tw: animal abuse, animal cruelty
On my way here, a little girl begging on the street grabbed my hand and wouldn’t let go. With her tiny hand in mine, I went with my usual phrase when people in the street ask me for things, “I’m sorry, but I can’t”. Being the actual child that she is, she childishly says she isn’t going anywhere until I give her something. I tell her she can tag along, but I’m sorry and can’t do that.
Her equally young brother is waiting for her to come back from this hopefully-fruitful hand-holding session.
We lock eyes after a second, then she angrily lets go of my hand in a gesture of anger and disappointment. I think of how the logical thing to do is thoroughly wash my hands when I get to my destination. But why?! Research shows a lot of people don’t wash their hands after going to the bathroom, masturbating, changing diapers, and this is only the tip of this iceberg that I’m not surprised by. I’m not the most hygienic person in the world myself, as I figure (and research proves) a lot of other people aren’t as well. So who cares?
Almost immediately I think of all the times people have had a problem with me touching or cuddling stray animals. For years now, people have ~been so kind to~ let me know all the diseases and infections I’m now prone to because I wanted to pet that dog. That’s what you get for not being able to resist the cuteness. Looking into that cute dog’s eyes though, makes my heart break into a thousand pieces and that’s why, for me, it stopped being a matter of cuteness a long time ago.
It all started when I was a child. My grandparents had this big house and an even bigger garden where all kinds of animals lived, some of which I don’t even the exact name for in English. Yeah, that diverse.
We had names for most of the chickens and each of them had its own distinct features and personality. This particular day, it was the first time my uncle came back from Greece since he’d left many years ago, and the first time I met his new family: his wife and son. Unrelated, but, my cousin and I spoke different languages and were too young to speak English, however, I swear we understood each other completely. Like, freakishly so. In Albanian, we call that the language of blood, ain’t it amazing what our brains can accomplish?! Now that we both speak English and the internet exists, we hardly ever talk, lol, but anyway…
Anyway, my cousin and I were hanging out and my grandmother comes and says we should stay put for a while and NOT go to the other side of the house. Being the curious, rebellious child that I was, I said fuck that (basically, placebo is inert, meaning it’s not supposed to do anything, but placebo is a rebel and breaks the rules) and went over there.
I saw my grandfather kill with his bare hands (and probably a knife) one of my favorite chickens. I burst out crying and tried to stop him, but my grandmother took me out of there and gave me this BS explanation of what was happening. I’ve talked with a lot of people who had a similar experience growing up, maybe not the actual slaughter, but you know, “losing” animals they’d grown to see as friends and part of the household, even if they’d only stayed with them for a few days.
Now, for as long as I can remember, I’m affected deeply by animals. I might see a stray dog, in a safe place, and just looking at him smiling (smiling dogs are a thing and you know it, don’t @ me) /waiting for someone to play with him /show him even the tiniest bit of attention, and I get goosebumps, a bump in my throat, shivers… I’ve gotten pretty good at not having an emotional reaction every time, or even most times, but injustice gets me to my fucking core.
Why are some animals in loving homes, being bought for hundreds of dollars, getting toys while others are ran over in highways, left there, kicked, and a lot of other cruel things that I won’t go over because a.) everyone knows b.) I’m in a coffee shop and I don’t want people asking why I’m crying in the club right now, okay?!
Why are there big corporations protected by state laws making plenty of $$$ in the most disgusting of ways, but this old lady near my place, coming from miles away to sell her fucking produce in the city and make just a few dollars a day, is surrounded by ~7 cops and required to pay huge fees and move the fuck out of there?
I know, I know, I’m just describing…life, but -speaking from a place of privilege- I love life, I love the people and the places and the possibilities that life has to offer. Just realized; I didn’t come here to write about police brutality, so I won’t get into that (just now), but about animals and the shit they go through, unfortunately, figuratively and literally*.
Also, in the country I grew up in, you almost never come across LGBTQ/POC issues, or even members of those groups. There are only a few publicly known trans people, who work as prostitutes and are harassed, and the occasional coming out story, whereas the only POC you meet are Roma people, who are usually asking for money, so yeah.
Maybe, that’s why, growing up, animal cruelty was the thing that most got to me, that, and because, they’re voiceless. Actually, a lot of animal rights advocates consider themselves a voice for the voiceless. As women, we might be silenced for speaking up, but at least we can do that; animals can’t defend or speak for themselves.
All they can do is love us unconditionally, as they already do, and just hope for the best: that we don’t hurt them, kick them, poke their eyes out, bury them in the ground alive**…but instead love them back.
My heart breaks and breaks having to write this
, and I haven’t even said anything about the animals killed for food and what they have to go through.
To end on a more positive note,
I’ve cuddled all the stray animals and touched all the people and nothing has EVER happened to me (lol), Germany banned fur farming, a lot of makeup companies are going cruelty-free, the demand for meat and meat products has decreased dramatically in developed countries, demand for plant-based products has risen and they’re everywhere now (and very delicious too). This is happening because of the people, the ones that have gotten their facts right and chose to DO SOMETHING! Be it Meatless Mondays, cruelty-free makeup products, only getting faux-fur, not throwing rocks at cats minding their business…
Every little helps. Animals all over the world thank you.
*Not to get into details, but a lot of animals live in such tiny spaces before they’re slaughtered, i.e. chicken’s cages are on top of one another… Well, you can put 2 + 2 together…
**PETA offered 10000$ to the person that can tell them who did that *insert an adjective so horrible that it hasn’t been invented yet here* thing