What's Up With That? ~ Katy Byrne

Katy Byrne Katy Byrne, MFT is a Psychotherapist in Sonoma, editor and animal lover. Her private practice specializes in: life transitions, couples communication, eating issues, moving forward, conflict resolution and the kitchen sink.

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Who is the animal?

Posted on August 24, 2019 by Katy Byrne

It’s not a triumph to dominate, hurt, or violate life. Every day there is some atrocious scar across America. Now, our government has removed more protections for wildlife. 

“These changes crash a bulldozer through the Endangered Species Act,” said Noah Greenwald, of the Center for Biological Diversity. For polar bears, bald eagles, wolverines, and monarch butterflies, to name a few, this could be the end. It’s another massacre for no good reason. Not to mention this month’s discussion of shooting beautiful elk in Pt. Reyes.

Ok, I have another emotional hairball this week. I’m sick of the shootings, maiming, neglect, or torture everywhere. It teaches kids that it’s heroic to hurt or cage living beings. If young people see you harm or neglect anything or any living being – they learn it.

Humans need to step up and find caring ways to protect all life and to model caring. Cruelty is not heroic. From the seals being bludgeoned, to the suffering of poached elephants, or dogs and cats neglected or left in hot cars, it all matters. 

Animals matter as much as any life. We must treat creatures of all kinds with kindness: Guardians (owners) who abuse or neglect animals often harm humans, too. Up to 75 percent of domestic violence victims report that their partners threatened or killed family pets. Fifty percent of school shooters have histories of animal cruelty.  

It’s not the most fun ball of fur to write about, but we need to understand what’s going on. In a well-researched book, “Eating Animals,” Jonathan Safran Foer describes what happens in many places that slaughter animals for meat. The vast majority of cattle in slaughterhouses are not rendered unconscious with a single blow. “After the head skinner, the carcass (cow) proceeds to the leggers who cut off the lower portions,” says a line worker. “It looks like they’re trying to climb the walls… workers can become sadistic from this dehumanizing work… Sometimes animals are not knocked out before they are killed.” 

Their anguish is also ours. All of this hurts our bodies and theirs. Foer describes the suffering salmon and other farmed fish with the presence of sea lice. Those that survive these conditions are likely to be starved for days to diminish their bodily waste. “Often the fish will be slaughtered while conscious and convulse in pain as they die.” 

While forests are being destroyed, so is innocent life. One of many orangutans, one named Hope,was shot with 74 gun pellets and blinded in both eyes while her baby was torn from her arms… she curled into a fetal position and cried out. And if you read De Waal’s “Mama’s Last Hug,” you know animals suffer and they feel.

As Martin Luther King said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality; tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

Each of us can do something. In Foer’s book, one man found a lamb at the top of a pile of supposedly dead animals. He took it to a veterinarian. The lamb lived happily for 10 years after that at a sanctuary.

They are voiceless, we are not.

 



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