Thursday, May 27, 2010

Dedicated to Tortured and Abused Animals...The 199th Post

On the eve of my 200th post on this blog, I found a story that renders irrelevant almost everything I have enjoyed sharing and writing about:  essays about my favorite movies, stories about my departed dog, anecdotes about my home town, my forays into arts and opera and the Italian language, and journal pages from my modest travels.

Only the stories from my Tuesday nights at the Dog Shelter come close to being as important to me as what I must share with you now.  I write this because I must.  I do not mean to upset anyone, but you would be less than human if you were not upset. I guess I want to rally support from those of you who I know to be sensitive and caring people, to join me in speaking out against the unspeakable..

After 198 posts, I have a story that has broken something in me, changed me, re-defined what it is to reinvent myself, and put that into focus.

While reading today's Huffington Post (the blog that inspired me to finally try one of my own) I saw a letter by Jamie Lee Curtis to the owner of Conklin Dairy Farms in Ohio.  Attached to the letter was an undercover video of alleged abuses of the dairy cattle there, taken by an animal advocacy group from Chicago called Mercy for Animals.

I read the post, and reluctantly, began to watch the video. 

Nothing could have prepared me.....

Horrible.  Profoundly saddening and angering.  Caught horrific footage...calves being thrown to the ground, stomped repeatedly....cows and calves being beaten by fists, crowbars to the face....cows having their milk sacs prodded with pitchforks....I dissolved in tears, wanted to scream.......

Here is how the Mercy for Animals web site described what the video portrayed:

  • Violently punching young calves in the face, body slamming them to the ground, and pulling and throwing them by their ears

  • Routinely using pitchforks to stab cows in the face, legs and stomach
  • Kicking "downed" cows (those too injured to stand) in the face and neck – abuse carried out and encouraged by the farm's owner
  • Maliciously beating restrained cows in the face with crowbars – some attacks involving over 40 blows to the head
  • Twisting cows' tails until the bones snapped
  • Punching cows' udders
  • Bragging about stabbing, dragging, shooting, breaking bones, and beating cows and calves to death
I look into the desperate and uncomprehending eyes of these benign, trusting creatures, and I see the horror of all the abused, mistreated, tortured animals of the world...nothing else seems significant, knowing that this is just one of perhaps thousands of similar cases of abuse happening this second...and not just to animals, but to children, and other helpless, innocent humans, and other creatures of the world.....

I seriously questioned whether I could go on living in a world that produces such cruelty. 

I know, intellectually, that this horrific abuse of humans and animals exists, but I cling to the naive notion that there is enough beauty in the world to compensate for these remote instances of horror that, unseen, fail to affect me.  It is necessary remind myself that all is not art and beauty.  And maybe I CAN effect change, in a small way...perhaps from this page.

For me to post the video here would, I think, constitute abuse.  But caring individuals should see what has happened.  I am including the link to the Mercy for Animals web site here, containing the video as well as comments from animal care experts, so that you may understand why this has upset me and so many others so much, and so that you have a recourse for supporting this organization in fighting this cruelty.

As a result of the efforts of this group to produce and release the video, the main perpetrator of these awful abuses was arrested and arraigned today on 12 counts of animal cruelty. "Each cruelty to animals count he faces has a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $750 fine."

My nurturing side, my forgiving side, is misfiring tonight.  I doubt that a person this dangerous can ever be redeemed.  I don't think the maximum sentence is enough to compensate for what he has done or to turn his heart around.

And there are so many others....

Can I summon the courage to make the changes necessary to join the fight against it?  I hope I can offer some reports of progress in this effort, very soon. The dog shelter is but a first step. 


  1. I consider myself lucky to never have seen first hand this level of cruelty. It would be too much to bear. I would snap. and they would become the victim.

  2. That was some of the most shocking and deplorable footage my wife and I have ever seen. It's hard to fathom a mind that could perform such cruelty on a poor, defenseless animal for their own perverse enjoyment. We are in agreement that the perpetrator, and all those who find it acceptable to abuse an animal, should be killed. Period. This world has no need for any more sadistic parasites, we have plenty to go around. They shouldn't be entitled to any more mercy than that which they showed their victims. I saw the video and it made me angry that such abuses are regularly carried out and saddened by the poor animals that have to endure it. Great post, Tom!

  3. I still can't believe I saw this. A week later, and it still haunts me. Like I said, I think this footage will somehow change my life... So much is reduced to trivia after witnessing this, and I have to use my life, and whatever talents I may have, to effect some change. Tom and Dave, I thank you both for your support.