What triggered the following post was a horrifying story published today on the Mirror:
I did not want to post this here. The story, as well as the picture of the poor 4 months old kitten, will pursue me for a while, maybe forever, like so many other stories.
In short, the woman, Laura Cunliffe, 23 years old, has psychotic disorders and depression. She had a 4 month old black and white kitty and – in my opinion – took its playing with the goldfish for an attack, so she “punished” it by putting it into the microwave for 5 minutes. Useless to say, the kitty didn’t survive. If you need the details, here’s the whole story: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/laura-cunliffe-microwaved-kitten-five-3169126. I don’t want to post it, I don’t want to post the pictures here. I’ve been feeling bad enough for this.
The reason why I’m posting this is another one.
Lately, I have come across so many horrible stories of ignorant people torturing their animals, sometimes torturing them to death. Animals are completely helpless, they are in our houses, they don’t understand what’s going on, what they have maybe done wrong, they are often small and weaker than we are.
It will never be possible to completely avoid that people do such things. They do horrible things to their own children as well. But in this particular case, the person was known to have mental disorders, problems in life, to be unbalanced. It is obvious that among her many problems, there is also the lack of empathy. Such a person should never have been allowed to have a pet.
I therefore think that what exists for monkeys, should exist for all animals in the world: a legal permission to keep them, a license. Who wants to keep a pet should have a small personality check, should fill in a questionnaire, and should be able to prove that he or she has experience in keeping pets – otherwise, if it’s the first time, the person should have to do some practice before having an animal on her own.
A few years ago, my cat had babies. In the apartment right above me in Barcelona, lived a young woman. She worked all day long and during weekends left Barcelona to visit her boyfriend a few hundred kilometers away.
This woman came to me and wanted a baby cat.
Knowing her life, I said:
“You should at least take two. You’re not home all day long, this is cruel for an animal.”
But she answered: “No, I want only one. I want that it becomes mine, only mine, and is only with me.”
She was not a bad girl. She was sweet and certainly able to give love. But I didn’t give her one cat and wouldn’t have given her two at this point. Someone who is unable to understand that his own egoism creates suffering for another being, is not someone who should own a pet. A pet has this one life, too, exactly like we do. This one life spent alone waiting for the human being to come home to have company before going to bed, is a very sad idea for me.
How right I was, was shown by the events that followed. She bought, of all cats, a Siamese cat – the most sociable race of cats of all. She kept it alone. The cat screamed every day and all day long, and tried to get out of the flat. In the woman’s absence, it jumped several times on our terrace where our cats were. Every time it got hurt, lost a tooth, his nose bleeding – but the wish to be in company was stronger than those bad experiences.
Animals are no toys. Animals are beings that feel exactly like we do. They have to be protected from human egoism, arbitrariness and despotism. Many scientists claim still today that animals have no emotions and that their behavior and reactions are mere nervous mechanisms that react to stimuli, while millions of animal holders in the world know better. The reason for such scientific statements are to be searched also in the fact that declaring animals as beings with some kind of consciousness and capable of emotions, many things where a lot of money is involved, would have to be changed. We will not be able to change this so easily, although activists have been fighting for animal rights for many years. But we can at least try to avoid that animals come to the hands of people who should not have them.
We have to make licenses for many things before we’re allowed to do or have them. We should need licenses for keeping pets, too.