Flagrant Animal Cruelty

With talks of nuclear tests in North Korea, gas attacks in Syria and suicide bombers in Russia this week is quite the heavy load on the mind.

Luckily there are ways people can distract themselves by tuning into the latest box office releases. Amidst the ups and downs of life and everything else going on around the world, I am sure we can always find ways in which we can contribute albeit a little bit in making it a better place to live.

We have contemplated the possibilities of making sure each individual throws garbage in bins instead of on the grounds of our city on the basis of existing garbage. We have examined mutually beneficial conversational skills with complete strangers, have dabbled with potential transparent professional dealings and the list goes on.

Do you recall the children’s story about the little boy who stole an egg and never got reprimanded?

We remember how he went on to grow in his chosen field of crime to then steal an ox. I am coming from the same logical angle whereby, fallacy or not, anyone capable of doing something on a small scale should be able to do the same on a bigger scale. Before you shake your head too much, allow me to elaborate. I have not taken it upon myself to ramble in the streets of Addis head counting the number of stray animals that saunter our city.

However, I am certain they are in good thousands either ready to be a meal to strolling hyenas in the peripheries or drunk drivers with their vehicles. It has also been an eyesore to have to notice perfectly ironed cats or dogs on the asphalt. It is a nose stuffer to have to smell their bodies in ditches and alleyways in the streets. Quite the heartbreak to witness their frail existence in the hands of individuals ready to stone gratuitously, who enjoy chasing them down streets. I bring this up to examine our common understanding of what we give respect to, in terms of life.

Does it come as naturally to respect all living things or does it need to be acquired with time through our upbringing, education and environment?

There were times I thought, though unjustified, that people throwing stones and rocks at these animals were probably acting on fear somewhat instinctively.

Even so, from observation, most of these stray animals could care less about hurting people and usually just mind their own business. Though Rabies is real here, it is also unnecessary to torture these animals without a justifiable cause – I digress! It is arguable that street animals are that, but makes me wonder how we perceive kids living on the streets.

Not to be too dramatic but recently animal treatment has been a favourite topic and at these various discussion tables a semi-conclusion was reached that foresaw the reflection of animal treatment on the way we treat people. I must admit that there definitely is a significant leap between the two but it is undeniable correlated.

This might come as a shocker to some for whom human life cannot be compared to that of animals. And though I fully comprehend the somewhat unjust scale or the need for a scale, lack of better wording, I also think that the link is clear.

If we come from the understanding that human life is greater than all else then how would you think one would treat a human if the same person is affectionate to animals?

I heard of the uproar from certain people when the lady that collected street animals was featured in the media. Most arguments roamed around the idea that there are many people in need of help and extending a hand to animals was a disgrace along with other similar arguments. Whatever the case though it seems as though we will never get it right with the scale because there have been lives that were ignored just as much as that of the stray dog. Imagine how long it took the international media to give their attention to what has been happening in the Middle East for example. Or how long it is still taking to give the proper attention to what is happening in the Congo.

Do you think that we are each capable of sustainable change to make this world a better place for all living beings?

By Christine Yohannes
Christine Yohannes writes about social change, performs at public events and conducts poetry workshops in schools. She has established a monthly event entitled "Poetic Saturdays" - a platform created to allow everyone the freedom of self-expression through art. She can be reached at poeticsaturdays@gmail.com

Published on Apr 08,2017 [ Vol 17 ,No 883]



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