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Does a civilized society tolerate animal cruelty?

humanesocietylogoFrom Bahama islands info

When you see what we at the Humane Society of Grand Bahama see on a regular basis, one of two things happen.  You either can’t take it and quit, or you toughen up somehow, because if everybody quit, what would happen then?  Somebody has to be there for the animals, and that often means seeing some truly grisly sights.  The worst cases fuel our desire and determination to keep fighting what often feels like a very lonely battle.  The happy endings, and the people we are able to reach with our lessons of compassion and responsible pet ownership, are reaffirmations that this is a battle worth fighting.

Grand Bahama is in desperate need of more soldiers willing to fight this battle.  Last Thursday night we learned of the vicious killings of a number of goats and chickens at St. Georges High School two days prior.  The animals were part of the Agriculture Department’s programme.  We’re not sure why the incident was not publicized prior to that, or why the police were not called at that time.  On Friday morning HSGB executives met with St. Georges’ administration, and were briefed and shown photographs of the poor dead animals.  We expressed our grave concern and willingness to assist in any way possible.  We also expressed our concern over the safety of the remaining animals and were assured security was being increased.

animal-cruelty-cat-1280x1024Saturday morning we received a call from the Central Detective Unit of the Royal Bahamas Police Force.  More animals had been found dead at the school that morning, and the CDU asked for our assistance, including having our staff veterinarian come out to help ascertain the causes of death.  We arrived to find three goats dead.  A buck, a nanny, and a little baby kid.  Two chickens also appeared to be injured, possibly from the earlier attack.  We are grateful that the RBPF is taking this matter very seriously.

Extensive necropsies were performed on two of the goats.  They did not die from natural causes.  They were not killed by roaming dogs.  They died from injuries that could only have been inflicted by humans wielding a variety of weapons, in a horrific and tortuous manner.  The pain and terror they must have suffered is unimaginable.

We were invited to speak at Monday morning’s assembly at SGHS, and were glad to do so.  We spoke to Grades 10 and 11; grade 12 was not there, evidently end of year activities meant they were not in school that day.  We, and the school’s principal were the only speakers.  We did wonder why there were no representatives from the RBPF or the Ministry of Education.

imagesThanks to a dedicated group of concerned supporters, the HSGB is offering a substantial reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator(s).

The HSGB is in a unique position to feel the pulse of the community as it relates to animals in general.  While in recent years, we have seen a slight increase in pet owners becoming more responsible (which is encouraging), we still see far too much neglect, abandonment and cruelty.

We also see a disheartening degree of what we can only call a disconnect and lack of empathy.  Too many people view animals as disposable unfeeling “objects”, and too many people display a callous disregard in general for the well-being of animals, whether domestic or wild. Too many people still seem to not understand or care that animals can feel at all.  That they can feel all the emotions we humans do; including joy, pain, sorrow, fear, despair, grief, and happiness.  Anyone who does not think animals have souls has not studied their Bible, which contains many references to animals in heaven.  They will be there before us, as they are truly innocent, and without sin.

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”  So said Mahatma Gandhi many years ago.

Given our poor economy and the frightening rise in violent crimes, and given the research that proves a direct link between animal cruelty and violence to humans, how much longer will we continue to ignore this?  How much longer will we as a nation continue to allow the mistreatment of God’s creatures?  We call once again upon our elected officials to enact and enforce the Animal Protection and Control Act 2009, passed by Parliament three years ago.

Numerous of God’s own innocent creatures were brutally tortured and killed last week.  The person or persons who committed these criminal acts are still walking and living freely among us, with their damaged, dangerous psyches.  The Christian Council and church leaders have not been heard from on this frightening act of brutality and depravity.  Why not?

If God’s eye is even on the sparrow…shouldn’t ours be, too?

“We must fight against the spirit of unconscious cruelty with which we treat the animals. Animals suffer as much as we do. True humanity does not allow us to impose such sufferings on them. It is our duty to make the whole world recognize it. Until we extend our circle of compassion to all living things, humanity will not find peace.” ― Albert Schweitzer

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