Let me start by saying I am an unabashed animal lover. Dogs, cats, lizards or gophers, they all share this planet with us. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I would welcome worms, rats or diamond back rattleesnakes in my home, but merely that all creatures share this planet in common. Both humans and non-humans have specific niches that serve distinct purposes. Animals however, are limited in their ability to reason and make decisions. We on the other hand, are able to distinguish between right and wrong, good and evil. Why then do we sometimes feel the need to exploit and murder those creatures who pose no threat to us at all? Yes, some animals are dangerous and because of that we must take whatever steps necessary to protect ourselves, but at what point do we justify the wholesale slaughter of creatures merely for entertainment, or what some call ‘sport’? Is cock-fighting or dog-fighting actually a ‘sport’? Call me crazy but I always thought sport to be defined as a contest between two or more competitors who made a conscious choice to engage in an activity that might result in physical harm, or even death.
Does the image below suggest such a choice exists between man and beast? Although both appear to compete for survival, is it truly a fair fight, or is the outcome pre-determined?.
Though painful to watch, I am compelled to document the demise of this bloodied and mortally wounded creature soon to succumb to his fate. In the end my camera lens is the only weapon I can employ in his defense against a primitive culture and barbarous tradition.
For every matador or dog fighter however, there exists legions of veternarians, animal rescuers, and millions of ordinary animal lovers. I photographed the vet below in the course of a neutering operation. These operations are important since they help the mother and stem the tide of puppies who would otherwise be at risk. This is especially true in third world countries.
Another vet neuters a cat.
Who says animals don’t have a sense of humor? This California gray whale surely does as she sneaks up behind three marine biologists who are looking for her from the opposite side of the boat.
Sadly, a harbor seal barks out for help but is fatally trapped by a fishing net entangled around its neck, carelessly thrown by a seaman.
The role animals play in the lives of humans is insurmountable. They range from microscopic one-celled animals to cadaver dogs. Dogs in fact, serve as seeing eye dogs,cancer sniffing dogs, search and rescue dogs and of course, companions and pets. Insects pollinate and fertilze plants. Methane is made from pigs. Horses help create snake anti-venom. The list goes on. Nonetheless I am not so naive as to expect a renaissance of animal awareness any time soon. Whether we acknowledge it or not however, we and they are mutually connected. To borrow a line from Benjamin Frankin “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.” Till that day comes, my camera and I will continue to document our peculiar relationship with our non-human friends.
blog by: Ron Saunders
view my photography at: 345.PhotoShelter.com
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