Dominion

The Horse






“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”–Genesis 1:24-26

Opinion by Jerry Finch

Back in the dark ages when we started Habitat for Horses, the inner mind of those who abuse and neglect horses was a hot topic. Beyond the hours of discussion there lay far more hours of research, which eventually led me to a walk in the West Wing of the White House with Mathew Scully, the author of “Dominion.” Scully was a speech writer at the White House at the time, penning many of the talks of President George W. Bush.

The HorseHis insights added much to my understanding of man’s treatment of animals and how so many humans escape the reality of the harm we do to those which share the earth with us. After long days of chasing down bad guys and trying to bring the starved back to health, I’d tuck myself into bed and read his book late into the night, surprised when his passages so well reflected the scrambled thoughts within my own mind.

“Such terrifying powers we possess, but what a sorry lot of gods some men are. And the worst of it is not the cruelty but the arrogance, the sheer hubris of those who bring only violence and fear into the animal world, as if it needed any more of either. Their lives entail enough frights and tribulations without the modern fire-makers, now armed with perfected, inescapable weapons, traipsing along for more fun and thrills at their expense even as so many of them die away. It is our fellow creatures’ lot in the universe, the place assigned them in creation, to be completely at our mercy, the fiercest wolf or tiger defenseless against the most cowardly man. And to me it has always seemed not only ungenerous and shabby but a kind of supreme snobbery to deal cavalierly with them, as if their little share of the earth’s happiness and grief were inconsequential, meaningless, beneath a man’s attention, trumped by any and all designs he might have on them, however base, irrational, or wicked.”

― Matthew Scully, Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy

Texas City horse rescueIt was not only the needless death of the two yearlings this past week that brought back the memories of those periods of reflection, but also the passage of the Omnibus Bill defunding inspectors at equine slaughterhouses. While the equine champions of North America finally have something on which to stamp a success, we need to be reminded that despite the millions spent by both sides in lobby efforts and litigation, we now stand at exactly the same place we stood in 2011 before the pro-slaughter conspirators slipped the funding language into law.

Despite what so many major and minor national and local organizations want to make you believe, it was only through the efforts of Victoria McCullough, FL State Senator Joe Abruzzo and Vice President Joe Biden, plus the efforts of the Equine Welfare Alliance and Equine Advocates, that the defunding language was placed into and kept in the Omnibus Bill. They and they alone brought down the dreams of Rains Meat, the Governor of Oklahoma and poor Rick in Roswell.

But beyond all the shouting about victory, our horses and donkeys are still being slaughtered in Mexico and Canada. Nothing has changed in the lives of those stuck in feedlots, being loaded onto trucks with the false paperwork and back-slapping winks between killer-buyers and Federal Inspectors.

Just as in the court case regarding the death of two precious yearling, we question if there was any impact beyond the lives of those we saved. Yes, the owner cried and yes, it made the local media, but in the long run, did any human spend a moment of self-reflection? Was there ever a thought that perhaps we as a society need to rethink our own measure of dominion?

Our love of animals, our compassion for all creatures, must extent further than to see just that which lays before us. We should never allow ourselves to lust after a hamburger without seeing the downed cow struggling to survive, to see the pork chop without seeing the pig that lived in a crate for all of it’s short life. We must know and understand that our choices make us participants in the very acts of cruelty that we protest.

rescue1There were many people that walked by the five starving horses which we seized last week. The stalls were rented out to a wide variety of folks, but none bothered to do anything other than shake their heads in disgust and mumble that someone needed to do something. Nothing happened until someone finally called. Too late for the lives to two very precious yearlings, but just in time to save the lives of three surviving souls.

While God gave us dominion, it is up to us, as a society, to define all which that means. If we are satisfied with the extreme cruelty we inflict on animals, let’s admit it. Let’s not spare the dogs and cats, let’s not be squeamish about killing anything. But if there is a thread of doubt, if one of us cries in the courtroom when confronted with our own acts of cruelty, then perhaps we have come to a place in our time to re-evaluate our own beliefs in dominion.

And that time is never more important than it is now.

“Animals are more than ever a test of our character, of mankind’s capacity for empathy and for decent, honorable conduct and faithful stewardship. We are called to treat them with kindness, not because they have rights or power or some claim to equality, but in a sense because they don’t; because they all stand unequal and powerless before us.”

― Matthew Scully, Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy

 




AUTHOR: Posted by Habitat for Horses Calaway
14 Comments
  • Sue

    Thank you, Jerry, especially for the comment about pigs and cows. Many Americans still manage to separate themselves from the suffering they cause when eating beef and pork. No different than eating a horse or dog or cat….

    January 17, 2014
  • Maggie Frazier

    Mr. Scully certainly wrote a great deal worth reading. Very much so.
    I had hoped that the barn where these babies were boarded was a place the owner alone rented. I cannot imagine walking past one stall where an animal was so debilitated – knowing that they weren’t being fed or given the least care. I CANT imagine being the kind of person who could do that. I realize its easy to sit here & judge – BUT how in the world can anybody DO that? To not do anything to help is as bad as what that owner did – or didn’t do.
    Thank heavens for people like you & RT & so many others who step up & try to right a very large wrong!

    January 17, 2014
    • Lana Marie

      Agreed Maggie Frazier!
      I hope the KARMA does her work not only to the POS who owned those horses, but to EVERYONE WHO WALKED BY & KNEW WHAT WAS HAPPEING that did NOTHING!! How dare they! No better than the A-hole that owned & DIDN’T FEED THEM!
      On another topic; How is he (owner) allowed to keep the ‘sixth horse’????? Has this Judge that stupid & why did the ones who pressed charges not save that animal??? OMG I can not believe what I read!

      January 18, 2014
      • jfinch

        He was allowed to keep the sixth horse because we strictly follow the law. That horse was in a separate pasture and well fed. We must have legal grounds for the removal of someone’s property by a seizure warrant.

        January 18, 2014
        • Lana Marie

          Thanks Jerry, but from what I read that horse escaped & was being fed by others?
          Anyone who is capable of STARVING his horses, two to death, still should not be allowed to have in their possession ANY horse. Was the owner only feeding that one?
          I understand what you are legally able to do…just hope they are watching him like a hawk & for a very long time.

          January 19, 2014
  • Ohh JF Thank You for the Awesome reflection, You are Man amongst Men !!!! Also, JF I understand how hard last weeks seizure was for you losing two of those Magnificent foals, I know how it made you feel , But again Thank You for being there for them !!!!! People must speak up before it is tooo late to help them !!!!! In a way they are responsible for the deaths of those two little foals …

    January 17, 2014
  • Mustangman

    Actually the Dominion part is not even close to being correct. The Hebrew God never said anything close to saying it was giving man dominion over anything on this planet. Dominion is a revisionist time period (King George) change. The original Ancient Hebrew reads and translates to modern Hebrew pretty much as SHEPARD. We were given the task by this god to watch over and take care of its creation. Christians decided that was not profitable enough so they decided that god must have meant that we could f anything up we wanted as long as we made a buck off of it.

    January 17, 2014
    • jfinch

      And in what way, Mustangman, does that make one bit of difference in anything I said. Shepards have dominion over their flock. If we are shepards, as is also mentioned in the Bible, then the same thing applies.

      January 17, 2014
  • judye michaels

    …..”Despite what so many major and minor national and local organizations want to make you believe, it was only through the efforts of Victoria McCullough, FL State Senator Joe Abruzzo and Vice President Joe Biden, plus the efforts of the Equine Welfare Alliance and Equine Advocates, that the defunding language was placed into and kept in the Omnibus Bill. They and they alone brought down the dreams of Rains Meat, the Governor of Oklahoma and poor Rick in Roswell.”…..
    Does that REALLY mean that all the phone calls, emails, faxes, and what demonstrations could be put together in NM did NOTHING? Can we just sit back and hope that they’ll continue and get the SAFE Act passed? My life, for one, would be so much easier and less stressful….

    January 17, 2014
  • Penny Zielstorf

    What a beautiful truth he speaks, I for one will continue to fight till it is all stopped I am a believer that “If we see cruelty that we have the power to stop and we do nothing we make ourselves sharers in the guilt.”

    Let get the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act (H.R. 1094/S. 541) passed …..

    January 17, 2014
  • Maggie Frazier

    Judye michaels, I think that statement was meant to apply to some of the organizations that have claimed credit(wrongly) for the language being put in the bill = not meant to detract from all of us who have phoned, emailed, faxed over the past years. And no not time to sit back & hope! All of our lives would be easier if that were the case. Much more to be done….

    January 17, 2014
  • Kerry

    Without all the faxing, phone calls and other efforts to raise public awareness, I don’t know that McCullough, Abruzzo or Biden would have bothered to work so hard. They were the wrench that turned the bolt, but the public was the hand that turned the wrench.

    January 17, 2014
  • Judy Wendt

    A better concept than “dominionism” is stewardship. Are we good stewards to the earth and all our fellow creatures?

    January 17, 2014
  • Thank you, Jerry, for this thought provoking post. I believe that God has a terrible judgement in store for all who would abuse the innocent. Im going to find a copy of this book!

    January 18, 2014