Newsletter - Animal Writes sm
13 September 2000 Issue

By Robert Cohen, [email protected]

Hunters look death in the face, and they have an understanding of life that few animal rights people share. I was once a hunter. I was once a meat eater. I understand.

About two months ago, I rescued a Boston Terrier from an animal shelter. She had one day to live before they were going to kill her. She is sleeping in the chair beside me as I type this.

She is my shadow...follows me everywhere...plants kisses on my face in the morning, and before sleep. I stepped on her earlier, and she yelped with pain. I felt guilty and bent down to pet her, and she licked my hand, over and over again.

She felt pain, and I felt guilt. Do all animals feel pain? Does it hurt to get a thorn or splinter, and does it hurt to die?

As I rubbed her leg and thigh, I noted how closely they resemble the leg and thigh of a chicken. I was fascinated with the concept. How we take for granted the chicken dinner, and not consider the moment of death. A cut throat. Is it equally as horrible to a human or dog or cow? Did OJ's victims feel a terror shared by a slaughterhouse animal? Does a human gunshot wound victim experience a similar pain as the deer? The same terror?

When I sighted an animal in my scope, and held the life and death decision before pulling the trigger...did I consider the pain of bullet tearing through bone and flesh? Would that hurt me?

Should I reject the horror of man's inhumanity to man in the horrible wars that have been fought, and applaud the ritualistic slaughter of animals.

Do I have alternatives? The chicken tastes so good, as do the venison and quail. Should these animals continue to suffer if I have alternative foods to eat.

They eat dogs in Korea. That thought haunts me, as I watch my dog gently sleeping. She knows me and responds to my call. She loves me, I am certain. She licks, and lets me rub her belly, and shows me signs of ecstasy as I pat her head or compliment her for being a good girl. Would I eat her if I was starving? Would I eat a friend or family member?

I have learned from this little dog. We are animals too, and are connected to each other. Occasionally, in her enthusiasm (licking frenzy) she nips my nose, and apologizes with licks and kisses. She feels. She has emotions.

I could never take her life, or the life of another living creature.

Go on to The Potato Theory
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