I have always been crazy about horses. I spent the better part of my tenth year whinnying, and around the same time nearly met my maker when a horse I was riding tried to roll over and crush me because it could sense how much of a soft touch I was. When I was 13, I went to a horseback riding camp for two months and nearly crippled my horse with an oozing saddle sore because I couldn’t bear to tighten the cinch.

Through animals, I understood something early on about the fragility of life. My father once caught a gray field mouse in a trap and I lunged to touch it. “Get away!” he shouted, and I cried. I think it was my mother who gave me two baby turtles, one painted blue and the other yellow. I thought it was fantastic, fantastical, until someone told me they would suffocate. I tried to wipe off the paint but couldn’t, and I cried. After, there slowly dawned in me the idea that cruelty abounded, and then it became more than an idea. I learned about bull goring, and dog fighting, and fox hunting, and more.

A few days ago I heard on the radio a story about how the bloated rich in China race pigeons and how birds that are not fast enough are gassed or drowned or decapitated. How is it, I wonder, that we come to lose our humanity or perhaps never find it in the first place.  


4 thoughts on “Back on my high horse

  1. In “civilised” China they also eat live animals like snakes and various seafood creatures. As long as humans believe they are in charge of Earth and wrong-doers aren’t adequately punished for their cruelty, there will always be crime against other lifeforms. Lobbying for much tougher sentencing against those who are being convicted of animal cruelty will be one way to put a stop to it (how about an eye for an eye for its educational value?).

    1. Yes, I agree that people who abuse animals (including human ones) should be punished. There are some pretty tough laws in the US, though, and more and more people here are facing pretty serious crimninal charges. Thanks for your message. Leslie

      1. Although laws in the UK and Germany have got tougher, it is still not enough and the majority of people walk away with just a fine despite having committed the most cruel acts. If the punishment fitted the crime, the rate of animal cruelty would probably sink to ZERO!

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