Because Animals Matter

‘Tis the season for giving, sharing, and spreading goodwill to your fellow Man. There’s so much that you can do. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Give old clothes to the Salvation Army. Work a phone for a telethon. Heck, even dropping a little extra change into a homeless person’s cup makes a difference. The options for how you choose to make the world better are endless. You can donate to leukemia research, drive recovering addicts to their AA meetings, and on and on and on.

I commend and applaud you on whatever avenue of compassion you go down and hope that it fills your heart with joy, but I am also begging and pleading that you please not forget the abused and downtrodden animals in the world.

You could be asking yourself, why should I care about dogs and cats and horses and cows when there are so many humans out there in need? That’s a more than fair question. I can only really tell you from my own personal experience what giving to the world of animal advocacy has done. I care deeply and intensely about animals (anyone who’s even semi-regular to this blog just gave their computer screen a “no duh” look).  Animal cruelty is something I will fight against until my last breath — because for as many people as there are who treat animals humanely, there are an equal number of people (if not more) out there who have no qualms about spreading cruelty and pain.

I feel that to be able to call our society civilized, modern, and advanced, we should try to put a stop to all forms of barbarism to the beautiful and unique creatures we share a home with. Dog fighting, trophy hunting, safari adventures with tranquilized or tamed prey, fur farms, unregulated factory farming, canned hunting, etc., etc. I have to say, the list of ways man has invented to destroy other living beings just speaks volumes about how positively sophisticated our species has become, don’t you think? By allowing these forms of torture, we are teaching our children a gravely flawed principle that we, as humans, own the earth and everything on it, which is simply not true. We share this planet and should take a stand to stop those who are all too willing to simply exterminate anything and everything in order to assert this premise.

I already know what some of you are thinking. You may think it’s stupid to care about animals when we have other issues such as wars and murder that are depleting the numbers of our own species. You could be thinking my priorities are way out of line because I’m advocating for wild horses rather than abolishing the lethal injection. And that’s fine. You have your priorities and I have mine.  I actually have several varying priorities and opinions in fact, on a number of issues, like many people. Not all of them are always addressed here. But there’s no harm in using my blog to perhaps raise a little awareness in some of the things I find to be important, right?   

My feeling, as for so many advocates, is: if we don’t speak out for these creatures, who will? They have no voice of their own. Someone must speak out on their behalf. Someone must take a stand and say enough!

You don’t have to care about a wild horse or a deer as much as I do. You don’t have to denounce your own equally valid agenda in order to save an owl’s forest. Sadly, cruelty and injustice come in so many forms, be it directed at other people or animals. Unfortunately there’s more than enough to go around. How you choose to combat the evil is up to you, so long as you do something that says, “Hey, let’s try and not make things any worse, okay?”

MLK Animal Quote

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Ghandi animal quote

Mahatma Gandhi

Once upon a time, there were wild horses ….

If you’re like me and into “good” music, you’ll know that Rolling Stones song with the line, “Wild horses couldn’t drag me away.” Well, pretty soon, if things keep going in the direction they’re heading, they’re going to have to update it to say “Wild horses can’t drag me away.” Why is that? Because one of the well-known icons of American pastime, the wild horse, is slowly disappearing. Not disappearing as in a magic wizard is spiriting them off to some alternate dimension or disappearing as in they are mutating to exhibit a latent invisibility gene. No, I mean disappearing as in they’re being rounded up and shipped off.

Instead of running around majestically the way you see them in beer and pick-up truck commercials—manes flowing as they trot through the Wild West with unbridled (pun intended!) force, a huge cloud of dust rising in their wake—they’re cordoned into holding pens for “adoption.” You don’t even want to know what that actually means. And it’s not the point of this blog anyway.

What I want to write about is how we’re slowly losing yet another piece of our history; something that I feel is a pretty special piece of nostalgia.

It’s not just for me. I know what horses look like under the wide open Western sky. I’m worried more about my kids and my future grandkids. There are so many things they will never know or understand. Some of that’s good. But some of it’s bad. They’ll never know what a microfiche is or how to read one. Not once will they have to thumb through a card catalog at the library looking for that needle in a haystack with the right Dewey Decimal number on it. Saturday morning cartoons are something they will never enjoy. The slam of a flimsy screen door echoes in my mind and I dearly wish my kids knew the sheer joy associated with that sound. The list goes on and on.

We’re losing pieces of the past quicker than I can count and horses, the iconic wild horse, are on the way out too. Not only will they be a thing of the recent past and talked about like dodo birds and passenger pigeons, but the ultimate sadness is that they’re not being pushed to extinction by Darwinism, but by Man, for meat and profit.

I can see it now: On an outing to the movies with my future grandkids, there in the dark as we watch computer generated horses bolting across the screen, I’ll whisper to them….”I remember when there were wild horses.” And my grandchildren will respond with a snort of disdain as children so often do when adults bring up the inconceivable past: “Boy you are old Grandma! Imagine that, real wild horses!”

Why can’t we just let beautiful things be? Until we learn to do that, I say to the horses, run! Get those hooves moving and rip through the prairie as if your lives depend on it. They just may.

Artwork by the amazingly talented Susan Monty

Artwork by the amazingly talented Susan Monty
(click on artwork to visit her website)