I love animals… except spiders and snakes.. I understand their purpose and respect their place on this earth.. The pets I have had over the many years of my life have brought such joy. I can’t imagine not having a pet. I enjoy the farm animals more than the rides at the State Fair. I stand in awe at the sight of the cattle and the beauty of a horse.
Volunteering at the Humane Society has enlightened me in so many ways. I have witnessed the splendor of a family adopting a new family member. I delight in the sight of kids playing and cuddling with the kittens. It warms my heart to see toddlers pet a puppy for the first time. I find each adoption a blessing.
I have seen countless accounts of abuse. The sight of the rescued dogs from a puppy mill will break your heart and question why or how people can be so cruel to God’s living creatures. I witnessed recently the effects of a hoarder. Dogs and cats were rescued from the hoarder’s home (dozens of them). They were infected, ill and filthy. The misery makes you sick to your stomach. I have held sick dogs and prayed that God’s will to be done. Some have survived and others… well, they are in a better place.
Just a month ago, I helped with a group of roosters that were rescued from a cock-fighting operation. The sheriff’s department had rounded up over 35 roosters, hens and chicks. Myself along with other animal rescuers and animal control officers were to take care of the animals. At first, I felt honored until I found out that the roosters were going to be put down because once they fight, they view any animal a challenger and can not be reformed. The hens and chicks would be given to folks to locally raise.
These roosters were absolutely beautiful. They were big, bold, and their colors were a work of art. Once they were given “the shot” they were laid in cages to slowly “go to sleep.” They seemed so peaceful compared to the struggle to be removed from a crate. They were in a fighting mode and were going to defend themselves. Some were so mean I was afraid to go near them. Once they were almost “gone”, they were taken out of their cage to be photographed for court. I stroked each one and quietly said a prayer over them. They are God’s creatures and the senseless cruelty they had to endure felt so dark and wrong. Their purpose was not to be violent nor was it to line the pockets of people who view the fighting as a gambling sport. Tears would well up (still do) as I stroked the birds while they took their last breath in peace.
The officers and officials tried their best to make the process easier for me. They tried to explain that rehabilitation is virtually impossible and putting the birds down was best. No matter, it was hard for me to witness the account. It was hard and it affected me in more ways you will never know. For days I tried to wrap my mind around it..man’s cruelty and the senselessness of it all… above all and the bottom lie, we (mankind) was given the responsibility of caring for God’s creatures.
Back in January, I watched a segment on the Today Show about the book, Eating Animals, by Jonathan Sanfran Foer. Intrigued by the segment I requested the book from my local library. I began to read the book and was haunted by the idea of eating my pet..the author discussed the difference in a pet and a farm animal… our love for one over the other. Anyway, I wasn’t able to finish the book before it was due and since there was a request for the book I was unable to recheck it. So, I put my name on the list and finally last week, I got the chance to finish the book.
The way in which we get our meat products shocked me. I have been raised with farmers and hunters. So the idea of farming animals becoming a part of the dinner table has always been accepted by me. Until, now… After reading the horrible conditions and the inhumane way animals are reproduced, raised, slaughtered and processed, the same sick feeling I had with the roosters made it’s home in my gut. I don’t think I will ever be able to look at a piece of meat again. The vision I have in my mind of how the farming industry (not your family farms that are small and humane) houses the animals…it is much like the puppy mills. I shutter at the thought because I know first hand the product of a puppy mill…the disease, the filth, the bugs, the look of pain behind those puppy dog eyes..
Have we, Americans, gotten that far detached to our food? Does the price of putting food on the table have to forsake the respect and care of God’s creatures? I don’t see how my love for burgers can outweigh my love for animals. I realize the vast difference in cockfighting and putting food on our table but my nourishment doesn’t have to be inhumane.