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Life Arts    H3'ed 6/16/13

What Countries Lead in Animal Compassion?

Message Suzana Megles
What an intriguing question - what country leads in animal  compassion?  Sadly, I could only find one which Kim Bartlett  of Animal People wrote about some years ago, and that is the  tiny Buddhist island country of Bhutan.  Is it still? I have   no idea, but trying to find a country noted for animal compassion  is mission impossible.  It's easier to find some which are noted
for animal cruelty.
All the countries which have adopted a CAFO type of farming
naturally already have one strike against them, and that includes
the US. Whichever European farmer(s) started this horrible 
concept, I hope it is regretted today.  I also hope by now that
everyone knows what a CAFO is. 
For those who may not, it is a place of imprisonment for our
farm animals where they can never enjoy the rays of the sun or
for that matter even breathe in fresh air. I can't believe that
most of the world doesn't seem bothered by this cruelty.
What is their crime? Of course, they are innocent of any wrong
doing, but we are the ones who are guilty of crime by treating
our fellow living beings in this cruel way so that we can more
cheaply eat their flesh and use their products. 
I went to the internet to see if there was a listing of the most
compassionate countries.  While there were some links, I failed
to be enlightened by them.  One lady was looking for a compassionate
country to relocate to.  She wondered about Canada, but then had
to dismiss them for their yearly seal hunt.  I imagine they do a
lot of trapping there as well.
UNITED STATES ANIMAL CRUELTY. Recently I read of the delisting
of the GREY WOLF. Many years ago, we did a great job of almost
exterminating them completely in terrible ways like "denning" which
is flooding their dens with poison.  A horrible way to die for 
the wolf family and its cubs. 
Sadly, the states which already have wolf "management" - Idaho,
Montana, Wyoming, Minnesota, and Wisconsin are all driven by a
zeal for a new game animal, and they have been in many cases
brutally cruel- even torturing wolves.  I saw a picture of a game
warden setting his dogs on a frightened cowering lone wolf. Is
this compassion?
I could go on and on relating the many ways we show unkindness
to our animals, but I will only mention the ones that I can think
of off hand now. And they are RODEOS -where frightened calves are
forced to run in a "jerk" down and suffer broken legs and even
necks.  NEW YORK HORSE DRAWN CARRIAGES.  Yes, everyone wants to
ride in one of these.  It doesn't matter that these poor horses
suffer in all kinds of inclement weather and must endure the heavy
traffic of cars.  TENNESSEE WALKING HORSES -these poor horses
have caustic substances placed on their hooves which burn and are
painful- causing the horses  to high step - to the delight of an
audience which supports this cruelty with the price of a ticket. 
There are many more incidences of animal cruelty in the US, and
yet another one involves horses - THE WILD HORSE ROUND-UPS.  The
1971 Wild Horse and Burro Act was suppose to protect our iconic
wild horses, but of course, someone in government decided that
the cattle barons should have their public lands instead, and the
cruel BLM helicopter round-ups began. 
Our government is fickle.  From protecting the horses, now they
caused them to be forced to run miles on end often in hot weather
to escape the frightening whirring sounds of those giant "birds." 
Some would not live to see another day.  One young horse ran his
hooves off and collapsed and died.  How terribly painful that must
have been for him.
And what happened to the thousands of wild horses after they were
led into holding pens? Many of them were sold at auction where
the "meat" men would snap them up and sell them for slaughter to
Canada and Mexico where the slaughtering practices were often cruel-
especially in Mexico. 
And of course, we used thousands and thousands of innocent animals
in often cruel RESEARCH. Dogs, cats, mice, and monkeys were often
the chosen subjects who would suffer a great deal for what is
recognized today  as  faulty protocul. Animals and man are DIFFERENT.
Many of us felt there was never any justification for animal research, 
though the National Institute of Health told us there were. Thankfully,
I have read that the animal model is being phased out finally.
In the case of our often inept congresspeople, HSUS has let us know
that just this week in the Farm Bill which was passed - REP. STEVE
KING (R) Iowa got his destructive and constitutionally questionable
amendment included.  "This amendment threatens to wipe out important
state laws banning the cruelest factory farming practices and leaves
a raft of other state laws and rules regulating agriculture hanging
in the balance." 
Of course, he received Republican support in this regard. A question
for me which pursists -how did such a man ever become a congressman? 
And how is he able to wield such influence as to introduce such an
uncaring amendment re the animals and get it passed? 
Many countries are also guilty of animal cruelty. I can only mention
some of them whose practices have been long recognized.  These countries
are SPAIN, JAPAN, CHINA, and KOREA,  There are probably many more
countries whose practices are cruel to animals, but luckily for them,
they have not gained  public notoriety so far.
SPAIN - At one time we all thought the bull fights were glamorous
and exciting. Then people of compassion revealed to us that they
were cruel - where the matadors had the upper hand and the bulls'
backs were pierced with bandeleros beforehand to weaken them.  It was
never really a fair fight.  Perhaps had it been, and more of the
"brave" matadors had lost their lives, it would have ceased to be
attended. Even a pope could not disway this cruel "entertainment."
But there were other cruel events happening in their religious
festivals.  Stringing up geese and the people watching and cheering 
while horsemen rode in to lop off their heads is certainly not
compassionate or entertaining for people of finer sensibilities.
Sometimes a  donkey was thrown from a high building as part of
a religious festival.  How is this religious?  At one  festival the
horns of a bull would be lit on fire, and the crowd would cheer as
the poor bull ran with his flaming horns.  Did his whole body erupt
in flames?  If so, what a cruel way to die.
KOREA.  In the 80's -In Defense of Animals sent us a flyer showing
a poor dog strung up while his tormentor beat him to make his
flesh more tender.  For those of us who got this flyer, that image
will never leave us.  We had never heard about dog eating before,
and we certainly were alarmed at the cruelty re it.  One thing
to kill a dog outright and another to hang him and beat him.  
CHINA.  I remember boycotting the Beijing Olympics because I found
out that some people were engaged in stripping away the fur of LIVE
Raccoon dogs for profit.  I shuttered at the thought of this.  After
that, you could not pay me to watch the Beijing Olympics.  I could
not support the events of a country which treated its animals so
Early on I had read that in some parts of China the old women would
boil live cats for a medicinal soup.  Again, I found this incredulous.
Do they still do this cruel thing?
Another horror involved the eating of monkey brains.  The poor
hapless monkey would be placed under a table where a hole was cut
in for his head.  And then a knife would slice open his head
exposing his brain which the people began to pick at and eat. I
thought surely this could never be happening, but I would find out
that animal cruelty was alive and well i n many parts of the world. 
Both on Facebook and Care 2 was shown a picture of a frog's head
with his eyes wide open on a dish. The caption read "Stop the Cruel
Practice of 'live Sushi' in Japan." 
Per the Facebook petition:  The practice of "live sushi" involves
cutting apart and then eating frog, fish, lobster, shrimp, squid, or
octopus while it is still alive.  The practice is a 2,000 year old
tradition known as "ikizukuri."
Another unimaginable tradition in which these poor beings must surely
have suffered most cruelly. Why does it still pursist?  
The writer then explains this practice. "Ikizukuri is most closely
translated as 'prepared alive.' This dish is prepared by filleting the
meat from the bottom half of the animal and decoratively laying it
on the top half, while it is still alive and moving.  The poor creature
is then quickly consumed."
I think anyone who saw this picture and read about this "meal" was
horrified.  I know that I was. 
SHARK FIN SOUP. Some years ago 60 Minutes did a segment on how
Japanese fishermen would haul aboard live sharks.  They would cut off
their fins and then throw the still living sharks back into the ocean
where they would land on the ocean floor -unable to swim and then die. 
What a horrible thing to do to a living creature.  I think it would have
been more humane for them to have killed the sharks first before cutting
off their fins and disgarding them into the ocean.  I believe that after
seeing this on 60 Minutes some have foregone the desire to order Shark
Fin Soup again.
Over the past 40 years, I have heard or read so much about animal
cruelty, which is sadly  never ending.  I don't know what it will take
to make us a people of compassion.  I can only think that we should
pray every day that we become more compassionate - not only towards
animals but towards people as well.
Last night I saw the story of this young Muslim girl who was given
in marriage at a young age.  I don't know what she did to deserve the
horror which befell her, but the Taliban cut off her nose and ears.  
I can't even imagine how painful that must have been for her.  She
is now in the US and the surgeons were able to give her a new nose. 
Thank God, that she is no longer among people who can do such cruelty
to another human being.  And of course, I believe that they are probably
cruel to animals as well.
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I have been concerned about animal suffering ever since
I received my first puppy Peaches in 1975. She made me take a good look at the animal kingdom and I was shocked to see how badly we treat so many animals. At 77, I've been a vegan for the (more...)
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