Wednesday, June 3, 2009

There are animals and animals

Late last month, the Associated Press reported “Pets raised Russian girl, police say.” Found in a filthy apartment, imitating the cats and dogs she was shut up with, the little girl “barks like a dog, laps food directly off the plate and seems to have been raised by the animals.”

Of course, “raised” means different things to different “animals.” The human animals – “her father and other relatives” – who left this child in such squalor are most culpable for what has happened to her. But if they were going to abandon her, they might have done much worse to leave her w/ some humans (images of child slavery, prostitution and death…).

The “pets” she was found with did not molest her, physically or mentally. The worst they did, apparently, was what she had to do too: they all relieved themselves as necessary, creating the “unsanitary conditions” and “horrible stench” reported. Such conditions are easily remedied.

But what if the girl had been consigned to humans who believed “You’ve got to be taught to be afraid/of people whose eyes are oddly made/and people whose skin is a different shade/you’ve got to be carefully taught,” as the lyric from South Pacific has it. Then this girl would really have been warped!

As it is, she may be young enough to lose her “feral characteristics” and be taught human behavior – with luck, the best kind! May she grow up to become a (human) friend to all other (non-human) animals.

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