I have been thinking a lot about the problems that go along with humans thinking that we can own any living being. Around the world there are still many regions where women are owned by men. There are other regions where children are owned by parents and are sold into slavery. As soon as someone becomes property, the owner of this being has the legal right to do anything he or she wants to with this property. Pretty much anyone reading this blog would agree that no human is property and no human should be in a position to be bought and sold as property. This is clear. What isn’t so clear for most people is where to draw the line when it comes to non-humans. A friend of the folks we are house/horse/dog sitting for came by with his cows yesterday to let them graze on the land there. He brought the mothers first. The were stressed and agitated because their nursing babies were not with them. About two hours later he arrived with the babies and each mother ran to their child who was running to them. Then they got as far away from that trailer as they could….they literally were heading for the hills. This farmer sees himself as their owner. As their owner, he will decide when to separate them and when to send some of them to slaughter.
I cannot find any logical or caring argument for owning a living being. We care for our dog, but we are not her “owners” and she is not our property.
Organizations like Heifer International and Outreach International think that living beings make great gifts and have built their organizations around the idea of ownership of living beings (non-human slaves). Both organizations also have valuable programs that do not involve the sale, shipping and slaughter of non-human slaves. Heifer has programs that focus on community gardens. Outreach International has programs that provide acreage, school supplies, education, sewing machines, clothing, water wells, cooking stoves, carpentry tools, medical supplies, and fruit trees to communities. If Outreach International would just stick with the non-slave programs, I would love to support them and encourage others to do the same. But photos of happy people holding cute animals that you can buy and have sent to a community are the ones that really bring in the big revenue.
So instead of these other valuable programs being enough, goats, sheep, chickens, cows, water buffaloes, fish and other beings suffer and die to supposedly help these communities. For the whole story on the reality for the living beings sold by organizations like these, go to this link:
Please spread the word between now and the next holiday season. Let the people in your life know that they can donate to compassionate organizations that support sustainable choices. They can make a donation to any of a number of groups who are not promoting the use of living beings as property. Also, if you care about ending this type of accepted slavery, please contact organizations that sell living beings as "gifts" and let them know that you would support their other programs if they eliminated the offering of living beings.
I would not want to be thought of as property. I would not want to be bought and sold to whoever can offer the best price. I want to be treated as an individual and live a life free of needless pain and suffering. This is true for all beings. Even the tiniest housefly will avoid being killed and will choose life.
There was a time in my life that I would look at a group of animals and just see a species. A group of cows, a group of goats, a group of birds, etc. It is different for me now. I have met too many of them one to one, face to face. Now, as I look in the eyes of the owned beings on the land we are now parked on, I see individuals, not property. The same is true as I look at these catalogs selling these beings as products. I see individuals, not species.