Jan 28, 2008
Driving home one day during a thunderstorm, my little boy, Tadin, and I saw a pathetic, little, brown beagle struggling uphill through the farmland, her little face pelted by the rain. I noticed her worn-out looking underbelly and could see she had some puppies somewhere, so I decided not to stop and bring her home because I didn’t want her pups to starve. Tadin and I hoped she made it home all right.
The next day I was passing by the same spot and she was lying dead in the road. The vultures were already landing. It seemed so miserable that she had not only died alone but that God’s road kill crew was already making fast work of what was left of her. She was the quintessential poster dog of the lonesome creation.
Another night during the hunting season last fall I came to a four-way stop sign on the edge of town. To the right was a patch of woods, to my left a shopping center. Suddenly, about a dozen deer came running out of the woods, crossed the road and ran into the shopping center parking lot. Cars were coming from all four directions. Two of the deer continued to run through the parking lot and the rest of the group ran back into the woods. Having been pursued by hunters all day they were shaken and still taking flight.
My husband showed me an article in the newspaper about Koko, a three-hundred pound gorilla who resides in captivity in Woodside, California. She knows American Sign Language and was able to tell her handlers that she had a toothache. They brought in dentists and removed the bad tooth.
A couple of months ago I heard a report on the news about the fate of elephants in captivity in Michigan. A debate is going on between members of the American Zoo Association and animal advocates who believe criteria for the confinement of animals such as elephants is outdated. Elephants walk between thirty and fifty miles a day in the wild, but in captivity are sometimes confined to an area as small as six parking spaces.
A 1999 documentary entitled, “Why Dogs Smile and Chimpanzees Cry” investigated the undeniable feelings that affect the behavior of animals. Two books written by Jeffrey Moussaiff Masson, “When Elephants Weep; the Emotional Lives of Animals”, and “The Pig Who Sang to the Moon; The Emotional Lives of Farm Animals” have rendered stunning testimony about the hearts of animals who are at the mercy of human beings. Our common God has his eye on the sparrow and has imbued our fellow creatures with depth that was meant to be understood and felt by human beings. The Bible says the creation is groaning in travail, and it has never been more true than in this age of environmental pollution and short-sighted land development.
All of these events illustrate that even though there is still a gap between man and creation, the gap is closing. The good works of Jane Goodall, David Attenborough, Steve and Terry Irwin and other advocates of the natural world are helping to create a consciousness of respect and concern for our fellow creatures. Even though much damage has been done, it is not too late to dismantle institutions that have harmed the creation and to launch programs to save, serve and preserve domestic and wild animal life.
As we strive to restore the imbalances between cultures, we must extend our efforts to include the life forms that sustain us and live side by side with us throughout the world. One day our descendants can live in a world where the whales swim the breadth of the sea again and the rainforests are re-grown and mankind lives with humble respect toward its various cultures and religions. A kingdom of heaven on earth could be no other way.
Kimmy Sophia Brown has loved humor and music and freedom for as long as she can remember.She is especially passionate about the environment and caring for animals.
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