Today I was searching for a photo – the real kind! As I spread them out on the table, what struck me was, there were no animals – not one at all! Their absence was everywhere. It triggered much reflection.
My mother often pleaded with me, ‘please don’t start going out too early.’ But that was my goal: to get into the local nightclub at sixteen. I reached that goal. She was probably right about going out too early: you burn out too quickly. I did in my twenties. Sixteen was too young; I saw too much too soon. From practically living in them and running one, I prematurely started to dream about early nights on a Saturday night and being able to live in slippers for the weekend. How did I keep going, often sprang to mind when I finally hung up my heels.
Rescue work is like being out all the time – you want to go home but someone always gets your attention so you stay a bit longer. And one person replaces the other; some you can talk to; some you enjoy talking to, and some you can’t wait to get away from. The latter present you with the same reoccurring problems. You stay because you are afraid you will miss something if you leave or if you are needed. The rescue noise is constantly in your head. The sound never changes; the problems remain the same.
On October the 4th many like-minded people (animal lovers, rescuers, advocates & activists) will be brought together to attend a protest organised by Action for Animal Welfare Ireland to highlight how the existing legislation is not being utilised to stop the animal carnage in our country. The level of cruelty is certainly not reflected in media or court reports. When there is an actual prosecution, the punishment in no way reflects the crime committed. How can any judge give an 18 month ban to a farmer for nearly starving to death 40 collies whilst 3 dead were found. How can another judge wish a man well in court when he faced a serious charge of cruelty to 47 horses. Those who didn’t die had to be put to sleep. During the week My Lovely Horse Rescue, Cork lost a three month old foal called Freda. Just a baby but found for sale at a fair. She fought to live; she tried everything to hold on. Maybe, even as a baby; she knew this was a loving life worth living for. Her owners stole this life from her before she was even born. Their choice behavior to use, to abuse, leaves only a higher power intervention or luck to keep some of these horse alive. Their tiny bodies savaged by human neglect. Freda was just a baby but her death never made the paper even though humans caused her death. It is akin to murder as are all the other cases of animal abuse that lead to death. Why is the suffering of an animal less than our suffering? As difficult as it is, we must hold on to the picture of Freda and any other animals who suffered terribly. If we don’t remember them, their deaths are truly in vain. Their tragic life picture should move us enough to keep reporting and keep fighting for change.
Yes, many photos will be taken at the protest; I hope when we look back at these images, we will say, the fight and demands for change; the refusal to accept the indifference; the reporting and highlighting was all worth it. Those responsible to protect the welfare of this country’s animals will finally do their job. Only then will we be finally able to go home.
And back to the photos….they reflect our way of being and looking at any given time. They show us what mattered to us; they show us who mattered. They show us growing. They make us reminisce. Sometimes I find myself looking for certain pictures in my phone: mainly the ‘before rescue’ and ‘after rescue’ photos. These are the pictures that I will grow old looking at – especially the ones where the horses went from being tethered to green fields. Where their bodies went from skeletal to perfect condition. Where their hanging heads became proud again. I’m not sure if my pre-rescue photos will get as much attention. But I do know this, those pre-rescue experiences were stepping stones to get to here. And I guesss we get to choose what memories we want to hold on to and the ones that are best discarded!
Yes, a picture certainly speaks a thousand words. A picture of an animal in need screams many more. It’s time the Minister started to listen.
*October the 4th is for all the animals in need of rescuing. Be there for them.