Monday, December 11, 2017

The Emotional Lives of Animals: Upsetting to Animal Lovers

Grieving horse lays his head on the coffin of his
person, emitting cries of distress.

In Chernobyl, right after the meltdown, men with guns were sent into the abandoned villages to shoot all the animals. The horses were crying. They met the eyes of the shooters. One man reported that the message in the horses' eyes was clear: We want to live. He disconnected himself from his brain and emotions, and pulled the trigger.

Everything alive just wants to live.

I can't understand why, with so much evidence clearly present, there are still some unaware humans who think animals can't feel. They feel it all, just as we do: love, joy, devotion, sadness, loneliness, hunger, fear, pain, danger. Heartbreak. Betrayal. Grief. They love their humans, hoping only for their love and care to be returned. It breaks my heart how often their loyalty is returned with cruelty, indifference, even, far too often, abuse.

The whales in the warming seas, the lions in the canned hunting compounds, the wolves and bears stalked by helicopters and men with guns, the starving polar bears on the melting ice, they feel every bit of their fear and struggle to stay alive; they feel the pain of the bullets, as they relinquish their lives. The dogs shivering in the sub-zero cold as they are chained to fences in the biting wind and snow, it feels ridiculous to observe that they feel it and deserve shelter and protection.

The starving polar bear struggling to totter across the ice-free ground in its desperate search for food as he was dying, whose image broke our hearts this week, does not leave my mind. One day, we humans will be staggering across a barren landscape in search of food, ourselves, and then maybe we will understand exactly what we have done to this planet that struggles so hard to stay alive under the assault of human and corporate demands.

58% of the world's animals are gone. A fact too huge to absorb. What we are doing to them now, we are also doing to ourselves. 

We are cutting down the trees that give us the air we breathe. We are either a suicidal species, or one completely disconnected from nature. We do not understand our interdependance.

My heart breaks and breaks. Echoing in my mind, the simple fact: everything alive just wants to live. How is it we have gotten it so wrong?


  1. I think we are disconnected from nature, thinking ourselves top of the food chain - only to find ourselves as our greatest predators.

    Having done animal therapy with kids, and having a PTSD friend that just got atrained therapy dog. I know.

    How sad on the horses.

  2. Your words echo my thoughts and emotions Sherry. How arrogant we are as a species.
    The cruelty in intensive farming makes me weep and I cannot understand our utter disrespect of other living things.
    Yes, one day humankind will be searching for food, and then we will finally know...


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