When drug lords want to train kids to become part of their workforce, they introduce them to unthinkably cruel acts. Children aged 11 to 14 are taught to amputate body parts from conscious dogs and cats without causing the animal to die. If this doesn't sound bad enough, let me explain in a little more detail the horror these animals endure: the amputation doesn't happen in one swift move. The limbs are amputated little by little, in order to perfect the future torturers' skills. In other words to mutilate in the most horrible way, resulting in the maximum pain. There are 2 reasons for this ghastly training. The first is practical: when the kids graduate to humans, the kidnap victims can be kept alive while being tortured and their body parts are being sent to relatives as an incentive to pay the ransom. The second is emotional: it desensitizes kids and takes away any natural compassion they may have for other living beings.
All over the world, violence is totally out of control. Every day we hear of more atrocities and acts of brutality until our heads spin with the enormity of it all. Eventually, we may just bury our heads in the sand and pretend it isn't happening. After all, what difference can one person make?
Well, the world is made up of lots of individuals. And, as we know, if individuals unite we become a force to be reckoned with. Here's how I think we can make our voices heard and change attitudes.
Until now, animals have had no legal status as sentient beings. They are things, objects with no rights. After all, who cares if an animal is tortured or punished? If they're not considered sentient beings, then their suffering is irrelevant. So violence against animals isn't as bad as violence against a human being. But is that a logical thought process? I don't think so.
You see, all violence is connected. And living creatures are all connected. So, there is a direct link between violence to animals and violence to human beings. Animal suffering stops being irrelevant once you acknowledge this connection. Therefore there's a benefit for people if we can put an end to violence against animals.
Many of the most brutal societies treat animals the worst. Every single serial killer has admitted that they began their cycle of violence as kids, honing their dubious skills on animals, often family pets. So, when we see a kid hurting an animal that is the time for us to act. The idea connects in the immature human mind - if you can hurt an animal, you can hurt a person. It's a logical step. The kids don't understand the implications of their actions, of course, but we adults do. A tragic example of this is a child in Chihuahua Mexico who was taken to a bullfight by his father. When he returned home, he stabbed his dog and proudly showed his father what he had done, expecting the same approval and applause that he saw in the bullring. The perfect logic of childhood.
Before the age of 5 children have no filter. Yet that's the period of development when they absorb the most ideas, and behavior patterns. As long as we continue to tolerate cruelty to animals, children will see this and conclude that it's okay. But, we have to stop this. We can change laws with actions. Using social media - tweets, facebook and all the rest. We have to spread the word.
Often people ask me why I seem to care so much about animals rather than humans. My answer is that it's precisely because I care so much about humans that I care about animals. I don't have to choose. We're all connected, so I start at the beginning of the chain of life. I have compassion for all living beings. So, if we protect and care for animals, ultimately we'll be treating our fellow humans with more love and compassion too.
My commitment is with evolution of society, not with tradition but with compassion. After all, if we hadn't changed things in the past, what the world be like now? We'd still be living in the dark ages. Protecting animals is a way of ultimately creating peace.
Animal pain is largely invisible. Much of it goes on behind closed doors, either in abusive homes, on the streets or in the commercial exploitation of animals. If the pain is invisible, it's easy for society to pretend it doesn't exist. I intend to make this pain visible so society can no longer ignore it. Once the pain is acknowledged, it has to be dealt with.
Music legend Paul McCartney states that everyone would be vegetarian if slaughterhouses had glass walls. I'm going to take that message further. Everyone would be compassionate and loving towards all sentient beings if there were no walls at all. Let's break down the walls and ensure that the violence stops and peace reigns. Let's change laws state by state, country by country all over the world. By protecting animals from acts of violence, we're protecting our children. And those children will grow to become caring, loving citizens of the world who may just be the generation to bring lasting peace to our planet.