Friday, May 23, 2014

What we take...

from the other animals is incalculable. This photo is one of the most poignant images I've ever seen in my whole life. Ever. It combines beauty as well as loss.

Maggie and the sunset.
The bunny's name is Maggie and Christina W. (a thoroughly serious bunny friend) took the photo at Heartland. A child of Mother Earth looking through a fence...watching the setting of the sun that warms her and her planet.

The fence is there for her protection...because...while she is a child of the Earth she can't live on her own. She would die without others to take care of her...even though she is an adult and theoretically capable of being an independent resident here on this planet. And...while the fence protects...it also confines.

She can't live on her own because we humans manipulated generations of her ancestors to cause her to be born with that fluffy long covering of hair (fur)...and... manipulated the color of that hair. A white prey animal not in an arctic setting doesn't last long. Any being with a covering of hair that they cannot groom and maintain themselves is not going to last long. If a predator doesn't kill them, the matting and subsequent pulling and tearing of the skin will either drive them mad with pain or infection will set in and death will follow. She is doomed to dependency...for her to live she must be cared for by someone else. For all of her years of life she has been robbed of the ability to live independently.

Maggie is a beautiful being...with no capability of living autonomously away from human animals who will look out for her. The photo captures her beauty and her diminishment and it presents the beauty of the planet she has been denied. All in one exquisite and tragic scene.

Maggie doing what grooming she can.

I've come to realize that one of the ways you can (almost invariably) identify a fellow animal who has been diminished by humans is, once those animals reach adulthood, a fairly high percentage of people (and it is usually women who are willing to do this) who see them exclaim something like: "Oh, isn't she (he) cute!". I specify adult animals because...let's face it...almost all babies are cute. But the bunnies with drooping ears, very long fur, very tiny body size...and on and on...all of these are handicaps deliberately encouraged by manipulation of sexual pairings just for the purpose of human whim.

We call this sort of despicable behavior "breeding"...remember though, that just a word to obscure what is actually being done...forced inbreeding. It is exactly the kind of thinking that drove the "racial" policies of the Hitler era in Germany. It is rationality untethered to full consideration of reality...and when you have that...you and all other living beings and environments would do well to run like hell because what is going to happen is not going to be nice...but the resultant beings might be seen as "cute" (or "profitable" or useful or whatever).

No thought or care for what price the beings are paying, no consideration of the fact that, in addition to the physical handicaps inflicted on the bunny, dog, horse, cat, etc., inbreeding almost invariably introduces defects in immune system functioning and also organ and/or dental and/or skeletal and/or mental defects. Nope...cute, attractive, cuddly, desirable (to human animals)...these are the driving motives and to hell with the price Maggie is paying.

There's a degree of hubris involved in doing these things to living beings for our own desires that is of such a monstrous enormity that I can hardly wrap my mind around it. We're a scary bunch of primates and that photo exemplifies our terrifying ability to inflict horror on a living being, horror of untold depth and...when we see the results we say "isn't she cute?". We scare the crap out of me.

Take the easy way out of creating tragedy and horror and misery and death, live vegan. Maggie will thank you (although it is too late for her) and all other children of Mother Earth will thank you. Well...Maggie might not thank you...she might ask why did you let this happen? (and who can blame her).

12 comments:

D.E.M. said...

"We scare the crap out of me"! excellent!
I love this bunny love. I keep telling people I meet: Pick one animal to advocate for and to learn about... the fascination is endless, the circle widens.

Christina said...

Good words said here. Our arrogance and self-serving natures have been in control too long. We are screwing it up so bad and so few people notice.

Mags is a heck of a girl. That smokey face reminds me of my Nemo (RIP)and she carries around a little extra of my heart.

Amy Patterson said...

You're, of course, familiar with my dog, Ripley (R.I.P.). I found her as a wee pup after she had been thoughtlessly tossed out alongside an interstate highway. It was always my suspicion that she was a victim of backyard breeding and that the humans who brought her into this world either couldn't find someone that wanted her, or she didn't meet their standards somehow. As it turned out, she had a rather rare and aggressive form of arthritis that showed itself when she was barely five years old. I can't help but believe that her condition was the result of inbreeding. Despite her zest for life and her desire for physical vitality, her condition limited her from doing what she most loved to do. It also cut her life short by at least 2-3 years.

Anyway. Thanks for the thought-provoking and insightful post.

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting DEM. Believe it or not the being scared factor is something I want to explore further after it percolates more.

The pick one animal (Earthling) to advocate for reminds me of something attributed to Fritz Perls (a phenomenal psychotherapist). He said that if you took just one dream and worked through all the elements in it you would find that you've dealt with all of the issues troubling the dreamer. In other words, each dream has everything in it. I'm beginning to think you will, if you pursue "knowing" about any particular "domesticated" victim, eventually learn about every/all harms we've done to all of these thoroughly victimized beings.

Certainly I've learned way way more than I could possibly have ever imagined...and still have much to learn. And, whatever awfulness we've inflicted on the bunnies, we've also perpetrated these crimes on the pigs and the goats and the horses and the dogs and the cats and and and.

You wisely point out...the circle widens.

My world is widened (and enhanced) by your presence in it. :-)

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting Christina. And thank you for capturing that incredible moment in a photo (and for permitting me to use it for the post).

Maggie (and the others) pay for our self-serving arrogance and the perpetrators go free...maybe this will help at least to start identifying them for what they are.

I'm sorry I never met Nemo but good that Nemo-ness lives on.

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting Amy. And Ripley was a beautiful being and didn't deserve in any way shape or form the suffering she endured.

What a lovely thing it would be if all "breeders" everywhere had to endure the misery they inflict on others. I smile thinking about it.

Using a living being as if they were an object is just unspeakable.

I cringe when I hear the term "purebred" because I know it means horrors for the being referenced.

It all is very sad-making.

Thank you for looking out for Ripley and giving her as much joy and opportunity to enjoy life as you could.

Bea Elliott said...

That fine but tragic photo certainly does elicit all the emotions and thoughts you point out. And what you briefly touched on about Maggie being a fully functional adult is also discussed by Karen Davis in this video" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQU6ouvs2Fo Starting at about 10 minutes in she critiques the Nonhuman Personhood endeavors with a valid claim. Saying "pigs are as smart as toddlers" and other analogies discredit nonhumans. Yet it happens often that advocates will draw similarities to nonhumans, children and/or the mentally challenged individuals. She says: "You do not compare the incompetent capacities of one species with the competent capacities of another species". They are fully capable, cognitively developed adults, parents and functioning members of their social group. They aren't "less" because they aren't human...

As you say these are fully functioning beings who have been physically manipulated to become incapable of surviving in a world that should be theirs too. And then pitifully we reduce them even more by frilly human adjectives like "cute" or "adorable". We take away their dignity along with their autonomy. We are masters at taking what's not ours...

I hope I didn't steer your post too far off course, but I felt this tied into what you were saying... BYW if you do watch the video, the end contains a most rewarding short story about her relationship with Freddaflower. She like Maggie are individuals who have been denied their right to self authority. They are not "cute" but beautiful souls. Thanks for drawing attention to the "baby-talk" that masks the worth of others.

proud womon said...

you're right... that first graphic is just so poignant... as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words... i cry with, and for, maggie...

veganelder said...


Thank you for commenting Bea. I watched the video of K. Davis speaking (as you well know she's someone I admire greatly) and was very pleased that she and I think precisely the same re the patronizing and diminishing of the capabilities and capacities of our sister and brother Earthlings.

I don't think you steered the post off course at all, you simply added things I omitted (mainly because I try to avoid too many things in one post...even though I often fail). "Denied their right to self authority"...I love the phrase and I ache for every being that we...in our overblown self-regard and reckless use of power...have taken away from our neighbors on this Earth. I often struggle with shame when facing the bunnies at Heartland because of this. And that is simply multiplied when the harm we've done is manifested in exquisite beings like Maggie.

I admit to baby talking to the baby bunnies...but I make a conscious and persistent effort to address the grown up bunnies as adults and to offer them choice when I can and apologies when I can't and I respect and honor their anger and frustration when they are denied their self authority.

Every day of living vegan opens up new vistas to me...and...as I heard someone say. It is the most important thing I've ever done...as well as the most rewarding. We are privileged to live on a planet teeming with complex and competent and beautiful beings and only by living vegan are we able to wrap our limited comprehension around this marvelousness.

Thanks for the tip about the video. :-)

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting Proud Woman. You have my thanks for your understanding...and Maggie's thanks too.

Have Gone Vegan said...

I must say (I think I'm nearly caught up so WILL shut up soon, snort), that I'm one of those women who's guilty of exclaiming "cute" and "adorable" probably far too often, so this post has certainly made me pause. And while I've always railed against, for example, dressing up cats in clothes because that takes away their dignity and infantilizes them, I haven't given enough thought to how we've manipulated animals genetically to be more appealing and to appear to be more child-like.

Bea's comments (thank you Bea!) especially stopped me in my tracks. I've heard the "a pig is as smart as a 3-year child" statement hundreds of times, but never quite put it in the context of it discrediting nonhumans. Ah, thankfully it's never too late to learn, and veganism is an ongoing process instead of a destination. Will watch that video for sure.

Sorry for the influx of comments tonight, but am glad to be back. :)

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting HGV. I've reverted to my childhood (in many ways) as a result of going vegan...because I learn something new almost daily. It is both invigorating and dismaying...it's fun to see more clearly...it's sad making to realize how deluded and blind I've been. As you say...it's a journey...not a destination. :-)

Very glad you're back!