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24 June 2001 Issue
Mad Human Disease

by Natasha Canali Wood - futurevet28@hotmail.com 

How is it

That we can make an animal into a machine

And feel no remorse?

Assign a number to its face

And line it up behind the others

And slaughter it

Without a trace of guilt . . .

How is it

That we can turn a loving mother

Into a baby-producing machine,

Steal her newborns away

And stifle her cries of grief

And say she doesn’t know

Doesn’t care

Doesn’t feel . . .

How can we cram them into boxes and cages,

Let them lie in their own waste

Crippled, swollen, deformed—

And shovel them

And drag them

And chain them

Like they’re nothing more than broken-down cars

or scraps of garbage . . .

How can we grind up their remains

And feed it to the others—

Watch them take their fill

Of this make-believe grass

Then stumble away sick

While we count our profits

And laugh like nothing else matters . . .

How is it

That we see their gentle eyes,

Sense their gentle souls,

Yet still push it all out

And close the iron doors

And let destiny take its course—

Or at least the destiny we’ve created for them—

So we can have stomachs

Full of blood and fear and pain . . .

The half-dead body

Swinging from the hanger

Welcomes them

One by one—

They bow their heads

And buckle their knees

While the blue sky outside beckons

and the free birds sing.

But all they see—all they have ever known

Is that one ray of hazy light

That streams in through a crack in the rafters.

Do they feel there must be something more,

Something outside this cold, iron-rusted hell?

Or do they simply go on counting the days

Never dreaming that because of money and greed and gluttony

They were put on this earth

To die—

How is it

That we can start a plague

And blame everything but ourselves

And watch them fall

And try to get up

And fall again

And turn on their cagemates

And turn wild and fierce

And then decide they must be "destroyed"

—yes, just like that, destroyed—

So that a whole new generation can take their place

And we can be "safe" . . .

The sea of bodies goes up in flames . . .

The smoke of death rises black into the sky . . .

And as the putrid stench fills our nostrils,

We experience a fleeting moment

Of what they endured their entire lives . . .

And the animal-machines are at one with the grass and the earth

For the first time.

And then, maybe then,

When the smoke has cleared and the ashes have blown into the wind,

We see that they are not machines,

That they are not stupid beasts—

But are victims of our bloody creation

And our savage design . . .

And then we watch the iron doors slam shut once again

And return to feed our sagging stomachs

And go back to our enviable lives

To complain about all the things

That don’t need to be complained about . . .

How is it

That we can close our eyes—

Maim them—

Taunt them—

Torture them—

Rape them—

And justify it all by saying

That they were put on this earth for our use?

How many billions more must suffer

Before we stop to ask:

How is it

That we still haven’t found the cure

For this Mad Human Disease?

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