Times Past, Pausing to Remember


The good news is not so much about animals as it is for animals. The good news is really about people...people who have their heads and hearts connected, who can reason out some things about the creatures with whom they share the planet. People like Albert Schweitzer. And Mahatma Gandhi. And Abraham Lincoln. We must include Mark Twain who, although usually considered a humorist, saw no humor in much of what his fellow man did to animals.

Until he extends the circle of compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.

The Greatness of a Nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way that its animals are treated.

I care not for a man's religion whose dog and cat are not better off for it.

It is just like man's vanity and impertinence to call an animal dumb because it is dumb to his dull perceptions. Heaven is by favor; if it were by merit your dog would go in and you would stay out. Of all the creatures ever made ... [man] is the only one ... that possesses malice. He is the only creature that inflicts pain for sport, knowing it to be pain. The fact that man knows right from wrong proves his intellectual superiority to the other creatures; but the fact that he can do wrong proves his moral inferiority to any creature that cannot.

It is always good news when people as admirable as those four men speak up for animals, who have no voice, no vote, no power of persuasion. It is even better news when thousands and hundreds of thousands of other good people do the same. And that is happening.

There is a movement in America, one that is taking place in other countries as well, to reduce the number of companion animals that are killed each year simply because no one wants to take care of them. The low cost spay/neuter clinics for cats and dogs are well known, but less publicized are the "no kill" sanctuaries being established in many places.

One of the earliest and it is now the largest of these is the "Best Friends" Animal Sanctuary in Utah. It takes in companion animals, shelters unwanted or abused farm animals, rehabilitates wild birds, and works to find good homes for all that can be adopted. Many cannot. Those animals have a permanent home at Best Friends. "No kill" means no kill. Euthanasia is used only when an animal's suffering cannot be alleviated. Otherwise, no matter how ugly, ornery, handicapped, or difficult a creature might be, it lives out its life at the sanctuary.

I don't know whether the handsome creature in the picture above is represented at any of these shelters at present, but if a snow owl needed care for a time, he would receive it. Best Friends has no fewer that 1800 animals in residence at any given time. It is a dream of mine to visit there; people are always welcome. While waiting for that opportunity, Best Friends' website is a lot of fun.

To my mind the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being. I should be unwilling to take the life of a lamb for the sake of the human body. I hold that, the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to the protection by man from the cruelty of man.