An­i­mals are fight­ing back

Harefield Gazette - - OPINION -

BE­HIND the smoke­screen of world un­rest, an an­i­mal fight back has been launched – and no-one has even no­ticed. First the lynx who es­caped from the zoo. Hur­rah. No an­i­mal should be caged or pa­raded for en­ter­tain­ment. I just hope all the per­form­ing mon­keys and danc­ing bears join the lynx’s mil­i­tant ten­dency, and also take a flight to free­dom.

Next the bull fight in which the bull won. Mata­dors choose to fight with the ex­pec­ta­tion of glory but the an­i­mals clearly do not have any choice in the painful death that nor­mally awaits them.

Did you know that bulls have Vase­line smeared over their eyes so they can’t see to de­fend them­selves? Hardly a fair fight. They didn’t even do that to the glad­i­a­tors in An­cient Rome.

I can’t bear it when peo­ple ques­tion whether an­i­mals feel like us. Have they never seen a dog hap­pily greet­ing its owner, eyes bright and tail wag­ging, or a cat fu­ri­ous when it can’t get its own way (ie sit in your chair)? Or an ill-treated pack horse cowed in fear?

Who can deny the pride of mam­mals feed­ing and com­fort­ing their young, or their dis­tress when their ba­bies are dragged away too soon? Don’t kid your­self that they don’t ex­pe­ri­ence emo­tions just as we do. If we were the an­i­mals, would we not ex­pect them to be­have more kindly to us, than we do to them?

But then, we don’t treat each other that well do we? I have writ­ten in this col­umn many times over the years that I feared for to­day’s chil­dren be­ing brought up on a diet of bloody com­puter games, TV pro­grammes glam­or­is­ing se­rial killers and mass mur­der­ers, and re­al­ity shows which make stars of peo­ple who are cruel or cor­rupt.

The chil­dren with­out lov­ing fam­i­lies to guide what they watch, have grown up with a skewed idea of who are the he­roes and who the vil­lains.

No won­der we are see­ing so-called lone wolves com­mit­ting ter­ri­ble atroc­i­ties on in­no­cent peo­ple. But come to think of it, that is an in­sult to wolves, who don’t hunger af­ter fame, or achieve it by in­dis­crim­i­nate killing.

Phyl­lis Whit­sell, the author of the in­ter­na­tional best­seller Find­ing Tip­per­ary Mary (the book I helped her with) is back at Water­stones in Uxbridge to­day (Wed­nes­day) at noon. It’s a chance to meet her or get a signed copy of the newly pub­lished pa­per­back ver­sion.

Con­tact bmail­bar­bara@gmail.com

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