It's been way too many years since I joined an animal rights protest- until this past Saturday. I truly admire the people who engage in any protests for whatever reasons- though the ones I participated in were for abused animals. Even though I personally find them tiring, I was glad that I engaged in at least 2 or 3 before this past Saturday's Fur protest.
The first one was a rodeo protest probably in the 80's. We were standing in front of the venue which hosted one. Only the cars entering in saw us parading to and fro with our signs. I don't remember if any of them stopped to pick up the flyers we offered, but I imagine some did. I was in my 50's at the time and Anna, a friend of mine of German extraction, was in her 60's. I admired her for joining us because I knew it must be harder for her than for me.
We didn't know if we made any impact, but it was something we were glad we did for the innocent animals - some of whom would not survive this event as a result of broken bones and other bleeding injuries. Too bad that the crowd wasn't privvy to witnessing the suffering of these innocent animals backstage as a result of the "fun and games" they were subjected to with the "help" of buckling straps and electric prods.
When I wrote about SHARK's YouTube video of rodeo cruelty on Oped, I was amazed and disappointed that a 17 year-old commented- "Don't know s....You people: How dare you criticize such a humane event?" It wasn't badenough that she started with an expletive, but to call a rodeo a HUMANE event bordered on the ludicrous. Should I excuse her because she is a teenager? No way Jose! Fifty years ago or prior to the advent of the home computer I might have excused her ignorance, but not today. In my opinion, she had no redeeming qualities whatsoever. She lacked respect, social courtesy, and was completely wrong about rodeos being "humane." And if she had taken the time to view SHARK's undercover video, and still persisted in her erroneous judgment, then I am concerned about her eyesight.
The next protest was near the Metro Health Hospital in Cleveland. I remember that the police made sure that we weren't on hospital property. We weren't, and I believe that this protest received TV coverage. Even if it didn't - I was still glad that I and the others were protesting the INTUBATION PRACTICE PERFORMED ON LIVE CATS. Can you imagine the cats being subjected again and again and again so that the nurses could practice their intubation skills? I sometimes even gag when brushing my tongue! Surely, there must have been a more humane way to learn this procedure. I don't know that we accomplished our purpose, but we let the hospital and anybody else in the environs know how we felt about this cruelty being performed on innocent cats.
Years passed and sadly our animal rights group disbanded. Obviously, not enough active particpants. That saddened me greatly, though of course, I would try to help the animals in other ways - contributing money to animal rights causes and writing letters to our legislators, CEOs, and letters to the editor of newspapers.
But this week - I received an invitation from PETA. A local young man and his diehard friends had been protesting a neighborhood fur store for quite sometime already. This time DS enlisted PETA's help for more protestors. Because he would be leaving Ohio soon, he hoped that this last protest would be the best. Sadly, the store was not opened and the flyers he brought with him could not be passed out to the people who would be normally entering the store.
However DS (and that's how he is called) was not dismayed. Seven of us took positions on both sides of the main artery which links Cleveland and Lakewood. At first I was by myself on the South side of the street when two happy drunks stopped by to chat. I think we all know that there are "happy" drunks and "mean" ones. These two young men were of the happy variety. Little Ed- though sadly, I believe was just a little too happy, and it translated into being "amorous" with the young beauties he spotted. Per Henry he sported a fresh nasty bruise above his left eye which he gave me to believe was the result of an altercation between a boyfriend who didn't appreciate Ed's advances toward his girlfriend.
After some more chit chat, the two went on their way to a bar. When they came back, poor Ed, who obviously hadn't learned his lesson, spied Jennifer- a very pretty young woman helping me to hold a large banner which read "Fur Kills." Though I didn't see this, he obviously made a bee line for her. Jennifer doesn't suffer "fools" too well and probably rebuffed him with an arm thrust. But I did see him sheepishly retreat to the lawn- probably in shock and dismay.
I liked Ed even though I had just met him, and Jennifer said I was TOO trusting. I was surprised at her remark- even though I admit that I am trusting. But I believe that if we care about animals, we should be caring about people as well. Here were two harmless drunks and Henry even helped hold the banner for a few minutes. Their presence swelled the group's presence even for a short time - calling attention to the motorists who passed by- some of whom tooted in support and approval.
Ed and Henry left soon after -though not before Ed addressed my request to apologize to Jennifer. He did, and then they went on their merry, carefree way. Not too much later it was 2:00 and our 2- hour protest was over. For me, their presence helped the time to pass and took nothing away from the protest.
It was providential that on the Friday before the protest request, I received a mailing from CASH - Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting. Since the 70's, concerned people were lobbying to outlaw the cruel leg-hold trap, and sadly, it seems that they are still being used. Even though I have seen many, many heart-breaking pictures of trapped animals - some of them even dogs and cats who wander the woods, I never saw one in the throes of pain as this picture portrays. If we expect our children to grow up compassionate and loving, I submit- taking pleasure in trapping animals in this cruel way will not accomplish this.
I watch a lot of Bill Kurtis' true Cold Cases, and many of them reveal just how cruel and brutal man can be to his fellow human beings. When their relatives sometimes in exasperation say of the perpetrators - they were ANIMALS, I disagree. In my opinion, no animals torture and kill the cruel way man does. If you don't believe me - then its time to tune in to Bill Kurtis's true Cold Cases.