DEDICATED TO ALL ANIMALS WHO SUFFER IN HUMAN HANDS
* THIS ARTICLE IS BASED ON TRUE EVENTS *
By Paulo Daniel
InfoNature.Org – The Spirit of Change:
"Look deep into the eyes of any animal, and then for a moment, trade places, their life becomes as precious as yours and you become as vulnerable as them. Now smile if you believe all animals deserve our respect and our protection, for in a way, they are us, and we are them."
- Philip Ochoa (Board Member “ALL FOR ANIMALS”)
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I know that the time for my end is near, and at this moment I can only keep in mind my past, like a flash in front of my eyes. I cannot exactly remember my first days, when I came into this cruel world, but I surely remember the hard life I had to endure along my short life.
This is the story I wish to share with the entire world, because I do not desire for it to be forsaken, I do not desire for others to go trough the same harsh moments I went trough…
I was born in the city streets, along with my family, constituted by mother and brothers. We all lived inside a very old wood box placed in a backyard filled with dirty and dangerous human garbage, a place we called our home, but, where we could never really rest when it rained or in cold days. It was very hard sometimes, we would get wet, sick and we could not even sleep.
I was born in such awful place because my mother was abandoned when her so-called human “friends” found out that she was pregnant. However, this is a strange paradox, since my mother also told me that when she went to live with that human family, she was a baby and that they appear to love her very much, but when she grown-up, they did not given her so much love as before, especially when she got pregnant of me and my brothers. All days I ask myself, what exactly changed in her for them to hate her so much to the point of abandoning her!?
Actually, still today I don’t understand why growing up would have to affect the love of someone for another being, since inside, my mother stayed the same, a very loving and gentle being. What I particularly don’t understand is, why a so-called friend would abandon another friend, especially in the moment when she needed them the most! It’s just not fair. Due to that, they sealed my mother destiny and, obviously she suffered tremendously, it was very hard for her to survive in the streets, since she was not used to that type of life, but was an animal that always lived with humans. Besides her having to take care of herself, she even had to take care of me and my brothers, at total, we were 6 small babies.
In those days it was hard for us to get all the food it was necessary for us to stay alive, there was too many mouths to feed. I remember we used to pass a lot of hunger because my mother could not get all the food, since obviously, as I previously stated, she was inexperienced and as well no other human that would see her in the streets and skinny, would help her, sometimes some people even tried to beat her, maybe because those people did not liked abandoned animals. I just know that I never understood their ways of thoughts.
Even so she tried her best to feed and take care of us, many times she would not eat so there would be more to feed us. Most of the little food she would give us was taken from the trash in the streets, rubbish food that humans would throw away. It was not a joyful experience to eat that food but it was our only chance of survival, and so, we had no choice.
Sometimes during the night she would tell us: “you are the most important thing of my life, I love all of you very much and I will do my best to take care of you”. No doubt that great feelings of love can be felt in her words. Then she would cuddle with us, using her body to protect us from the cold, while she herself would feel the coldness of the outside weather.
Even with all adversities we had to face, my mother has won a lot of battles and, I loved her very much for all that she has given us. Her love and the love of my brothers, was the only love I have ever felt in my whole life, It was the best treasure some one could ever find and I cherished it in a very special way.
I just wished things happened in a different way.
One of the worst times of my life and, something that will always stay in my memory, was when some of my brothers died. My smallest brother died very early, with only weeks. He died because he did not had enough food and got weak, weak to a point that his body could barely move. At the time we were not sure of what to do, and I did not knew what was going to happen to him, but I did not liked, for I could see in his eyes that he was suffering, going trough a slow painful death. I only understood the meaning of the word death when, one morning, I woke up in our improvised “nest”, and with my nose and paws, tried to touch and cuddle with him to help make him warm… this time he did not open his eyes and I also felt he was cold, I got worried because I knew something was very wrong. When our mother arrived, she looked at my brother with a very heartbreaking eyes, and gently told us that our brother was gone, forever. I was shocked beyond words. Right away, my mother gentle picked my brother and took him to another place, where he would rest forever. He was away from our sight, but not away from our heart.
I already knew, since very early on, what was the meaning of the word suffering, but it was at that time that I first understood the meaning of death and the terrible consequences of it. We had just lost one of our family members, something that made me terribly sad, and for a long time, I could barely eat. We never really forgot the deaths of our love ones, we remembered them every single day, especially my mother. In front of us she would not show weakness, but I knew that deep inside she was overwhelmed with the loss of her children.
Unfortunately this was just the first of other incidents, in time, other brothers of mine also died. One was caught by another animal and never seen again. Another brother, the curious one, just went to play too close to the road and a car hit him. Also, one of the nights when our mother was searching for some food, two other brothers of mine were playing in another part of the backyard, and were lured by two humans who picked them up very aggressively, put them inside black plastics bags, punched the bags for sometime and then just run away with them. I was lucky, since my instincts told me to hide, but even so I could hear them screaming for help while the humans disappeared in the dark of the night. I wanted to help, but the humans were too big and strong, and I was too small and weak. I never saw them again, I am not sure what the humans wanted and why they did such thing, but my mother, in tears, told me that it was wicked people, people who just don’t like animals, who just don’t understand that we are not things, that they see us like a curse and not like sentient beings, who also are capable of feeling.
I know I am young and that I have so much to learn in this world, but something’s just don’t make any sense whatsoever. After all, why would humans believe I am not capable of feeling, when right now, I feel very sad and desperate, to know that my last brothers were taken away to be killed. I wonder, if they would like for some other animal to go to their houses, to kidnap their children, beat them and then take them away, to a dreadful destiny, to torture, to a certain death. I do not believe they would like such thing, so, why to do it to us?! We also deserve respect and a chance to live free and happily.
Those questions never disappeared of my mind. My mother suffered a great deal with all of this and, she tried her best to protect me even more, she told me she would give her life for me. This is how much she loved me, this is how much I loved her. Unfortunately, I never thought that this supposition would become a reality.
One day, while I was cuddling with her inside the wood box, we heard very loud noises and saw a construction machine coming toward us. As fast as we could we left the backyard were I lived all my life and, as we looked back, we saw it being destroyed by the machines. We had just lost our home. My mother told me it was time to move, to search for new places to live and struggle. We continued for some time, until we reach a place that my mother thought would be good for us.
We settle in that field, near some abandoned buildings and a factory. Unfortunately some time later, my mother got sick. I asked her what was going on, she told me that she made a mistake, that while she wondered around the area, she found out that the entire area and water was contaminated with chemicals made by humans in the nearby abandoned factory. She told me that chemicals are products that are very dangerous to nature and animal life. I could easily see that she was quite weak, and then she hold me close and told me everything would be alright, that she loved me and was there for me. As she said that I smiled and felt a very warm sensation inside of me, I was hoping that she would be alright.
However, in that same night, some young people were passing in the area and making a lot of noise, kicking the trash of on the ground, swearing and shouting. In the hands they had several bottles of some strange beverage called beer. My mother sensed trouble and told me to be quiet. As they came closer to us, we tried to hide but they saw us and, since I was still very young and slow, tried to catch me first. My mother put herself between me and them, she used her claws to defend me. The young humans didn’t stopped and kicked my mother several times. I was astonish and tried to help her, but she told me to just run, to run away and to never look back. I wanted to stay but they were between me and her, and I could not do anything… I cried and screamed while running as fast as I could until I was safe. That was the last time I saw my mother. Later on I went back to see if I could find her on the same place, she wasn’t there. I waited and waited many days for her, she never returned. Finally I realized I just lost my mother, that I had lost love itself. Now I was all alone. In that same instance it started to rain, I looked up, and as the rain felled down my face, it was hard to distinguish which drops belonged to the rain, and which ones were from my tears.
Since that terrible day that I had to learn how to do everything, to be independent, to find the food, a place to stay, to avoid the dangers of the streets. There were times that I was almost run over by cars and chased by other animals or humans. I managed to survive quite a long while, sometimes had better opportunities than others, always alone, but one thing would always stay with me and make me company in the dark and cold nights… the good memories of the family I lost, and the deep love I felt for them.
One of the days, while I was wandering the streets, I was looking for food because I haven’t ate nothing for quite a while, and I was feeling weak. Suddenly I saw a human throwing a piece of food into another part of the street, it seemed good to eat, so I rushed to try to arrive there first. As much as I wanted, I was not able to do such, another hungry animal arrived there first and claimed the food only for himself. When I tried to take a small piece for myself because my life depended on it, he attacked me and, since I was feeling weak, I didn’t stood a chance. I tried to escape and run into a dark alley, but I was hit hard, lost some of my fur, was all dirty and skinny, and worst of all, my face, neck and backs were bleeding due to the sharp claws and teeth’s of the other animal.
I felt that my strengths were vanishing quite fast, I did not had the energies to keep searching for food or even a place to sleep, I was simply exhausted and just wanted some rest. I walked a little more, into the street and just fallen into the ground. While I was there in the ground I saw humans walking by and, as a desperate measure, I screamed to make sure they would notice me and, hopefully help me. While I was screaming, a few people looked at me but right away decided to ignore me, as if I didn’t existed. At that moment I just felt like I was nothing, just like another stone on the sidewalk. One human child saw me and tried to get close to me, telling the parents that I was hurt and needed to be taken care of. I could see that the child was really worried about me, I felt like there was hope, but the parents just told her: “Let that thing alone, it’s all dirty, it’s ugly and it might give you flees”. Hearing such just hurts too much, the impact of the words can sometimes be devastating. How cruel and insensitive can people be? I did nothing to those human beings, and yet, in my worst moment I felt I was treated like rubbish. Can they see that I hurt as well?! If they looked deeply into my eyes, they would understand what my existence truly means.
I was tired and felt my remaining strength was fading away… for an instant, in that moment, I just did not cared, and closed my eyes. While I had my eyes closed and on the middle of the street, I could still hear the footsteps of humans. To me it was the footsteps of insensitivity and selfishness, of beings that do not care if other beings die… and due to that, I did not cared if I died, after all, my fight was long, exhaustive and I just lost all hope.
Minutes later, I was almost falling asleep, when I heard a strange van stopping near me. A man leaves the van with a net and walks toward me. He caught me with the net and put me inside a tiny cage that was in the van. I did not understood what was happening and I could not run since I was too weak, but obviously that I got very frightened and I felt like I just lost all my freedom. The lack of freedom was a new sensation, one that was taking me to a new level of suffering and that I was starting to deeply hate.
Some time later I was taken inside a very dirty building and put in another very tiny cage. I was able to look around, and I could see that there were lots of animals in cages inside that complex. I looked to all of them and they all looked very sad. I asked some of them what was the place we were in, and they simply replied that we were there to die!
With the shock I did not said anything, I suppose I just accepted my destiny, and just tried to rest until that destiny arrived.
A few days had passed, and I could say that life inside that prison was hard. I cold not move at all and the food was scarce. I was new at the place, but I was able to look at other animals, my fellow prisoners, and to sense their pain and anguish. Since we could not do anything because of the cages, we had plenty of time to talk to each others. I heard plenty of stories, and learned that each animal had a different story to tell, some good but with an awful ending, and most of them were really terrible.
Some of the animals said that they always lived inside cages and were brutalized, because of that, they had become aggressive or lost their sense of reality and had psychological problems, some even severe ones. Others told me they lived with Human families when they were young, but that were abandoned when they had grown up, because they were no longer small and cute or because the human family had to go on vacations. It reminds me of my mother sad destiny. My new friends also told me that many of them who are in this place will not survive because most people don’t care about abandoned animals, instead of adopting those who are here in this prison, they prefer to buy animals in “pet shops”, such animals who are sold are simply viewed as merchandised, exploited as a way to make a profit and the people who buy animals don’t understand that they are supporting a terrible industry and treating animals as things.
Some of the stories were even more terrible, I heard how animals had eaten some poisoned food given to them and died, others were beaten or run over by cars and as a result some lost paws, other body parts or have chronic health problems. Also, some of them testify that in some cases they saw humans shooting animals for fun, torturing and picking them up and throwing them to a river inside a plastic bag to suffocate or to drown. I remember the past and I wonder, is that what happen to my two little brothers? I don’t think I can ever forgive those people!
So, while I waited for death, and during the short period of time I was in the cage, I was able to meet many different types of animals, different races, different colors, different lives, there were so many different stories and suffering issues… but we all shared two things in common… we all had feelings, and we were all subjugated to the Human selfish needs. It’s just not fair, no living being should be imprisoned, enslaved, tortured, explored or killed for the selfish needs of another being. I wonder, would those beings that hurt and explore others, to enjoy suffer the same horrific destiny?
Due to those stories I have heard, I learned quite a lot about Humans and that they can be really mean to us. Many of the animals told me that in some way or another, Humans don’t show enough respect for the animals and use and abuse them as they please, to have fun with us, to test us or to make us work for them.
I even heard that they also like to eat us by the dozen of billions every year, to make all type of horrifying tests on us and to skin us alive for our fur. The animals who talk about this call it the Animal Holocaust. The suffering of all these billions and billions of animals cannot be conceivable. How dreadful our destiny is on the hands of insensitive humans. I wonder, would human beings that hurt and explore others, to enjoy suffer the same horrific destiny as us?
I suppose that basically many Humans see animals as things, as property, not as a living and sentient beings who deserves all the inherent respect, they even admit it when they claim to own this or that animal, like it was a property, not a friend or a Being. But this is bizarre, to see animals as objects, after all don’t they know that they are animals as well? So I ask, to anyone who can answer me, why do they hate us so?
While I was meditating in those questions, a Human family entered inside the area I was, all of the sudden the other animals got agitated and were talking to themselves, saying “Here is my chance”, or “I hope I am selected this time”. I was curious about what all of that meant, I asked the animal close to me, and he told me that it was a chance for someone to be adopted and to be able to go out of that place. I asked what happens to those that are not adopted and, in a cold voice he tells me: “they get killed”.
I immediately understood what it meant to me and the others, the importance of it. I never had a Human family, but I also wanted to be adopted, to be saved from that prison and horrible place and to be loved. However, it passed trough my mind that, if I get saved, it means another animal will die. It’s just not fair. No one should have the power to decide who lives or who dies, I believe all living beings should be respected equally, have the right to live, to live freely. No one should be above others, there should be no masters, only brothers, only equals.
Few minutes later the Human family was very close to my cage and still looking around. They looked at me in a strange manner and, while doing so, one of them commented that they do not wish to adopt ugly and skinny animals. Once again, the words hurt me deeply. Then, they look at another cage and saw one animal of breed that was beautiful and was in perfect shape. They immediately chose that animal to be adopted. As I saw them walking away, I thought to myself the words that they had told me and thought that, the animal they took can be physically beautiful, but does it matter to them that that specific animal has a very wild temper and can be somewhat aggressive! Why did they chosen him when there are many animals, who in the outside may not be so beautiful, but that in the inside are, and that could be very tender and warm towards them. Maybe if they don’t like the temper of the animal, which is most likely, they will abandon him. Another animal treated like a possession.
I just know that, true beauty comes from deep within, which is reflected in my feelings, not in my fur, not in my looks, not in appearance, going beyond all that, to what I truly am.
I just know that, due to superficial reasons, I and many others had just lost a chance to be saved, maybe even the last one.
Days later, a man opens the exterior door, he walks in my direction and I realize that he came for me. He took me out of my cage and forced me to go with him. It was in that moment that I realized that it was the time, the time for them to kill me.
Slowly, he takes me into another division and puts me on the top of a table. He wants to make sure I don’t try to run away, and so he restrains me very tight into the table. When he is done, I cannot move at all. The entire situation stresses me too much, especially when I see him handling a needle. I am not sure what is inside the needle, but I know it is not good for me.
I would like to run, but I can’t… He comes near me and injects that substance inside my body. He tells me: “It’s ok, it’s all over now”. While he looks at me and says that, I feel pain and I start to loose my conscience, slowly, everything becomes dark. In my mind I try to run away from the darkness, but I fail, I don’t have the strength to fight it. This is for sure my final battle, one I could never win.
And so, here we are now, in the final moments of my short and sad life…
… This was the story of my life, which I do not desire it to be forgotten. I do not wish for my experiences and my pain to be forsaken, I do wish that when you think of my story, you can see it reflected into the eyes of every abandoned and mistreated animal, because I do know their pain of solitude and anguish, either physically and emotionally, and would not like for other of my animal brothers to pass trough the same that I passed.
Along my story I did not stated if I was a cat, a dog or even other animal, because, what really matters is not the type of animal I am but most importantly, I share one thing in common with all my other fellow animals, including the humans… that I am capable of feeling, having pain and emotions.
In my entire life, I never asked for much, I just wanted the chance to have a good friend, someone that could give me a place I could call home, somewhere I could have a chance to live a happy and free life, with unconditional love. I never had that chance, but at least, I hope my animal brothers do, I hope they get the respect they deserve. If that happens, at least I die in tranquility, knowing I helped making a difference.
I just wish one thing to happen between Human animals and animals, and that is… living together in the world, in peace and harmony.
By Paulo Daniel
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“Compassion to animals is one of the noblest virtues of human nature.”
Charles Darwin (1809-1882)
"As long as people will shed the blood of innocent creatures there can be no peace, no liberty, no harmony between people. Slaughter and justice cannot dwell together."
Isaac Bashevis Singer
"Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages."
Thomas A. Edison (1847-1931)
"Until he extends the circle of compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace."
"The question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? But rather, Can they suffer?"
Jeremy Bentham (19th century Philosopher, Oxford University)
"Life is life--whether in a cat, or dog or man. There is no difference there between a cat or a man. The idea of difference is a human conception for man's own advantage..."
Sri Aurobindo (Poet and philosopher)
"All the arguments to prove man's superiority can not shatter this hard fact: In suffering, the animals are our equals."
Peter singer (Animal Liberation)