- Kitten roasted alive in oven
- Kittens with mouths glued shut
- Ailing 17-year-old cat abandoned by owners
- Cat beaten to death with a pole and video shown on internet
- Starving greyhound found tied to a pole
- Young, inexperienced pit bulls used as bait dogs to teach older pits to fight
- Dog with half his face chopped off
- Chihuahua burned in public park by teenage boys
- Pony with overgrown hooves so long he cannot walk
- Rabbits, cats, dogs, monkeys used for medical research and product testing
- Elephant kept chained more than 20 years in a roadside zoo
- Orcas kept in captivity in sea parks to entertain humans
- Chickens raised in factory farm cages, never seeing the sun
These are a few of the things people do daily to animals around the world.
I could have made this list a lot longer.
Some would say all the things on the list are animal abuse. Some would not, arguing that people have the right to use animals for medical research that will benefit humans, that we need to raise chickens in factory conditions so we can eat their flesh and eggs, that elephants and orcas enjoy performing for humans, that pitbulls are born fighters, that the owner of the pony with overgrown hooves was perhaps growing senile or just didn’t know any better.
Some might even say the most horrific abuse examples on this list are okay, because God gave man dominion over the animals to do with as he wished, and therefore animals don’t have the intelligence, awareness, and feelings that we do.
These people all have one thing in common:
Obviously they do not think animals have souls.
I used to be like them. I hated to see outright animal cruelty, but I didn’t think using animals for testing or slaughtering them for food was anything to object to. Over time, my thinking evolved, as readers of my earlier post Do Animals Have Souls? Part One already know.
My thinking evolved because of all the companion animals who have shared my life, and because I have seen and heard about countless examples of animal intelligence, emotion, and bonding among animals and between animals and their humans.
My newspaper today carried an especially poignant story of a mother animal feeling grief:
A female orca whale in a pod roaming the Pacific Ocean between Vancouver, B.C. and San Juan Island gave birth to a calf that was the first live birth in the pod since 2015. This calf lived only about half an hour. For 17 days the mother orca carried her dead calf with her “in an unprecedented act of mourning,” according to whale researchers following the pod.
The mother would balance the baby on her head or push it along with her nose, and retrieved it each time it began to sink in the water. This made it difficult for the mother to keep up with her pod, but she would not let her baby go. Finally after 17 days she did release the dead calf to sink in the ocean.
At this point it is appropriate to recall the wisdom of Charles Darwin:
There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery.
How could anyone seeing this whale mother’s behavior deny she was grieving her dead baby, just as a human mother would?
How could anyone witnessing a tortured animal howling in pain or a victim of past torture huddling and trembling in a corner deny that animals suffer physically and psychologically from ill treatment, just as humans do?
I’m with Charles Darwin. Animals and humans have too much in common for animals to be treated as commodities or objects of neglect and abuse. All humans and all animals deserve respect.
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Joy and Peace,