Sunday, May 8, 2011

Oh, NOT to be a service animal!

Navy SEAL dog, hero dog, canine commando. . . whatever you call it, it's a “service dog” -- meaning service to and for humans; meaning that humans' agendas are served; meaning, basically, involuntary servitude by non-human animals.

You would think puppies aspire to join the Navy SEALs (or to become seeing-eye dogs, or take on any of the other “jobs” humans so kindly dream up for them and other animals). Probably, though, when national security and patriotism are also involved, it becomes harder for some people to criticize turning dogs into Navy SEALs.

And by the way, the same NYTimes story that told about the dog who took part in the bin Laden raid also mentioned that Labs are another breed used in war. They’re trained to walk ahead of humans to sniff out explosives. The story didn’t mention what happens to them when they find explosives. Another dog recognized posthumously?

What a dubious distinction for a dog -- risking life and limb doing un-doggy things so humans can wage war more effectively.

All of which – and let’s not forget War Horse, the popular play now in NYC – reminds me of the London monument honoring the innumerable animals who have been (and continue to be!) killed in wars over the centuries. One part reads, “They had no choice.”

(Please see blog posts for Nov. 11, 2009 and Dec. 5, 2010.)

To read the rest of the inscription, to see the bas reliefs of animals large and small who have been conscripted for human wars, involuntarily taking part, inevitably suffering and dying; to see the sculpture of a worn-out horse and mule . . . is to realize the extent to which humans have exercised their arrogant and sick dominion over animals.

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