Friday, November 20, 2009

Living With Limitations-Happily

Loving being in northern Florida....sweet walks to the river and the best piles of organic greens you have ever seen at the farmers market. I just got back from a fantastic visit to Rochester. The RAVS group (Rochester Area Vegetarian Society) group was receptive and warm and I loved doing the program for them.

I watched a service dog and his blind person as they got on the plane and sat in front of me. The huge golden retriever squished his body on the floor between the woman's feet. He did not move the entire flight. Then we all got off at our connection in Charlotte and the blind woman was in the bathroom stall next to mine and the dog just sat and waited for her. The woman got to relieve herself, but the dog didn't. They then got on another flight.

I don't know that much about service dogs, but I do know that this dog seemed to have a broken spirit. The woman did not touch the dog once in all the time on the plane or in the bathroom or between our flights. I have had enough dog experience to know that this dog was not necessarily miserable, but he sure was not happy. It made me think about the various forms of slavery we inflict on other beings. I would define slavery as owning a living being and forcing them to do what we want them to do for us, but with no choice on their part. Many people will think that this blog is unsympathetic towards the blind woman. I am not blind, but I do know that there are other choices for people wanting more mobility despite their physical limitations. It also seems that humans are accustomed to not having to be limited by physical conditions. Some authors have written about people with disabilities wanting access into wilderness areas and that this access has had an effect on the habitat of the wildlife in an area. Paved areas and roads going into a wild area change that habitat and often cause a species to move out of an area or to stop reproducing. We can learn to live with our limitations and enjoy the aspects of life still available to us. I hope I live to see the day that, as a society and as a species, we question the enslavement of other beings or destruction of wilderness for our own desires.

When I am addressing zoos in talks, the concept of our self-centeredness is at the core of what I discuss. Although most of us will never see these animals in the wild, we can accept this rather than enslaving them in unatural habitat in zoos. I recommend the book "The Pygmy in the Zoo" about a Pygmy man (Ota Benga) who was brought to the USA for display. The justification was "most people would never get to see a real live Pygmy if he weren't brought to the USA."
The Pygmy ended up committing suicide.
Ota Benga

The holidays are coming and I wanted to share one of my favorite pieces:

A Holiday Thought…

Aren’t humans amazing Animals? They kill wildlife - birds, deer, all kinds of cats, coyotes, beavers, groundhogs, mice and foxes by the million in order to protect their domestic animals and their feed.

Then they kill domestic animals by the billion and eat them. This in turn kills people by the million, because eating all those animals leads to degenerative - and fatal - - health conditions like heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and cancer.

So then humans spend billions of dollars torturing and killing millions of more animals to look for cures for these diseases.

Elsewhere, millions of other human beings are being killed by hunger and malnutrition because food they could eat is being used to fatten domestic animals.

Meanwhile, few people recognize the absurdity of humans, who kill so easily and violently, and once a year send out cards praying for "Peace on Earth."

~Revised from Old MacDonald’s Factory Farm by C. David Coates

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