Monday, June 3, 2013

Another milestone......

 Here is a link to a piece of reportage on CNN.  If you are not willing to be disturbed or may want to avoid opening it.  It is about how human beings are treating the animals who have been our partners in life and our friends unto torturing, killing and eating them.

I came across this story within a few minutes of seeing a photograph of a dog resting his paw on a policeman's coffin. The cop was killed in the line of duty, shot by a felon, and it was clear that his K-9 partner keenly felt the loss.  The grand irony of the juxtaposition of these two stories hit me like a freight-train.  Dogs have been with us since we were hunter-gatherers, wearing animal skins and hunting down our food or starving.  The original dogs were wolves that researchers now believe had a special gene that made them inclined to bond with humans.  They were pre-disposed to being more tame than their fellow wolves and this enabled them to strike up a partnership.  Their senses and hunting ability is so much better than ours, but our killing ability is accordingly so much more efficient than theirs--via weapons and guile--that it was a match that proved to be symbiotic.

On balance, it remains unclear who got the best deal.  We lavish care and love on our dogs, yes.  There are a host of folks, like my wife and me, who treat their dogs like they were our children, and we're not at all embarrassed to use that comparison.  On the other hand, millions and millions of them fall through the cracks and become so much excess baggage that we euphemistically 'put down'.  We kill them because they are unwanted.  Then there is the above canine holocaust. This is treatment so devoid of any compassion, so bereft of any sense of humanity that it becomes a living enactment of hell on earth.  The dogs are purposefully tortured, skinned alive front of the other dogs--who clearly know what is happening and therefore what is about to happen to them.  This terrorizing is intended to render dog meat that is more tasty due to being infused with maximum amounts of adrenalin.  There are people who choose to make a living doing this, and people who choose to eat the product of this horrific undertaking.

This is another milestone that is, for me, more laden with import than the recently noted passing of the 400 parts per million of CO2 in our atmosphere, which level has not been in place for at least 3 million years, possibly as long as five million.  The conventional wisdom around that was that we have passed the point beyond which massive and catastrophic climate change is now inevitable. But, for me, this treatment of animals--the very ones who befriended us all those millennia ago, and made our survival at least easier if not possible--in such an intentionally cruel, heartless and self-interested telling us that we have also sunk to a sub-human level of behavior.

When you get right down to it, it is only our compassion that makes us human in the end....if we are to infer that the very term 'human' implies something nobler and more worthy than the beasts upon the plains of Africa, where we first stood upright and began separating ourselves by our ability to rise above and to become somehow special, 'better'.

Well, now you know that our noble aspirations and our vainglorious pretensions that we are the 'Blessed Ones' are just so much bullshit.  We are demonstrating to ourselves..and to the entire population of sentient beings on this planet, that we're the ones who are truly capable of creating a living hell our of what might otherwise be The Garden of Eden.

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