aNewDomain — At least twice a week, if you watch a fair amount of DVR and late-night television, your program will break and the sinister voice of Sarah McLachlan will start wailing like a cantor at a funeral. The image of an emaciated dog with matted hair and impenetrably black sweet eyes will stare out at you.
I can’t take any more of this. Humanity is having a hard time taking any more.
This is the point where fingers go into the ears, tears spurt out, and one repeats, “NANANA NAHAHAHAH I can’t hear you I can’t hear you oh nonono nononooooo….” If fast-forward is an option, I don’t even hesitate. I change the channel for 3 minutes.
Otherwise, the images of abused animals will sit in front of my eyes for months.
Watching is hard
If you stare at a bright TV set in the dark and turn away, you see a negative image of the TV screen. That’s what the Humane Society infomercials do. I see negatives of one-eyed cats and emaciated dogs with collars and chains digging into the the flesh of their necks, long after the commercial is over. It’s as unbearable as it is real and critical.
Maybe it’s because I watched a few pets die, a few animals suffer a horrible death, knew a few twisted scum-freaks who abused animals. It was more than a flashing series of images to me. They are atrocious memories.
TRIGGER WARNING: I’ve seen pets split open by 18-wheelers (not my dog). I held vigil as my family dog bled to death after a botched abortion (parents too non-functioning to get the dog fixed in the first place). I held my cat as he took his final gasps. I ran home to see my dog’s new puppies only to find out “she didn’t make it.” A kid down the road during my youth had two known incidents where he strung up a cat and then later tortured a pregnant possum dying after being struck by a car.
OKAY, YOU CAN KEEP READING NOW: I don’t need to be reminded of such horror.
Humanity can’t seem to avoid it
But every day I am, in the Daily News, The New York Post and The Daily Mail. Maybe the ONLY public service Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp provides is videos and stills depicting American and international tales of despicable animal abuse.
Recently the dog-flesh-eating festival in China made news. The world was made aware and Ricky Gervais fought hard to bring attention to it, hoping the free world would shame participants out of it. But the free world is focused on Greece, Syria, African refugees, North Korea’s psycho dictator, Afghanistan and Iraq. And, oh yeah. FIFA.
Before that, there was a similar cat-eating event. I don’t want to describe the image I saw. Cats were rescued and then immediately crushed in wooden pallets by people I don’t want to know in a country I will never support.
Newsworthy but exploitative
It’s newsworthy but exploitative. How many animals are spared as a result of this morning-after reporting by Murdoch and company?
But we don’t look closely enough at the four-legged friends we eat, either. Maybe that’s why we back off from getting too outraged and active.
We run to the local Acme and buy a really crappy, dodgy package of hamburger and make spaghetti and meatballs. We drive by a farm and see cows and go, aww…MOOO! How pretty. We chow on bacon every chance we get and weep at the movie “Babe” and love piglets and know how smart they are but pork roll is so good.
Who cares how it winds up on the refrigerator display at Wegmans?
We buy turkeys and chickens every holiday and we don’t see the massive filthy and torturous farms in California where undocumented workers abuse these animals before they are killed.
We’d like to help
We hear stories about how the chickens we eat spend time around dying and dead ones in factory farms. We want to support a more humane market, but Whole Foods charges $10 or more for maybe a breast and a half of chicken. We have families to feed.
Our kids visit old, decrepit zoos not schooled in the ways of humane animal enrichment. Only today a video was circulated of a Grizzly Bear at a Minnesota zoo who told his captors how much he hated his life in captivity by using a boulder and smashing the glass of his enclosure.
Those of us on the East Coast of the U.S. know about the Central Park Polar Bear. An animal kept alive for a long, miserable time, he circled the cramped pond he lived in all year long…in cold winters and ultra-hot summers. Kids thought it was hilarious. Animal experts knew he was depressed and agitated. Efforts were made to “enrich” his life in his enclosure but it was too little and his habitat was arcanely small and he died sick and not a pleasantly spirited beast.
The strip malls and mega malls are filled with pet stores teeming with cute puppies and kittens. You know you’re not supposed to support them because they are basically puppy and kitten mills and they have breeding and other health problems but on a rainy day isn’t it cute to take the kids over to wave at the cuties?
Unbearable to watch
It’s unbearable to watch and contemplate because we care. But we don’t have time or means to actively care. Not most of us. The people who do have time and energy and organization will not drop their guard or efforts.
This year the world lost one of its greatest animal rights crusaders, “Simpsons” co-creator and producer Sam Simon.
In a world where Charles freaking Manson gets his three square meals on a lucite tray and visits by a demented young wife, Sam Simon was stricken with pancreatic cancer.
Simon spent decades fighting for animals, turning his Malibu compound into a dog sanctuary. Even the Sea Shepherds (the most militant and righteous crusaders working to save dolphins and whales from ignorant hunts and slaughter) named a ship after Simon.
What more could he have done with his endless millions? My guess is that Sam would’ve done more than I do if he only had endless money.
Maybe I can’t watch the Humane Society infomercial because I know too much and do too little.
Humanity at a tipping point
We’re at a tipping point as a human race.
Bill Maher, a fierce animal-rights activist, has been screaming for years that global warming would be vastly abated if we stopped eating meat (the waste and methane related to cattle production and slaughter is immeasurable and gluttonous).
We are all so techno-binkied that we can’t survive without our smart phones or computers. We can’t even cut our own grass or mend our own fences.
If we had to live as people did before technology, and eat what we humanely raised (if you don’t raise your livestock humanely you get sick animals and poisoned herds) we could not.
Kids don’t even learn the Dewey Decimal System anymore. They Tweet and use GPS. Forget starting a fire.
Doing it right
Sting, mega rock star, yoga practitioner, and eternally youthful genius, has the money to do it right.
His estate in the UK is a farm. He has a full-time farm manager and chef and probably uses a local butcher. His food is grown on his land and is treated well on wild pastures until the day they are slaughtered. So goes it with his produce, too.
Do we really have to write “Don’t Stand So Close To Me” to live the way we’re supposed to?
Screen grab from Sarah McLachlan: Animal Cruelty Commercial, Every Subscriber Counts! via YouTube, All Rights Reserved; Painting of Workshop of Jan van Bijlert, circa 1597/1598–1671, public domain via Wikimedia Commons; Cow and Baby in Central Florida by Sallicio, public domain via Wikimedia Commons; Dogs by Ester Inbar, via Wikimedia Commons; Polar bear at Central Park Zoo via Wikimedia Commons; Sea Shepherd Sam Simon by Saberwyn via Wikimedia Commons; Earth by Andrew Z. Colvin and NASA via Wikimedia Commons; Sting Relaxing at His Winery in Tuscany courtesy L’Italo Americano, All Rights Reserved; Video of “Don’t Stand So Close To Me” by The Police Vevo, YouTube.