Traveling down the streets of India, one can see the numerous Animals. Even today there are many being used by the Human Animal to perform a variety of tasks; and quite frankly, this is true around the world. One of these tasks in India is using the Bulls, Horses, and even Donkeys to pull carts loaded with supplies. As an Animal Chaplain, ordained by the Emerson Theological Institute, I have had the honored privilege of traveling through India to facilitate Animal Blessing Ceremonies at numerous Animal Ashrams (Rescues/Sanctuaries).
During these travels, I have witnessed many Animal Activists/Advocates/Rescuers/Lovers who get angry at, condemn, want arrested, or otherwise, the Human who is working some of these Animals. This is understandably so, as I admit, I have been one of them, we all have. We want, think and many times speak about….yelling at these humans, throwing stones, calling police, or any other variety of angry violence. Myself, I have noticed the angry thoughts, and I asked God, “There must be a solution that works for everyone, please show me. What is happening with all this anger and violence is just creating more anger, resistance and violence. I see how we perpetuate the destructive behaviors. We continue to create more by the very act of choosing to help the Animals.”
Then, one day, I am traveling with another Animal Organization’s Leader, Mr Lorenzo Standen of the LIFE Farm Animal Sanctuary, and we are at the Cattle feed shop. A thin Bull walks up pulling a cart with Its Owner. I point out the Bull and ask, “There needs to be a solution here. This Bull is so thin, And being made to work.” The Leader gets out, and I continue to contemplate prayerfully about a solution that provides dignity and purpose for everyone.
When Mr. Lorenzo returns, he states, “See the Bulls horns, he is an old Bull and that is part of his thinness. The man loves his Bull and is here at the feed store to feed his Bull, he is his livelihood. The Man must work for his family too. I am grateful he is not out on the street as a beggar. He has pride to be a working man. Our organization just asked him if he is willing to surrender the Bull to us to come live in retirement at our Sanctuary and we will give him a younger, healthier Bull that is ready to work. If he is ever in need of feed, or medical care for the Bull, we will provide. However, if we go to check on Him and he is not in good condition, then we will take him back. The Man was grateful, and happy we understood him, and signed the papers. We will meet him here tomorrow for the exchange.”
My own understanding, compassion, and appreciation grew tremendously in that moment for the entire situation. The way it was resolved so peacefully, with dignity for all the Animals. As well as the way God answered this prayer. The Animals are providing a “need” for the Human, whatever that need might be. Violence and anger does not solve any problem, even if it is a violent situation. However, an understanding of what is taking place, and providing a solution for the problem that works for all the Animals (including the Human) is providing true kindness. If we look at the Human who is doing the job with the Animal as evil, then we are creating more “evil” with ourselves, and it does not matter what the Animal situation is.
Too often, we condemn a situation, and surmise before we take time to understand what is happening at all angles. I hear this many times in Animal situations. Take time to understand what the “situation” is, what the need is that has created the problem, and address it, for a solution that heals everyone. Kindness to Animals means being kind to ALL Animals, including the Human….as many times, this is where the problem began.
Rev Ahowan ICrow, RScP, OAC