(Will update my speciesism post next, but needed to get this off my chest first.)
Within twenty-four hours three different kinds of animal abuse situations (actually, four, but one was so heinous I won't even mention it) came to my attention with the result that I felt like crawling into a misanthropic bunker for the rest of the weekend. "Misanthropic bunker" is a term I came across in Kim Stallwood's interesting memoir Growl, currently campaigning (ending tonight!) on Indiegogo.
Let me introduce the runner-ups first. Third (and definitely NOT honourable) mention goes to sheep-shearing sadists. Shearing sheep may not initally sound like the worst form of abuse, but as Debra Roppolo points out, sheep are gentle and kind beings, which makes the vicious violence demonstrated in these videos even more hard to take.
Second prize (although there are no winners here) is awarded to all who participate in, get ready for this, pig wrestling. Yes -- PIG wrestling. I thought I had pretty much heard of all the asinine ways in which humans treat other sentient beings (who in my opinion have more dignity than a lot of humans at this point), but no. Even worse is the fact that this dubious activity is being sponsored by grown-ups (the idea of pig wrestling could be amusing, you would think, only to drunk male adolescents) as part of a church event. Call me stupid, but I can't see the connection to spirituality here. Now, one church in particular is getting a lot of heat about this (despite massive protest the event went ahead yesterday), but sadly, pig wrestling is actually fairly common "entertainment" at many county and state fairs.
No drum roll please, but first place (not that ranking animal abuse makes sense except to human animals who seem to want to rank everything) is bestowed on the f@*#ing a$$holes who decided that Harry Harlow was such a hero that his despicable monkey "pit of despair" study should be replicated. Yep, "scientists" (I don't know how to convey sarcasm better than that I'm afraid) are being funded to study monkey maternal deprivation all over again. As if the original studies weren't horrendous enough, repeating them is monstrous.
At the moment I can't think of anything more dumb (although using monkeys to try and figure out whether smoking is bad or not for pregnant women--um, we don't know that yet?--is pretty close) and cruel and heart-breaking and possibly evil, and it's making me want to email the numbskulls involved and use language that would make the above slightly altered swear words sound like something a nun might say. Channel anger constructively is what I'm repeating to myself over and over lest I compose undiplomatic and tactless (but who says polite is always best?) messages that likely shouldn't see the Send button. So, there you have it. Never fear that human stupidity and cruelty will ever end, or that our work will ever be finished. :(
It's at times like this that I like to go visit Esther, who along with her two fine dads, reassures me that not all humans are hateful. In fact, I say we nominate them for a Most Likely To Put A Smile Back On Your Face award right now. Anyone second the motion?