So, I've been thinking a lot lately about...I guess what it boils down to... animal rights - and the fair treatment of animals. Now this post is not a "preach to you" kind of post. I'm simply sharing my thoughts. I find lately I'm being drawn more and more to issues dealing with the treatment of animals. I mean, I've always heard and known that injustices towards animals take place but, keeping it real, it was like "Oh, that's sad...next topic." Now, I find that I really sympathize and wonder "What can I do?"
Thinking today, it struck me that I didn't start to really...for a lack of better word....care until I became a pet owner. I got Howard, my bichon frise/toy poodle, Christmas 2007.
Oh my gosh! Is he not the cutest thing ever?! I can't imagine anyone hurting him!
He is without a doubt the best purchase I've ever made in my life. Period. I never had pets growing up (unless you count goldfish) and to be honest, I was (and still am) afraid of dogs. I guess I always inherently knew that animals had feelings - but it wasn't until I became a pet owner myself, responsible for the life of something that can not communicate for itself, that all these injustices that happen to helpless animals really started to...bother me and that I really started to care. It's really hard to explain unless you have a pet - but I imagine its much like having a child or being responsible for a child. You are responsible for the well-being of that living creature that can not fend for itself. The difference is - babies grow up and turn into adults and learn to fend for themselves. Animals don't have that luxury. In the big picture of things: Man trumps Animal....and we, as men, do a lot of f-ed up shi*t to animals.
Howard make me ridiculously happy and I take the....privilege of being responsible for him very very seriously. It's the least I could do for this animal that brings me so much joy. And joy to my family. My mother, who said "sure you can get a dog, as long as he stays in YOUR space (this is when I was still living at home)," is now in LOVE with him. She buys him Christmas gifts, dog-sits and calls me with funny stories of what he's doing, and often calls me when I'm home to see how HE is. My younger siblings LOVE him. To see how they interact with him (from the youngest 6 yr old to the oldest 17 year old), and him with them, melts. my. heart. I seriously think having a family pet is one of the best things you can do for children. Not only does it teach them responsibility, but it also teaches them about forgiveness, loyalty, unconditional love, patience, and compassion.
I think that's what this is all about. You see, I KNOW, without a doubt, that Howard has feelings. He might not be able to say it, obviously, but he shows it. He shows his loyalty, he shows his love, he shows patience....he is SMART. He is aware. He shows anger! He is FUNNY! Sometimes he wants to do nothing but play...and he has different kinds of 'play.' When he's in pain, it shows. I could go on and on about his personality...
And the real realization that he has this...personality...lets me know that other animals have a personality too. And the thought of people harming innocent animals or treating them unfairly...really bothers me. Again, it makes me think "What can I do?"
It's funny, because as much as I like the zoo - I always felt sad when I was there. Even BEFORE I got Howard. Looking at these amazing animals sitting in these small areas, made to look like their natural habit but really not, sitting behind glass that says "do not tap" as people tap and take pictures. Heck, I was/am one of those people that takes pictures! I would think, "they must be really sad - this is not how they should be living. this is not natural for them." Not surprisingly, I recently decided that the zoo is not a place I'd like to go to any more....though I have volunteered with my little brother's class on their field trip...to the zoo...later this month. Oy. This goes for things like Sea World or Marineland. Don't think I'll be going to either any time soon.
I hear about documentaries like "The Cove" and my heart breaks into pieces. I hear about this story in the news in my area right now and I think "seriously! isn't that a bit drastic? aren't there alternatives?" Ugh, and I won't even mention "Food Inc" and several other stories in the news recently....
And then I feel like...a hypocrite or something because I LOVE to eat meat. Seriously. I'm a meat eater. Love it. And seafood - don't get me started. And I don't see myself becoming a vegetarian or vegan anytime soon (though never say never...). But yeah, for now and the foreseeable future, cutting meat out of my diet is not even a thought right now.
I mean, can I be an animal advocate...or something along those lines...heck I don't even know what I want to do with this new....passion for animals...volunteer or something would be my first guess...but can I really do anything when I EAT ANIMALS! ETA: I think, actually I know, that for some reason I've justified that it's okay to eat chicken and beef...or pork...but eat DOG? HEAVEN'S NO! Or horse? Never. But really - they are ALL ANIMALS...
I went on the WWF website today and as great as their cause is...after a quick browse it wasn't really speaking to me. So I went to the other organization I could think of that deals with animals...Peta. Yes, they are kinda hardcore for me too. But after a quick browse - this felt more what I was looking for. I mean - PETA = People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. That's exactly what is bothering me lately: The unethical treatment of animals....but I doubt PETA has a chapter for people like me. Meat eaters with leather handbags and shoes (kinda giggling writing that).
So...I dunno. I'm gonna browse the PETA site some more but I don't know what my next step will be. Maybe there's a PETA lite or something lmao. Likely, I'll just continue to sit here and wonder "what can I do" and not do anything...but I hope not.
Hmmm...not sure why I felt like sharing this but it's been something that's been weighing on my mind a lot lately. So, I mean, any and all comments are welcome. If you can relate - let me know how. Are you involved in any type of causes like PETA or WWF or a humanitarian organization...anything? Would love to hear about it.
ETA: Just found this website with a variety links to various animal rights organizations that I've never heard of - I'll be doing tons of browsing these next few days.
ETA: How could I not remember the WSPA? That might be a better option for me than PETA. Less hardcore tactics than the latter but just as effective. Excited to have (re) discovered it!