The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.
-- Mohandas K. Gandhi
My love for animals is what initially compelled me to write this blog, but after a week trying to comprehend the indigestible news relating to child exploitation and paedophilia, I knew I had to bring the two together and publish my thoughts about both.
The 1st September may be just another day in most people's diaries, but for hundreds of dolphins in the Taiji Sea it heralds the start of yet another season of inhumane and barbaric slaughter of their family pods - largely fuelled by greed and our perverse curiosity to witness beautiful creatures jumping through hoops in dolphinariums and aquatic parks. This so called traditional hunt has been going on for many years, though sadly it was only brought to my attention last year.
"One day the absurdity of the almost universal human belief in the slavery of other animals will be palpable. We shall then have discovered our souls and become worthier of sharing this planet with them."
-- Martin Luther King, Jr
Since being a little girl I have loved dolphins and like many others my dream to swim with these intelligent sentient beings is no 7 on my bucket list, just above witnessing The Northern Lights. It's still on my bucket list today, but with a difference - the difference being it will be at the Dolphin's discretion and in the sea, wild and free.
I was lucky enough to grow up with a Father who cherished wildlife and animals. He would endeavour to capture Spiders and Daddy Long Legs in an empty pint pot and then set them free outdoors. He would painstakingly hand rear sick birds in our garage and he even gave the kiss of life to our pet goldfish, simply called 'Goldie.' It's not surprising some of his compassion has rubbed off on me, and it breaks my heart to see the deluge of pictures and videos capturing horrendous and obscene acts of cruelty to countless animals on social network sites.
Across the world animals are being hunted and killed in vast numbers (some on the brink of extinction) by human hands and unlike animals that kill purely to survive, for most humans this is not the case. It is our continual thirst to fulfil desires, either by trinkets and clothes to adorn, ancient beliefs in healing powers, pleasure and sport. Animals skinned alive, used as punch bags, beaten, reared for canned hunting, killed in zoos because they don't have the right DNA, experimented with and tossed out of cars in refuse bags. There is even evidence from animal right organisations such as PETA, which shows horrendous and unnecessary cruelty bestowed upon animals raised for our food chain, in some of the abattoirs.
I bring to your attention the annual hunt in Taiji, not to single out any one violation against defenceless creatures, but to highlight our ruthlessness as human beings. There isn't one country who can point the finger at another, without the other three pointing back to their own, and yet throughout every Village, Town, City, Country and Nation, there are millions of compassionate beings who hope and pray for the end of all slaughter and violence.
I now switch to the recent shocking revelations about missing files relating to the harrowing allegations of child abuse, whilst at the same time children's homes meant to protect and keep them safe from harm are also under scrutiny. Pillars of our society seemingly closing rank to cover up years of exploitation derived from sickening desires and pleasures, without regard for another's pain and suffering. This time though their commodity is not vulnerable animals, but vulnerable children.
Where does it end?
"If only we can overcome cruelty, to human and animal, with love and compassion we shall stand at the threshold of a new era in human moral and spiritual evolution - and realize, at last, our most unique quality: humanity."
~ Jane Goodall
Sometimes I feel suffocated and overwhelmed by the constant barrage of grisly news, however despite this I still believe each one of us can make a difference. No matter how small we may feel our contribution, we can help change the future for our children and our children's children. Through mindfulness and compassionate choices in our lives, behaviour, consumption and actions we have the ability to create a ripple effect, which will not only touch those around us, but will instinctively touch many others too. We can be a voice for the voiceless and never underestimate the power that we all hold within to help create a better world!