A friend of mine is worried that her neighbours seem less than human to her. The reason, she says, is that they are heartless. She described their casual cruelties to cats. Nasty things that have become so common, it doesn’t even rate a paragraph in the newspapers. Listening to her made me very depressed. And it got me thinking: what is wrong with us? Compared to previous generations we’ve unparalleled opportunities for education, advancement and comfort. So why are we going backwards?
And it led me to this:
Despite the Net, satellite TV, proliferation of books and other communication channels, most of the people I meet have little or no interest in learning about the world around them. They’ll scan a newspaper but they won’t read a book. They’ll watch soaps but not documentaries. They are so afraid to expand their horizons, they even avoid talking to strangers. There is a fear that is creating an increasingly insular society. And among the primary effects of this trend, is the way we treat the animals in our world.
Too many people think of cats, dogs, birds, and other animals as things or objects rather than conscious fellow creatures. They think nothing of driving over animals in their cars, of putting poison down in their gardens, or of throwing out a guard dog or animal dependent who is ill or old or inconvenient. They encourage kids to throw stones at animals by drumming it into them that all animals are wild, dangerous, and poised to attack.
If we want a nicer world, we need to lose our fear and open up to new experiences. Me, I’m going to start by going out for a walk, giving Scoop a long brush and watching Animal Planet. Hopefully it will cure the Sunday blues.