Friday, October 1, 2010

A month for animals

October is “World Animal Month.” It’s intended to “celebrate animal life in all its forms, and the intricate, symbiotic bonds between humanity and the animal kingdom.”


It sounds good. But what does it mean for the farm animals slaughtered for our consumption? the animals murdered for their skins and fur? the animals imprisoned in labs and subject to inhumane treatment in the name of science? the animals all over the world whose habitats are being destroyed? the wild and free horses in the American West, forcibly removed to make still more room for profitable cattle grazing? the so-called service animals, who weren't born to and never consented to lead humans around? the captive circus and zoo animals forced to live for the entertainment of humans? the shelter and sanctuary animals right here in New Jersey, whose future is uncertain at best?

“World Animal Month” and “World Animal Day” on Monday Oct. 4 are upbeat-sounding, but easy to be cynical about, given the plight of animals near and far.

Sure, there are “animal-advocate-heroes” out there. Locally, there’s the Mercer County Wildlife Center, and there are feral cat helpers and shelter volunteers, and on and on. But (from this corner at least) animals are still living on the edge, overall; they’re marginal and if-convenient considerations in the human view of things.

Back to World Animal Day. Reportedly, it’s been celebrated in more than 80 countries around the world, and that surely helps raise awareness. Its website ( includes ideas for things to do in the “Get Involved” section.

Rather than giving up in disgust or discouragement -- which would be all too easy to do -- let’s hope for the best for animals. Then let’s “get involved” and move in that direction.

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