Dear Friends, Dear Readers,
2014 is coming to an end and the time has come to
make the sums of plus and minus, and draw our final conclusion. I did too; and
I have tried to observe and follow movements in society, especially of the
young people, they react faster and talk more easily. My conclusion of 2014?
Here it is:
Animals are our best friends….
The worse humanity gets and the more wars we have,
the more people turn their attention to animals, or rather to the human streak
in animals. Aren’t they cute, why can’t we behave like the animals do, I read in
many messages posted on facebook. Facebook
is a good indicator for trends in society, you can feel the pulse. Not one day
passes without cats and dogs barking and miaowing across the screen, our
companions, with scenes showing the compassion of animals towards their masters
- the faithful friend - watching over new-born babies just as over old people sick
in their bed, or jumping into dangerous waters or through a fire wall to save a
Owners of cats and dogs are proud of showing the
intelligence of their ‘partners’, but it does not stop here, they want to
demonstrate the peacefulness of animals among each other; cats playing with
mice, monkeys, also their big relatives, the orang-utans, cuddling all kind of fledglings,
reminding us of the Tarzan ‘legend’, for me as a kid of ten a true and loved legend
it was…..or the Jungle Book with little Mogli brought up by a wolf family.
Facebook friends outdo one another, dig up video
clips of wild animals establishing family bonds with babies of other species,
scenes never shown before. I can remember that our house cat allowed the small
chicks to find shelter in her warm fur. However, that does happen with
domesticated animals, they get used to each other; or animals in zoos perhaps
or open animal farms where orphans are being kept until they are fit to be
We know of friendship bonds between humans and wild
animals when they had grown up together or when for example lion cubs had lost
their mother and were brought up by a human mom or dad, this bond is forever
valid. We know the story of Jane Goodall and her chimpanzees in Tanzania. But
we don’t have to go that far, we know of relations building up between a farmer
and his cattle, horse breeders and riders and their horses; there are many
animal care centres all around the world looking after abandoned fledglings.
Animal stories are always very touching, the latest
book I read was ‘Bob, the Cat’ a ginger cat adopting a street musician, it went
around the world.
Most of these strong bonds start to form when the
one or other is a small helpless bundle of life, it will automatically be
adopted and cared for by any animal that belongs to the household, the helpless
youngster would not be attacked. When you want to introduce a new animal then
you must get it as a baby, the older they are the more difficult it is to get
them used to each other.
Why is that so? Small living beings still have blind
trust and know nothing of the hardness of life to survive, and when jealousy
sets in and mistrust. While growing up all living beings have their bad
experiences and they build up fences; that is so with human and animal
children; a living being that was hurt will bite.
Trust is the big word, whom can we trust? I often
hear people say, especially older ones that their best friend is their dog or
cat. Trust, the binding link. I have heard of stories where animals are admitted
to hospitals or old age homes to accompany their charge to the final gate,
death, or on the contrary to help recovering, especially when small patients are
feeling alone. I read of another touching story, of a whale in connection with
an English warship in the Atlantic during the Falkland war: La Baline des
Malouines – The Falkland Whale by Pierre Boulle, I loved reading it, it could
have been true.
Unfortunately, there are just as many stories where
the animals are not regarded as our friends but are used to deliver parts of
their body for our personal needs, as aphrodisiac in Asian countries, the fur
of animals for fashion, or are regarded as objects for the uncontrolled hunting
sports. However, the latter must not be mixed up with wildlife management
keeping nature in balance in a wildlife resort, or in our forests where there
are no longer any natural enemies, they have all been extinct. Lawful hunting
is in some areas a must to protect nature. However, in such areas where they
have re-introduced wolves or bears, forest managers have realised an
improvement of nature in general and an interference with arms is no longer
In Buddhism animals are regarded as sentient beings
and the thought that a human can be reborn as an animal or vice versa keeps the
Buddhists in respect of anything living. I used to tell my children,
grandchildren and now great grandchildren that one should always treat animals
with respect because … ‘you never know if one day you will enter their kingdom
and they will remember what you have done to them’ and I taught them to not be
afraid of insects, such as spiders or bees, and rather carry them to safety
when they are trapped somewhere.
I have come a long way now, from the moment I shook my head in wonder over
the many stories on facebook that made me write down my thoughts, right through to Buddhism. It remains a sad fact, however, and we have to
draw the conclusion, at least I do, that we obviously regard animals as a
higher species than humans at the moment with all the wars and killings going
on in our world of humans. Our world is
not in balance.
I wonder if we should not consult the book ‘The
Animal Farm’ by George Orwell in which Old Boar, the leader, calls the humans
parasites and animals take over management.