I usually like to keep this blog easy-going, to dispense my daily sights and sounds using my own 'special' brand of light-hearted drivel - humour some might even say - well those in my pay to say so anyway. However, this month I've been prompted to take things on a more serious note. I say 'prompted' because it came by way of a couple of unavoidable posters I saw on the tube. One detailing poor Archie - a dog that was beaten, neglected, and starved by some numb-nut pet-owner. The other laid out the vicious way some people take puppies and condition them, with weighted collars, prolonged holding of heavy objects in their teeth, starvation, and just downright cruel and injurious treatment, to become agitated, savage killing machines - to then pit them against other dogs - to rip each other to shreds in the pursuit of mere cash and fun.
Dog fighters aren't the only toe-rags to make a trade from animal cruelty - we have badger baiting and cock fighting (all illegal incidentally - however, reports of incidents continue to reach the RSPCA and ISPCA) and the incidences of young people fighting dogs has increased - more alarmingly in public places - doesn't anybody see this going on? With new types of dog fighting appearing, continued reporting of incidents, a consistent number of convictions and reports of badger set interference nearly trebling in the last five years, it must be concluded that organised animal fighting is increasing - and that's not a good sign as to what we tolerate as acceptable behaviour.
Now couple this with the well reported incidents in Ireland lately, where a dog was doused in lighter fuel and set alight in Lisburn - by two lads in their early twenties (the dog - Cody - sadly died a while later from the injuries) - probably made them feel like 'men'. Maybe they'd been knocked back down the pub, by some lassies suitably unconvinced by their sheer masculinity and prowess to squirt lighter fuel on some unsuspecting animal, or their roars of laughter as the poor animal ran off in a ball of suffering flame. And then there was the woman who came across some kids in Derry about to set fire to a kitten (a kitten for god's sake) - with more kittens hidden in the hedge to keep the merriment going - well, what can we say to that except 'what the feck is going on in our so-called civilised nations?'.
If this doesn't alarm people - children and supposed grown adults torturing defenceless animals for kicks and money - then we might as well hasten ourselves into the society we deserve, and start hacking at each other with machetes for the last packet of biscuits in Tescos.
Any society is measured by how it treats its innocents - just as government must legislate for the same, to provide the necessary resources and funding to administer the legislation, and bring prosecutions that carry serious penalties. Just taking an animal away from a cruel owner will not stop them doing it in the future - and what would dog fighters care anyway, they see themselves as outside the law in so many ways anyway, I very much doubt they'll be greatly deterred by the removal of a puppy they were going to torture and kill anyway, or some gesture of a modest fine.
I believe it's also our responsibility - if we want a society that is - to make sure that all citizens live up to this mark, and to report those who don't. We've done it, to some extent, for our children - now let's help our beloved pets and wildlife lead fear and cruelty free existences. Once we were known as the nations of animal lovers - that is a title worth having and fighting for.
But there is a more alarming note here - one that any psychiatrist will confirm. If a young individual is torturing animals for kicks and cash - without any sense of empathy for the suffering of that animal, drawing feelings of self-satisfaction at the agony inflicted - then where do they go next?
I leave that question for you to answer - and ask you to seek-out the various campaigns launched by the RSPCA in the UK, the ISPCA and Animal Shelters in Ireland, or whatever your national animal protection organisation is - and voice your support - something that can be done as easy as sending a tiny donation by text.
Again, a big apology for the serious nature of this blog - I just had to say it - and normal 100% drivel services will be resumed for the next one, my super-strength, full-out BS included.
Slán go fóill - as we say in Ireland
My movie of the month:
Dredd - as a fan of Judge Dredd from the first day 2000AD hit the news-stands - and having been totally disappointed at the first attempt to bring the epic story to the big screen, practically to the point of having to puke - it is just fantastic to see the movie it should always have been, with seedy back-street lawlessness, scumbag gangs, citizens on the edge, and all the things that makes Judge Dredd the real deal - helmet fully intact.
My album of the month:
It'll End in Tears - This Mortal Coil (1984). Howard Devoto, Elizabeth Fraser, Simon Raymonde, Robbie Grey, Gordon Sharp, and a stack of others joined up to make this one of the most haunting, and well written albums of that decade. If you heard it back then - renew your acquaintance. If you're too young, or just haven't heard it - check the album out.
My book of the month:
Disappear - Iain Edward Henn. A stylish, craftily worded thriller, that just draws you in by the sheer inventiveness of the premiss. In this book Iain Edward Henn has managed to draw upon all the elements that makes for intriguing thriller writing - crossing time, social class, love, loss, indulgence, greed, and - to top it off - pure evil. This is a fantastic read - totally suited to those who like their novels to come jagged, and the with ability to tweak the mind and unsettle the soul. My main recommendation - just read it.
Author: The Silver Mist
More information about the Martin and his novels can be found on his website: www.MartinTreanor.com.
The Silver Mist is available - in paperback and Kindle/eBook format - via both UK and US Amazons, Barnes & Noble, Borders, iTunes, Bookiejar, Waterstone's, John Smith's Bookshops, WH Smith's, and all good high street and online stores.