Free- A Good 4-letter Word

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Some cities and organizations and even individuals catch feral cats and kill them. They say that living free is inhumane, that they are better off dead.

Can you imagine believing that without a lap to sit on and a can of factory-farmed pate, life has no value?

These people must have never tasted freedom themselves, or else they are jealous of the liberty of others.

I know this–there is no squirrel in my yard that would rather be in my house. Same goes for the free-roaming cats. But I am glad that I don’t have to spay and neuter the squirrels. that would be time-consuming, not to mention costly.

FERAL POWER!

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What Is A Wild Horse Worth?

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The American Mustang Nation is making its last stand.

Again.

After decades of cynically eroding the safety net of dedicated lands and protective regulations created in the early 1970s after an outcry by the American Public, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), entrusted by us with Wild Horse protection and management, is not far from wiping them out entirely and deliberately. A recent plan to execute 35,000 wild horses languishing in private captivity at taxpayers’ expense was stalled, but not necessarily abandoned, when wild horse advocates publicly sounded the alarm.

A huge and ambitious preservation project conceived by a well-known horse advocate is working valiantly to intervene and to provide a safe haven for some of the threatened horses. At the same time, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), while maintaining an option to kill its current prisoners for lack of money, continues against all conventional logic to conduct “gathers,” their euphemism for the brutal abduction, incarceration, splintering and frequent death of Mustang families and herds.

To a great extent, it is the self-serving business considerations of cattle ranchers, enjoying the bargain usage of our public lands, which are leaving the future of the wild horses in the dust of the helicopters which are terrorizing and forcing them into a chute to oblivion.

The battle cry of wild horse supporters often heard ringing sincerely in the air is that the Mustangs warrant protection because they represent our Western Heritage, that horses have served humanity in war and work, and that they should be saved for the benefit of our children and future generations.

To rely on this argument, however, is akin to arguing that Africans brought forcibly and tragically to this country as slaves deserved their freedom as a reward for all their hard labor, or because their songs and traditions were picturesque. It is as perpendicular to the truth as saying that the splendor of the National Parks should be spared from development because future generations will appreciate a lovely vacation spot. We know these are not the real reasons to do the right thing. They contain some facts, but they are not the Truth.

No, consider instead that the Mustangs generate and perhaps even deserve our love, awe, consideration, protection and respect because they are another ancient and dignified nation of Earthlings, a parallel civilization which developed without our input or despite it, fellow Earth-dwellers of a different and brilliant design with a self-evident interest in survival and life on their own terms. They open their eyes at birth and see the same world to which we as newborn humans awaken, a challenging landscape in which they, like us, and much more quickly than us, must find a safe path to travel. Walking and running that difficult path, their feet feelthe same Earth beneath them as do ours. It is an Earth that is also theirs, despite the papers and rituals we have invented in order to believe that we own something that is far beyond ownership. They are not interlopers, their trail began here. That they are beautiful, or that they signify something meaningful to our species is true, and yet misses the heart of the Truth.

To the extent that a reminder of the horses’ role in human history can be persuasive in the campaign to prevent their genocide, it may be a helpful reference. However, if we hope to once and for all stop the war against them, no matter how often greed and politics lift their unsleeping heads in the future, we must understand to our cores that their worth is not solely in our eyes. We who would save the Mustang permanently must demand that those to whom we have entrusted their guardianship do what is right simply because it is right, rather than in the interest of human benefit, past, present or future. There are also benefits, in some human hearts, to eradicating this noble Nation.

If we battle these crimes against them not as repayment for the horse’s servitude or beauty, but in the name of Justice, we can stop the present stampede into extinction and prevent the next. For if the children who will someday captain our businesses and governments are taught and feel this Truth now, their grown generation will not need to protect the Mustangs. As respected fellow Earthlings, even fellow Americans, the free and natural Horse will not then be under attack.

Unless, unthinkably, we fail today.

Unless, by then, they are just a magnificent memory.

Is It Really Hard To Stop Hurting Animals?

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There is a tendency for some of us who wish to promote veganism—a way of living which excludes the use of animals for food, clothing and other exploitation— to cushion the call to action with a warning / acknowledgement / suggestion that it is a difficult thing to do.

While this is surely the case for some people, for others, including me, it has happened quickly and painlessly when the time was right. To set the stage for interested seekers to expect hardship invites failure or a refusal to even try.

For someone who still really wants to eat animals and their secretions, or still wants to wear a fur coat or a silk shirt, but resists for health or moral reasons understood but not felt, it is certainly hard to do. They have to exert Willpower to resist things they still desire, and this almost inevitably leads to a failure to maintain the “sacrifice”. Someone who gives up meat for “health reasons” very often reverts, occasionally or permanently. But for someone who has internalized the horror and immorality of subjecting other feeling beings to abuse and slaughter, and who simply refuses to, simply cannot—just won’t— be a part of this any longer, there is no feeling of deprivation, and no enticement which can make them go back to participating in these injustices.

I call this Won’tPower, and in contrast to WillPower, it is effortless to maintain. Let me tell you what pushed the button in my being and changed my life in an instant.

At the time, I subscribed to the Los Angeles Times newspaper. I sat down one morning and turned to the feature section, and began reading a human-interest story about a man who had become very bitter about life due to some tragic personal experiences. He had become very hard-hearted.

He somehow got a job in a slaughterhouse, killing lambs—baby sheep— as they came by in procession, he took their just-beginning lives with a knife. One day, a particular lamb passed his station, and he stabbed as before. But before this lamb could fall, mortally wounded, she turned and tenderly licked her own blood from her killer’s hand.

The man broke down, had an instant change of heart, his bitterness melted, he left and became a minister, enriching lives instead of ending them. I folded the paper, set it down, and have never looked back, except to regret that I had not saved the article!

It is important to note that I had already been thinking about the morality of eating animals, primarily due to my experience of having my first dog as an adult, with all the revelations that living with another species brings, and having met someone’s “pet” turkey, who had expressed as much interest in me as had their Great Dane dog. In other words, the time was right for me, much as the time has to be right to change any ingrained habit, whether it’s smoking, drinking or anything else.

So if you have been wrestling with the ethics of consuming and wearing animals, if you are torn, keep wrestling. Keep thinking and considering. Keep the internal quest alive. When it coincides with the thing—your own personal newspaper article—that pushes your moral button, you may find that it is the easiest and most satisfying thing you have ever done.

What Breaks My Heart

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We are agents of Good but represent Evil;
We are children of God but friends of the Devil;
We are called to be Angels but choose to be Demons.
We have hands of true Heros but use them as Monsters.

That is what breaks my heart.