
making it difficult for other creatures does seem to be a habit of
ours but one, it seems and from which I hope, we will eventually
pass through as I touch upon later.
  Regarding organisations and companies, of particular abhorrence
is, The National Trust who describe their work as ‘encompassing
an array of sectors, ranging from the conservation of wildlife and
geological features to the strengthening of rural economies to
enable sustainable agricultural development’. They claim they are
committed to influencing the management of the whole
environment. Maintenance and repair? Since when did a flower or
a tree need repairing? Forests, woods, fens, beaches, downs,
moorland...the list of natural situations as well as animals that it
wishes to control are endless.
  However, the conclusion that animals have certain innate rights
and are entitled to a kind of moral consideration is resentfully
becoming a sound and workable idea. At least in the more
advanced countries which do not rely on animals to do physical
work so much.
  Crass and ignorant biblical statements that the animal world, like
the rest of creation, were made for the use of man have not helped,
and it will almost be an act of divinity when all religions and the
noose they hold over the animal kingdom comes to an end as it
surely will for reasons best left to the next chapter.
                                   FIVE

  Animals rarely have a choice to be with us. That is the main
thrust of my argument against ‘animal lovers’. So my first point is
for animals. My second deterrence is that by treating these
creatures as we do, our disagreeable behaviour migrates and
bleeds into our relations with each other. That logic is assured.
  The same innate brain which names a dog, or becomes irritated
with a dog is exactly the same brain that affects the way we treat
each other. Ultimately, as well as the animal, it is ourselves who are
harmed. Using animals is yet another way to keep us spiritually
depressed.
  In a perfect world we would all be vegetarians, but let us not
examine that issue here. There would be no point. Enough volumes
are published each month on the benefits of the discipline, and I
am not qualified to voice my opinion on the subject.
  However, I do object to many of the major animal industries,
including those of hunting, whaling, and factory farming. Humans
are part of a food chain but that does not exclude us from using
and making decisions which might ease the suffering of those
species we decide to eat.
  As an aside, I do not understand this aspect of life for it makes no
sense. Nature created us, and we reciprocate by altering and even
destroying the very thing which gave rise to us. It seems as if
nature is self-destructive doesn't it? Why would it do that? Our
own intelligence may well turn out to be our greatest enemy.
  I am not one of those tree-hugging, lyrical, new age personalities
who feed vegetables to their ‘pets’. Some animals are naturally
carnivorous, and it is right and proper that they eat meat. I offer
information. That is my job. Your conscience, your body, is your
own responsibility.
  What of the future then? How can we overcome 130,000 years of
conditioning? How can we stop breeding animals for profit and
pleasure? How can we learn to live without domesticated animals?
When will we be able to say that the only birds we can hear are
wild ones, not stuttering little creatures trapped in cages?
  What will we do with those already domesticated? Those
descendants of the grey wolf, Canis lupus for instance?
Deliberately kill them? I hope not. The extinction of canis familiaris
and feline might just signify our own release though. After an
exhaustive commendation of the domestic dog, part of the
Aberdeen Bestiary, written and illuminated in England around
1200 (Folio 18r) reads, ‘Finally, their nature is that they cannot exist
without man’(!) (My exclamation mark) However did they exist
and manage before we arrived on the scene? What foolish
gobbledygook!
  When will we be content to look and admire fish without feeling
the need to yank a hook though their mouths and smother them
with air? Or keep them as decorations in artificial circumstances? I
include garden ponds. When will the minority amongst us have
the capacity to take a camera on safari instead of a shotgun?
  When will the truly evil process of taxidermy cease? Of
deliberately killing an animal simply to mount and display it?
Another example of the feeble-minded and dogmatic personalities
which walk among us. A luminous display of dominance over an
animal. A clear example of the division that exists between these
abnormalities and the rest of the animal kingdom. Sadness here, for
me, is that I am forced the share oxygen with these throwbacks.
  When will our leaders, our royalty, our government
spokespersons, begin to show real and honest respect for
themselves by refusing to take part in blood sports? When will we
stop raising horses and dogs for their racing prowess? Or pigeons
for racing? Or hunting dogs? Or small pitiable creatures forever
locked away in a laboratory, its only destiny, a needle.
  It will not take 130,000 years. Of that I am sure for the pace of our
societies are accelerating. Information is flowing freely throughout
much of the developed world. One can only hope that China's
government, the Communist state will soon collapse and that will
be 1,313,973,713 (July 2006 est.) persons gaining their freedom.
  Which will lead eventually, hopefully to an increase of personal
respect that in turn, might be transferred to the way Chinese
people treat animals. Without a doubt, the Chinese treat the animal
kingdom with a cruelty that easily eclipses anything we in the UK
have done over the last 1,000 years. And its record of human rights
is not at all good either. Read any information about what
happened when they invaded Tibet.
  Videos of cruelty to domesticated cats and dogs for their meat,
their skins, and their fur have been appearing now with some
frequency and at the present time, things are not getting any better.
  The Chinese penchant for obscure materials like the testicles of
certain animals or horns, taken into their body with the
superstitious belief that the substances, or their quiddity will in
some way heal or enhance them is not only revolting to many, but
primitive and unsubstantial.
  China is not the only culprit of course. There is probably not a
country in existence, which does not contain a measure of this
problem. The dilemma is not only monstrous, but wickedly huge.
And with six billion people involved, it appears to be a situation
that might be with us for as long as we are around.
  But I do not think so.
  I have no great affinity for or with animals. I simply accept them
as part of this world, as much as I do plants or ourselves. If I were
forced into a position, I would choose a human life over an animal
because I am more closely affiliated with humans. They are my
species. I very much doubt that a rat feels much about a rabbit.
  I admit to feeling a little confused over the time spent regarding
animals, especially those we still allow to roam in the wild. My
own personal preference here is marked; whenever I have watched
a wildlife program, I have to admit, all I ever see them do is kill, eat
and mate. And that does not stimulate me at all. Yes, I marvel at
the sheer diversity of it all, but in the long term, I do prefer
creativity to copulation and too much of the latter will soon send
me to the remote. For although, undoubtedly, to a physical degree,
we share many traits and circumstances with the animal kingdom,
our higher consciousness should surely naturally gravitate towards
the care and love of our own.
  I unfortunately, know too many ‘pet’ owners who love and think
more of their animals than they do other human beings. Am I alone
in thinking that this practice is unhealthy and, in an odd way, even
macabre?
  Almost, I think, as spooky as yet another variant and modern
form of bullying. One I believe we have to truly guard ourselves
against before it becomes integrated into our personality. The
practice of self-bullying. Which would include putting ourselves
into positions where we openly allow people to bully us. The
proliferation of reality TV shows, shows us the way here.
  But to return to macabre behaviour. To include my own in fact.
To underpin my opening promise, I understand that my attempt to
change the way we are is as fruitless as an ant trying to push an
elephant uphill. In fact, several dozen elephants on a largish cart.
Make that several hundred carts. However, perhaps I should not
be surprised. Those people who indulge in loving animals more
than people of their own species are bound to behave in some
extraordinary ways. How can they not?
  I have to report my own feelings and put down as a matter of
record, that if people put as much time, energy and love into
people as much as some of them did to the domesticated animals
they falsely believe they are caring for, then I cannot help but feel
that the value and happiness of many human lives would
definitely increase.
  I believe we need to re-evaluate our relationship with the animal
kingdom. Why should we do that? One by-product would be
improved relationships with each other.
  So what can the future hold? Will it take another 130,000 years to
change that which must be changed?
                                 SIX

   The writer now has the complicated task of summing up the
contents of this short book. I'll begin by asking, is it possible to look
at something common with new possibilities? The level of
compassion, there's that word again, each of us feels could be
raised, of that there can be no doubt.
   There are two issues yet to be addressed; compassion and the
steps we must take to control the future. I believe most thinking
people would agree that animals lack the consciousness required
for compassion which my dictionary defines as; Deep awareness of
the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it. Pity
also is extremely similar; Sympathy and sorrow aroused by the
misfortune or suffering of another.
   We humans have it in spades. Scientific evidence uncovered
recently has given an estimate for the earliest recorded instance of
compassion as being about two million years ago. Undoubtedly,
Mother Nature placed it inside us as an evolutionary step although
it is still unclear why. The glib may say ‘its what makes us human’,
the serious will offer natural and necessary transformation but
neither does not answer the point.
   Like all life forms, we learn by imitation, and many of our traits
are learnt in childhood, a time when our compassion is not yet
fully developed and many children (mostly boys for some
unknown and illogical reason) somehow possess the evil necessary
to pull the legs off spiders and burn up ants with a magnifying
loupe under a hot sun. They learn quickly that smaller things
cannot hurt them and so the die is cast. With our innate sense of
curiosity, we rapidly learn that domination is easy. Once learnt, it
is a hard lesson to let go and we progress to make careers out of it
whether that is bending and twisting nature to our wills or
imposing our domain over the lives of others be them animal or
human.
   It is difficult to witness an animal suffer and, as I mentioned
before, it would be a hard man or woman who could walk by one
in obvious pain. We have the means, the intelligence to help and
we often do but I maintain that we suffer for it in the long term by
extending that help beyond all reasonableness. Perhaps that's how
domestication of wild animals began. It does not take much
imagination to see perhaps how it all commenced.
   It is quite impossible to be objective when assembling a book of
this nature. I hope it is obvious that I care compassionately about
the plight of animals even though I do not affiliate myself with
them in any way except in the most normal and base bodily
functions.
   I do naturally care more for my human brothers and sisters, and
it may seem strange to write a book about bullying animals in that
case, but as much as I care about what we do and how we treat the
other members of the animal kingdom, my plan was simply a
device to bring our misguided attention and neuroses back to us
where it belongs, not projected out there on suffering animals.
   The dog and cat owner may differ greatly with me on many
points using their well-groomed sense of benevolence as an
excellent defence. They may offer me dozens if not hundreds of
examples of good and rightful behaviour about how
compassionately and well the domesticated animals in their ‘care’
are treated, but my single answer would be the same as I
mentioned before concerning the horse and is deafening in its basic
simplicity; did anyone ask the animal if it wanted to be kept in
captive surroundings? We can be sure then that in the absence of a
positive answer, we just continue to degrade and humiliate
ourselves
   I am not being facile. Of course the animals do not appear to
mind (the ones whose basic needs are being met) but how are we
to positively know? Do we in fact care? The best we can do is use
what empathy we have and try to imagine that that is what we
ourselves would wish for under the same set of circumstances.
   This is something we are practiced at and often we meddle in the
affairs of others attempting to see things from another's point of
view but often getting it wrong.
   The quiddity of this book is; what if we have been getting it
wrong about the way we treat animals? A little meditation on this
throws up the following;
  1. We still have a desire to eat animals, but most of us also own
the consciousness to protect them from harm and distress. There
can be no doubt, that the sooner our species learns to rely on the
world of plants for its nutritional an other basic needs, this stressful
component of our thinking will fade away.

  2. The desire for companionship. Much has been written about
man's appetite in this regard. Certainly dogs make passable
companions of a sort considering that they cannot talk or think. We
may talk at them but as millions of years go by, not one has yet to
answer back. (Nothing meaningful at least!)
  However, perhaps the truth being that they are dumb and
therefore do not need much exercise of intelligence in dealing with
them and can be so easily dominated and kept, says far more about
our own needs.
  Domestic animals do not answer back. They do not argue. They
do not cloud any issues with backchat. They normally do exactly
what they are told. They are, in fact, perfect little thralls, passive
victims of our obsessive and innate need to dominate. This
particular desire may well be our greatest problem in learning to
advance spiritually. In learning to become more human.
  I wonder how many animals would remain pets if they had the
consciousness to reason and talk? I can imagine a scenario;

 A DOG OWNER; Come on old girl...walkies...
 FIDO; Not now thanks, I'm comfortable here.
 OWNER; But I want you to do your business now.
 FIDO; No! Leave me alone. I'm happy here thank you.
 OWNER; Look come with me now or I'll drag you outside.
 FIDO; Don't you dare put that lead on me. I'll bite you if you do.
 OWNER; Look, come with me now...
 FIDO; Get lost! Go hassle somebody else.

  After a few months of this sort of exchange perhaps every day, I
wonder how long the owner's temper and ‘love’ would last? The
owner might just about put up with that sort of behaviour, attitude
and response from her own teenaged son or daughter but from a
dog...?
   3. Respect for animals and their environment. Many of us have
little respect for ourselves at the moment unless it is connected to a
problem involving monetary gain. Our ability to control the land,
the environment is increasing and many of us play no part in
determine what impact we are having on nature.
   Again and again we come face to face with the same dichotomy
of appearing to care yet often, showing no compassion at all when
it comes to an issue about a subject in which we need to succeed.
Once again, we need to grow spiritually and begin to place others
needs before our own if we are to benefit from any action we take
in the world.

  I despair when I read of how animals have been corralled into
parks where they can be further controlled, tested, tagged and
marked for our amusement or our scientific curiosity. I cringe at
what we do to them, how we treat them, how we hurt them and
cause them pain. The genesis of our lack of respect is hunger, I
admit that. It is comparatively easy for a normal person of normal
values to offer and show a normal amount of respect to other life
forms including animals when their belly is full.
  The same is true of animals as well of course. (You are more
likely to survive walking by a tiger after it has eaten than when it
has not) In this regard then, I see the future as somewhat bright.
Advances in science will eventually usher in another age. An age
where, how we use animals at the moment will no longer apply.
We will not have to use animal carcasses for certain things. For
example, soap;
  Almost any fat or oil can be used to make soap. Fats for soap
making include animal fats such as tallow (fat from beef), lard (fat
from pork), and the various plant derived oils and hydrogenated
fats. Traditionally, animal fats have been used, with beef tallow
making the hardest soap, pork lard a medium hardness soap and
chicken fat the softest.
  Its generally accepted at the moment that the harder fats make
better soap but what will the future bring? Perhaps laboratories
will produce a perfect soap made from vegetable oil? It is to be
hoped. Just one example out of untold thousands that we have
found uses for out of the corpses we use.
  Bone china is another. Bone china is type of porcelain first
developed in Britain in which ox bone, bone ash, is added to the
mix. It is a major constituent, about fifty percent and characterised
by high whiteness, translucency and strength. I sometimes wonder
how many people realise that manufactures still use real animal
bones in the products they use to drink from. To touch against
their lips.
  The future I believe can only be positive. Synthetic clothes
production will increase and hopefully match and even excel fur or
leather in quality. One may think this would be the perfect time to
bruise and deride those who wear fur but once begun there would
be no end to it. Those who do indulge, know what they are doing
because many are clever and intelligent if not somewhat
emotionally and spiritually stunted. One can only hope the
morality of the greater world will eventually affect their simplistic
and narrow thinking, their habits will die away and mankind will
become a unity, just as the majority now think breeding dogs for
the use of fighting for profit is an evil.
  New production techniques and innovated ideas and brassy
inventions like nanotechnology may hopefully bring us to a day
when the last animal has to be sacrificed in the name of our needs,
desires, wants and habits. Perhaps when we can precisely place an
atom, side by side with its neighbour, meaning we will be able to
make anything we like, perhaps that will be the start of a new
epoch for us. Perhaps innovative techniques will be discovered that
will make plants have a firmer and more chewable texture, a kind
of halfway meeting point between the vegetarians and the
carnivores.
  No doubt, one day, we will even develop an electronic ‘nose’ that
will be a thousand times more sensitive than the performance of
the best bloodhounds or ‘sniffer dogs’ have at the moment. We no
longer rely on canaries in mine shafts. Perhaps even, and let us
stretch our imaginations further than they have done before, the
keeping of domesticated animals for amusement will undergo a
dip in popularity as we advance.
  For, concerning these billions of creatures, we have dug a
metaphoric pit for ourselves and only a radical shift in
consciousness will be strong enough to tug us out of the problem.
  Perhaps one day, horses will be regarded for what they truly are;
magnificent wild creatures. In everyday life, here, in modern
London, the majority of people do not use horses for easy transport
unlike one hundred years ago. The car, with all its associated
problems, has taken over the burden of trolleying us about so
moving and shifting our consciousness and circumstances certainly
can be achieved even if the advancement was done with us in mind
and not the horse. Re the same for ploughing using ox or shire
horses.
  I agree that shifting from using a horse to a car or tractor is far
more destructive for the environment in so many thousands of
different ways but if we understand the process as just another
stage in our evolution, then the positive aspects of the change
becomes apparent. Hydrocarbon-based machines are a necessary
evil at the moment. An arena through which we have to pass.
Already hybrid cars are becoming commonplace. Who can guess
what will come next? Hydrogen-fuelled cars whose only exhaust is
water?
  Most importantly though, in this instance of the horse, a living
creature has now been freed. (Except by the cruel, the
inconsiderate, the indelicate and the insensitive) On this subject, I
waver in my indifference for each time I see a person riding a hose,
pony or mule or see the obnoxious betting on races that we force
them to undergo, as again aforementioned, I often feel utterly
revolted by the sadistic sight of it. That poor horse's spine... and all
for amusement. And profit of course.
  My thoughts may be quixotic, but I do not waver from the
possibility of this advancement. We can only hope and trust that
we will find our way. I feel sure that one hundred years ago, the
average person, if told that within a hundred years, the horse
would disappear from industry, they would have hardly believed
you. I can only hope that in (or maybe shorter) a similar period of
time, the same might apply to many if not all of the damnable
practices mentioned before.
  It is painfully ironic that in order to reach these stages of
improvement, humankind has to pass through degrees of cruelty
in all its many forms and for that reason alone, I cannot condemn.
Or try not to. We understand nature has a sure way about her.
Ultimately, I do believe she knows exactly what she is doing (in the
sense that no other action can be possible) Although it personally
grieves me to witness what happens around me also
understanding that I can do little to prevent most of it, I do
understand that old maxim, grass is green, sky is blue, all is well.
   For us as individuals then, we need do nothing. Nature will take
care of us. Our attitudes both shameful and honourable will adjust
to the ever-changing circumstances in which we find ourselves.
Our governments will eventually do what is correct and proper
and right will always find a way of overcoming wrong. Thank
goodness, as humans we operate on the pleasure principle.
   I began this work by mentioning that I believed very little change
would come of this book and I still believe that in terms of short
years. However, I do conclude that for our race and the animals
that occupy this planet, the long-term future is nevertheless a
positive one.
   Perhaps when this author is little more than crumbled dust in the
ground, animals may finally have less to fear from their greatest
predator and we may have finally grown into our spiritual
heritage. The key is change, perception and awareness. We need to
go beyond our circumstances, beyond our apparently inflexible
DNA. I believe that our perception is greater than those restrictive
controls nature placed within us as much as it is general recognised
that we humans are greater than the sum of our parts.
   Next time we see a horse's back bent away from its natural shape,
or being made to race uncontrollably by a jockey in the pursuit of
money or made to stand unnaturally still by one of the Queen's
Life Guards for what may seem like an endless period of time,
perhaps we might stop and stare at the unreasonableness of it. Or
even the sheer evilness of it. Or maybe when we see a dog being
throttled by a tight collar and its ‘owner’ shouting at it, threatening
it, perhaps we can imagine a little human child on the end of that
leash. Emotionally, there is little difference. Both have hearts.

								
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