An anguishing cry erupts from the snout of a helpless, furry German shepherd as its owner kicks the dog’s ribcage and winds back for yet another shot. With blood-matted fur and four broken legs, the once-beloved pet struggles to stay alive for just one more day, but the harsh snap heard throughout the room signifies a fatal blow. The sharp pain of a broken neck and the lack of movement from the beast’s lungs indicate only death.
More than 113 pets will meet a similar fate as this dog in the next hour.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, nearly one million animals are abused or killed each year in cases of domestic violence.
While this story undoubtedly leaves you with a silent rage and disgust at whoever would do this senseless act to a pet, if I began with an alternative vignette of an animal’s death, would you have felt differently?
Let us start over.
Gasping and struggling for one more breath, a baby seal’s body clings to the last ounce of life before the painful burning sensation that accompanies suffocation overcomes the furry creature. The rhythmic rise and fall of a body indicative of life ceases with a slow outpouring of carbon dioxide from the animal’s lungs.
No more gasps of air can be heard from the seal, as it lies dead from the plastic wear that you used for last month’s dinner lodged in its throat.
Ten more creatures will follow the desolate end that this poor seal met before the hour is finished.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), more than 100,000 marine mammals die each year from ingestion of debris dumped in the ocean, or entanglement in ropes, fishing line or other litter rolling in the water’s waves.
In both cases, an animal dies as the result of human action, whether it was active or passive is the only difference.
You would not kill or abuse a pet out of rage. Why, then, would you do so through ignorance and lack of concern?
An estimated four billion plastic bags are found floating in the air, stuck in trees, washing up on shores and resting on forest floors throughout the world each year, according to the EPA.
This litter can potentially claim the lives of countless animals, causing suffocation or harmful chemicals to be released in the bloodstream if ingested.
Yet, while we would call the police on the man beating his dog, we would only frown at the individual throwing a Walmart bag out of his window.
Animals are one of the great joys that humans are able to experience in this life.
Their beauty and childlike curiosity causes us infinite happiness, and the benefits that they provide are endless.
Should we anthropomorphize and project our own feelings onto these animals? If it results in an end to pollution that claims their lives and the termination of senseless killing and abuse of these animals, then the answer is an easy yes.
The Lord calls for us to be good stewards of the earth, to take care of the creatures that we interact with and the environment in which we live. Why, then, do we continue to help lead the world to its own destruction?
Our trash invades the habitats of animals and our inaction causes them to experience painful deaths. The flotsam and jetsam of the ocean should not be painted with plastic and pain, it should be laced with resourcefulness and concern.
We should stand up for the creatures of this earth and the environments that we share together. Otherwise, what good stewards are we?
Proverbs 12:10 says, “The godly care for their animals, but the wicked are always cruel.”