Today, I Will Not Let Someone Shame Me Into Silence

(This post may not be what you expect from the title, and I acknowledge that.)

I saw this article on Facebook, which is where I seem to get 90% of my news.

It came from the Daily Mail, which made me hope, for one single moment, that this would prove to be a hoax.

I don’t think it is. And even if it turns out to be so, it doesn’t change the reality for others.

Here it is. The words, they are not pretty. But they are real. So too are the pictures, if you click through.

Writhing in pain as its fur is ripped from its skin, shocking footage reveals brutal treatment of rabbits bred in captivity for the angora trade

In a word, it’s horrible.

On Facebook or otherwise, I don’t usually advocate the shock-horror type of posts with the graphic pictures, because it’s too easy for people to turn away or deaden themselves to it.

Those are natural reactions that take work to overcome, the same way it takes work to develop empathy.

But: Social media as a whole is a prime tool for spreading awareness. My own channels may only go far, but adding a signal boost as a component to all the other ways to help halt abuse we as people willingly inflict and support–that’s one big yes.

And that goes for anything else!

We all know the kind of person who says, “Instead of talking about it, do something about it!” without bothering to give you the benefit of the doubt that yes, you are capable of both talking and doing.

We also know the type of person who channels their energy into derailing tactics such as, “But you’re talking about only this one thing right now and not these 16 Other Arbitrarily More Important Things simultaneously, so therefore you don’t care about them and are a bad person!!”

I’ve come across both types. Neither of them proved worthy of my time or energy.

This is also why I’m not going to translate not “liking” or commenting on this post into not caring.

Over this past year, I’ve seen a lot of my friends and acquaintances open up about hidden things: Illnesses, feelings, plans, hopes, challenges.

Almost invariably, each post ends with, “I feel better for sharing this.”

That “sharing is caring” adage works internally, too.

So along with my main point, which is something along the lines of, “We all need to do More Better at putting the humane into humanity for all living creatures, ourselves included,” with an adjacent thought-process akin to a whirling Catherine Wheel (the firework pinwheel, not the other kind) comprised of Resources! Local groups! Petitions! that haven’t fully manifested, I offer this:

Don’t let someone shame you into NOT talking about what matters to you, online or off.

Keeping communication open is the clearest way we’re going to make things More Better. Money helps too, of course, but without communication, we are sunk.

#Reverb11 Day 17: Loathing

Prompt: Loathing – Who or what do you loathe and how have you expressed that in 2011?

What I Loathe

People who abuse animals. Yes, these are “whats.” They’ve forfeited their humanity.

Look at your dog, cat, bird, guinea pig or any animal that you call a pet or companion. Even if you’ve never had one, picture someone else’s. See those trusting eyes, the happy wave of the tail, the bounce or flutter of joy when you come in the door. Hear the “I’m hungry!” squeak that’s sent out full of confidence that the empty tummy will be filled, the click of nails on the hardwood floor coming to find you, the contented munching noises at the food dish. The sleepy snoozy sounds of a tired animal at peace in the room with you.

You, as the guiding light in the house, are responsible for this creature’s well-being beyond just providing food, water and clean bedding. We all know quality of life doesn’t just stop with those.

Acknowledge the dependence this living being has on you since you brought him or her into your home. Feel how dependent you are on their affection and regard. Feel the mutual warmth, happiness and trust. The joy and the unconditional love.

Now try to imagine what goes on insided the head of the kind of person who rips and tears that trust and love right out of their hearts.

Human beings are appallingly good at torture. I can’t remember if we’ve found another animal who takes an inordinately long time at prolonging suffering in their bleeding prey just for the hell of it, but I have no doubt that we’re the leaders in deliberate cruelty, carving away another being’s life piece by living piece and leaving it to waste away in pain.

I get that nature’s red in tooth & claw. I get that we are, at nature, a savage beast, and that evolution for us really hasn’t come as far as it perhaps should. But what’s the point of developing all this civilization and homogenization if we aren’t trying to use our great big brains to think with, to reach beyond the primal knee-jerk reactions and become more complete?

I don’t see very many things in absolutes, but this is one thing I do. I have no compassion for the kind of person who abuses animals, pet or wild.  I don’t think ignorance can be used as an excuse for something so wrong. I am sure there are arguments that it can be. But we’re on this planet to learn about ourselves and our place in the grand scheme of things, so at some point we are personally responsible for realizing not only what should be done but what shouldn’t be done. Otherwise, we’re just so much dross dragging under the wheels.

My problem is figuring out how to help stop this from happening. I’m on several petition sites such as Care2 and NRDC’s Biogems. I speak out about animal abuse on this blog, such as here and here (no graphic pictures, just descriptions on both). I speak out about it in person if I see neglect, such as in pet stores. Neglect is a form of abuse, never doubt that. But I need to do more.

I get so filled with rage and horror and sorrow at the things I’ve seen and heard that I get lost in what becomes impotent fury, and don’t always know how to turn it into something constructive. I haven’t followed PETA for years, for example, because I think that shocking people with image after image doesn’t quite work. What do we do when something comes up that we don’t like? We turn it off. We change the channel. We hit the mute button. The brain doesn’t want to be horrified.

Yet sometimes we do need a shock to remember that every day, some poor animal is whimpering in pain as a big strong person holds it down and systematically tears into it for no other reason than because they can. That shock just needs to be balanced by something concrete we can do to teach and prevent, and save.

And listen. Just because I chose to talk about people who abuse animals and not people who abuse people doesn’t mean a damn thing. You find one, you’ll find the other. It all matters. It all needs to stop.

Reverb11 badge made here.