Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Circle of life and falling off pedestals.

Two things have been on my mind the past few days:  the circle of life and people falling off pedestals.  I need to get over both of them.

I love nature shows but I can't stand the moments when the predator eats the prey.  There are times when I think the production crew could intervene and should, but instead they stand by and film the process.  I remember a long time ago a baby elephant who was rejected by her mother.  She was starving and was trying to nurse off of a tree when hyenas attacked her and killed her.  Viciously, painfully.  I do have a hard time with a film crew that will stand by and just allow the slow, torturous death of an animal.

I'm not sure where the line is drawn.  In the case of the situation I saw yesterday when a bison bull ran down an calf in order to save himself from wolves, there was nothing the production crew could do.  They were watching nature happen.  In the case of the elephant...they followed that starving elephant for days before the hyenas killed her.  It bothered me to see the bison calf torn apart by wolves and yet I understood that the wolves needed to eat, too.  It's still very hard to watch.

But the indifference to the suffering of animals?  I think the crew needs to intervene when it's obvious there is something they can do.  In a different, but similar, situation (and I don't have the link for this...sorry) a photographer was taking photos of a starving child in an African nation.  They had been told not to touch them because of disease.  The child was crawling on her last bit of strength and he told himself that since she was still able to move she would be able to get to safety and care so he took his pictures and left without offering any aid.  He never knew what happened to her but the guilt that he stood by and did nothing haunted him until he ended his own life over it.

I do understand that those who observe animal behavior and document it don't want to intervene because they are studying the dynamics of the herd, and that information is important.  But once the animal has been separated from the herd, what harm is there in providing aid for it, even if that aid is to relieve its suffering?

Watching Navajo Cops, I've seen two shows where they had to put down a horse and a cow that had been hit by traffic and were in distress without any hope of recovery.  It hurt to watch that, but that was a kindness.  Leaving a child to starve or watching an elephant walk around so starved for food that it tries to nurse off of a tree strikes me as cruelty beyond measure.

But maybe that's just me.

Now..falling off of pedestals.  There are a couple of blogs I have read for more than a few years and I have really admired the women who write them, but lately I've noticed some behavior and opinions that I have a hard time with.  On one blog, I have only commented a few times and and twice my posts were removed.  Nothing I said was offensive, but I did disagree in a very reasonable manner with the conclusion she had come to.  I didn't get snarky or anything.  I just asked that she consider another aspect of the situation.  Since then I've had a hard time going back to read anymore of her posts.  She was someone I really admired but now I really don't have a very high opinion of her at all. 

In another situation another blogger I have read for more than a few years, too, and she's another one I've liked but didn't always agree with.  In this situation, though, I never commented on her blog, mostly because she had a lot of commentators.  There was a Pagan-wide situation where she took a stand I really disagreed with, which was fine, but the way she handled the commentators who disagreed with her really bothered me, as if she was beyond criticism.  I let it slide as it wasn't an issue that concerned me, but then she infiltrated a private group on facecrack, got the information she wanted and immediately left the group after 3 days.  Then she wrote a long post about their practices, albeit without really revealing any privileged information.  When the administrator of the group called her on it, she claimed she was a journalist and was entitled to do that kind of thing.  I know the administrator from another closed group I'm on and she wasn't amused at all.

Recently she has decided not to allow any comments on her blog at all because she wrote something and a few people reasonably disagreed with her.  She went ape-shit on them and garnered the sympathy of many others because of how badly she was treated.  I just couldn't see it.  Three people disagreed with her conclusions and she couldn't handle it.

I guess I need to learn to stop putting people up on pedestals from now on.  And stop reading people who can't act like adults.


  1. I used to watch nature shows all the time but when I was pregnant something switched in me and I couldn't watch or read anything to do with death or suffering (including my all time favorite genre of movies and books - horror). That "click" never went away. It subsided briefly when I volunteered at a shelter that euthanized animals because I was removing those animals to rescue, but then it happened again and I snapped. I agree with the "can't help" situation where there is nothing to do but watch. I also agree that if a person can help they should put the damn camera down and help. That is cruel punishment. A camera is not an excuse to be a cruel human being.

    As for the pedestal. I don't put many people on a pedestal, but I do enjoy my fair share of musicians, actors, a couple of politicians, and even us lowly folk tee hee hee. It is disheartening when someone we believe really is a good person turns out to be an asshole. Especially when we've been a long time fan.

    I would never read a blog that doesn't allow comments. To me, that is the equivalent of putting oneself on their own pedestal and standing up there giving a sermon without any kind of encouragement of discussion. Might as well slap a mustache and bad hair cut on that idiot. (horrible description of a horrible disgusting evil man).

    1. One of the reasons I can't volunteer at the animal shelter is because they euthanize healthy animals that haven't found a home. I can't foster because my dog won't socialize and the cat wouldn't like another animal in the house either. They barely tolerate each other (except when no one is looking they will curl up together for naps.)

      I'm learning not to put anyone up on that pedestal and I agree that anyone who doesn't allow comments can't handle criticism and therefore just pontificates, thinking the rest of us are happy for their opinions. I'll be deleting the blogs from my list but I'm going to wait for a while because I don't want it to be too obvious who they are.

  2. I totally get what your saying about the kill shelters. The reason I was ok was because when me & my friend were there we were getting the dogs adopted and to rescues. It went from euthanizing 97% of dogs to euthanizing sick and aggressive dogs. However, as soon as I moved and no longer volunteered it went back to the same sick sad story.

  3. I understand that people feel this way, but I never have. I still haven't sorted out whether that makes me in some way a bad person or if I'm just a little closer to my animal side. I grew up on a farm, so I've looked many a dinner in the eye.

    Nature is harsh, but not cruel. Nothing dies- however horribly in our opinion- without some reason. And yes, everything has to die eventually.

    That doesn't mean that I'm OK with kill shelters just euthanizing any animal they can't find a home for. I don't place the blame on the shelter, however. I place the blame on people who abandon their animals, on people who insist on breeding their mediocre animals, on people who don't bother to spay or neuter and just let the animal population grow out of control... etc. Death is the only alternative to out of control population growth. We'd be better served by controlling the population before hand. *ahem* Sorry. I'll step off my soapbox.

    1. I don't do this too often in replying to other's comments on a blog but I just had to. I am not stepping on a soapbox or preaching, I am just stating what I have experienced in my life in rescue.

      I have been in dog rescue for 5 years. I ran a rescue with 2 other women for 2 years and while doing that I also volunteered at a kill shelter. Our rescue entailed pulling dogs from kill shelters, vetting them (including, of course, spay/neuter) and adopting them out after a thorough application/vet check and home visit.

      The kill shelter involved me and another girl from our own rescue going once a week and photographing the dogs and cats. I made a petfinder page for each dog & cat as well as reached out to almost 50 local and not so local rescues to pull these animals out of death's door. As you can see from my previous comment, our volunteer work alone made a huge difference in the lives of those dogs and cats just by getting them exposure and reaching out to rescues.

      I do place blame on kill shelters because many many many do NOTHING to help these animals get adopted and to promote spay and neutering. The dogs & cats come in and if they are lucky someone happens by and adopts them. Hopefully that someone will take it upon themselves to spay/neuter because many kill shelters don't do that ahead of time. In addition to not spaying and neutering, these animals get no exposure to the public. It only takes a few minutes to take a photograph of a dog or cat, upload it onto petfinder and write a bio. Easy peasy pumpkin squeezy. Most of these government workers just don't give a damn.

      I absolutely disagree with your statement of "death is the only alternative to out of control population growth". I KNOW that education and information is the answer. If more people knew that rescues exist and you do not have to get a dog from a breeder or :::shudders::: a pet shop, I believe there would be less of a population problem because the business of buying pets would be hurting in the pocketbook. If, as I said previously, these kill shelters would take the time to promote adoption of the pets, more would go out on leashes instead of body bags.

      I must also say I agree wholeheartedly about spaying and neutering. Every animal that is adopted from a shelter should be mandated to be fixed before leaving for their new home. No exeptions. Unfortunately that is not the case. However, all reputable rescues do spay/neuter to clip that problem (pun intended) in the bud.

      Dog rescue is my life's passion.

    2. Apologies, I should rephrase: for a population already out of control, the only solution is the elimination of a percentage, specifically of the breeding population. If the breeding percentage could be reduced (drastically, in this case) then there would be no need for a kill shelter. As for them not caring, frankly, most of them aren't allowed to or can't afford to. Running a shelter is a business endeavor and the resources just aren't available sometimes. Doesn't make it right, doesn't condemn it either.

      I was raised harsh. Animal lives just don't equate to human lives for me. Animals are food, tools and companions and we owe it to them to get a handle on this problem. Bluntly, I'd rather see a dog euthanized than abused, neglected and starved to illness and death. It may seem very strange to say "we owe it to them" and then not have a problem with putting at least the ill or gravely injured ones down- but that's the harsh reality of growing up the way I did. I don't apologize for it. I remember going hungry as a kid, so the idea of killing something has a very, very different meaning to me. I realize this offends people.

    3. I think education is the answer and maybe more oversight as to spaying and neutering pets. And I disagree that kill shelters are blameless. If that were the case we wouldn't have any no-kill shelters, would we?

      I understand we are coming from different places in this. I wasn't raised on a farm so the killing of animals for food isn't something I'm used to. I have a difficult time with my husband hunting deer or killing porcupines or squirrels, not for food but as pests. I actually struggle with eating meat at all, but my body resists and gives me a hard time when I try to go vegetarian.

      I disagree that nature isn't cruel though. I think it is and that is the dark side of it, one we should acknowledge and accept, but not embrace. I think a cat who toys with its prey is cruel but it is following its instinct unless someone intervenes. I choose to intervene. We use humane traps and relocate the mice outside to the woodpile where there is a community of mice already living. To me, any time someone can intervene to prevent the suffering of any animal, including the human ones, they should.

      But I understand that, having been raised differently, you have come to different conclusions. You may find it equally difficult to understand my perspective as well.

      No hard feelings though. :)

    4. I hear ya, Hippy. I feel pretty much the same way. I wish I could volunteer but trying to re-home the animals was tried here many years ago and just didn't have a good enough percentage to continue. And I think people burned out. I could be wrong about the kill part since they moved to bigger spaces though.

    5. Also, and not to beat up on you, Lady, because I really value your insights...but I do place animal lives on par with human lives. I don't see them as lesser creatures anymore than I see children as lesser than adults. But I do understand that we are responsible to help maintain their habitats and sometimes that means managing the populations in ways that are less savory. But certainly more humane than letting them starve. Still, there is no excuse for euthanizing healthy cats and dogs when we have control over their reproduction. We don't have control of the deer and various other wild life.

  4. And for clarification, yes, the breeding percentage of a population can be reduced without killing them. Just so we're clear that I'm not saying "kill all the puppies" or anything ridiculous like that. Harsh doesn't mean cruel.

  5. No hard feelings at all. Multiple perspectives keep the world interesting :)