My experience of forced detention this weekend brought to mind something I'd been thinking about for a while. I've read--and completely believe--that one of the surest predictors of human adult criminal behavior (and one of the most common elements of the biographies of all serious human criminals) is cruelty to animals. Child psychologists take cruelty to animals as a very serious and important sign that something is very wrong.
Why don't humans realize that their behavior to and with animals in ALL spheres of life is a very good indicator of their larger problems with each other? And that it is impossible to act one way with animals and another with humans. And that it would be a lot easier to fix problems with human society if the very behaviors which caused these problems were not completely accepted with animals?
1) My mother is all up in arms about the Guantanamo detentions, writing letters, signing petitions whatever. Fine. I agree. But then she goes and sends me to the kennel with nary a second thought? And thinks that inventing some euphemism like "doggie hotel" can mask the true nature of this imprisonment? And whenever anybody calls her on it, defends herself with how well they treat me, all the food and toys I have, bla bla bla. True--but irrelevant. All of this can be given or taken away at the whim of a cranky kennel worker, there are no outside observers who can verify the conditions, I have no access to a lawyer, press, or communication with the outside world when inside (see my post from Friday for the lengths I had to go to just to post one lousy, inoffensive blog!) And if those Guantanamo detainees complained about being harrassed by dogs!--try being in a room with a wheezing Pug, a horny bulldog, and a farting Dacshund for two days! If that isn't torture, then I don't know what is!
2) Racism. Humans wring their hands about how to stop it, decry it in public soundbites, protest that they would never be racist...and then go and pay $500 for a purebred dog, have its ears clipped to conform to some imposed standard of beauty, and prostitute it to other "pure" animals in order to pad their bank accounts? Hello? Any hypocrisy here? Don't you think that looking down on a mutt, or a purebred whose tail might Dog Forbid be a millimeter too long keeps those discrimination muscles in practice? I should point out that NO dog--from mutt to Westminster champion--harbors any of these human-imposed prejudices. We do not distinguish between ladies and tramps. But we suffer no end at all levels of doggie society (what do you think it does to my self-esteem to know that my adoption was only half the cost of the "purebred" in the cage next door? If you poke us, do we not bark the same?) There is a woman at the dog park whose dog is half-Basset/half- Beagle--could not be more half-and-half if you took a computer program and merged the breeds like they do with celebrities on Conan O'Brien. And yet, even in the face of textbook Beagles and Bassets who so clearly do not look like her dog--or rather, look like exactly half like her dog--she maintains that she has a purebred beagle (presumably so as not to recognize that she paid $500 for a "mutt.") How can that level of self-delusion and obsession with appearances not spread into other aspects of her life?
Anyway, I'm just saying. Humans: take a look at yourselves. And then at your pets. Compare. Contrast.