Friday, March 26, 2010

Where is the Compassion?

“Compassion literally means to feel with, to suffer with. Everyone is capable of compassion, and yet everyone tends to avoid it because it's uncomfortable. And the avoidance produces psychic numbing -- resistance to experiencing our pain for the world and other beings.” – Joanna Macy

I’m many things in this life - I’m deaf, I’m a mother, lover, friend, and a writer. That last takes precedence here.

Even though I may be deaf, my words have substance, a voice that can plead or bring moments to life. There comes a time when we can no longer remain silent. A time when something affects us so deeply we’re not afraid to shed tears, hurt or find that compassionate place within us to take a stand. As a writer, I chose to let my words reach out to you. You don’t have to agree with me…just take a moment…to listen.

I often have the TV playing in the background - its visual to me is what music would be for someone who hears. Yesterday evening my dog ran up to the TV, pacing back and forth upset, so naturally I looked up to see what distressed her. By this time Pickles was all out whining and pawing the wooden chest that held the TV, as if that could make it stop and my heart hurt to see what she saw. I called her over to me and we both comforted one another - human and dog, her body trembling, my heart racing - witnessing the devastation of an American Icon.

PhotobucketCan you imagine existing wild and free, suddenly alerted to the sound of helicopter blades cutting the air, coming closer and closer? You hear the beast before you see it. When you do, your heart leaps, your nostrils flare in fear and you run like the wind trying to outrace this new menace. Running ragged and hard for miles - hours, you can’t stop for it looms closer and closer and you’re forced down the mountain under a hovering helicopter in desert heat.

When you finally do get a reprieve you’re trapped, exhausted, lost, confused. Your mane is tangled with burrs and debris and your flank is soaked with perspiration. Your nostrils are running, you’re overheated and you’re separated from your mother. Without warning your legs go lame and the last thing, the worst - you’ve died in captivity, deadened eyes crusted open and mirrored with terror.

Can you imagine the despair and panic that remain long after the dust settles? Separated from all you know, the land, your band and family…

That’s what happened in a wild horse round-up on the Calico Range located just outside of Reno, Nevada, over and over for two months solid, until the round up ended in early March. Wild horses once coveted as an American Icon are now being run ragged by hovering machinery and corralled into captivity. Why? All because claims made by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) that the horses were starving or dehydrated – claims of protection and welfare. The same horses that witnesses refuted were healthy and in no way in harm. All under the guise of what our government calls management, when in fact they are denying these horses the very thing we have fought so hard for in this country for ourselves - freedom.

Out of over 2000 horses rounded up, 77 are dead including 2 foals that lost the outer layer of their hooves. 39 Mares miscarried. More will die before this is over, before they are auctioned off or slaughtered. Now you have to ask yourself, is this what you want your tax dollars spent on? Is this what you call protecting a species? Surely you would expect the BLM to be aware the winter months would herald heavily pregnant mares and endanger them. Isn’t that part of what protection is, knowing that which you profess to protect?

Even a dog could see the wrong in what unfolded on the TV screen. How is it humans failed to see what an animal instantly recognized and understood?

Don’t take my word for it, watch a video of a roundup unfold and ask your heart who you hurt for, the animal or the beast in the machinery?

Better yet watch this PSA <-click here, find out how you can take a stand and contact your elected officials in Washington, DC. All the information you need is found throughout the PSA.

We are better than this. Human beings can’t ignore how cruel this makes “us” appear as a species. May we be reminded of Peter Singer’s quote, “All the arguments to prove man's superiority cannot shatter this hard fact: in suffering the animals are our equals.”

Picture found here


  1. Wow - incredible. I don't understand humans sometimes.

    Empathy is a basic emotion - we should all feel it. How could they? should be something we all feel and act on.

  2. I can't bring myself to watch the video, but I will take your word for it. What a horrific thing to experience.

  3. That is horrific. In the name of development and grazing, we demean a wonderful creature.

  4. It is truly sad what we do as "civilized" people to our own species and others. Horrible.

  5. It was inhumane... and shows a severe lack of compassion or empathy for another living being.

    For me, it defined cruelty.

  6. This is so relentlessly cruel. I can scarcely believe my eyes. It does not surprise me though. People are capable of anything when they choose to turn their minds off.

    Thanks for alerting us to it.

  7. This is appalling. Maybe if the mechanical wrangler had taken the time to look he would have seen the true meaning of the eyes are the window to the soul...

  8. Like Heather I am too chickne to even view the video but can well imagine teh well in fact. I feel sick to the stomach at man's inhumanity..All in the guise of protection !! If I stayed in the US I woudl certainly be signing the protest...
    much Love Sybil xx

  9. This doesn't make sense at all to me and I am aghast that our government is responsible for this. Thank you for giving a voice to something that I never would have known about; I'm afraid I didn' see this on the news.

  10. That makes my heart hurt. I love horses, to know they are being mistreated in this way is maddening. Thanks for raising my awareness. What a tragedy.

  11. This is just tragic ... but it's amazing to me that Pickles felt the compassion so deeply, as well. You are very lucky to have her.

  12. That video was truly heart-wrenching. I feel so sorry for those horses.

  13. Horrific doesn't even begin to describe it. A much needed, sobering post.

  14. I have always served social justice, animal, vegetable or mineral and what the BLM is doing is BS. They will use that land to do no more than make it worse with developments and they will slaughter the horses indeed.

    Thank you for your compassion Indigo and bring awareness to this as many in different parts of the US have no idea and you're right, this is what we fought for, Freedom for all...

    Thank you dear friend.
    Much love

  15. That's horrifying. It sucks for people (and dogs) who can feel the world with such sensitivity. It probably also sucks for those that feel nothing at all.

  16. Indigo, if you and your writing didn't already have my heart you would have gotten it with this piece. You know how much I love the other living things that inhabit the earth. Compassion, I love the word and I love what it does in the world.:)

    I don't think that most people don't know or understand, I wish I could believe that(maybe I'm getting cynical). I think it is even worse. I think most do know(or have basic understanding) and simply choose to ignore this atrocity, as they choose not to see other atrocities. Fear is a powerful sedative. They fear they may have to change or give something up in order to right a wrong(and they are probably right).

    They make the mistake of thinking that by doing nothing they won't have to change and they don't have to give up anything. The parts of themselves they do give up and that do change, by making that decision, is a far higher price indeed.

    One of my best experiences with domesticated horses was when I was a boy and I went to 4H camp. One of the activities I had chosen for my stay was to learn to take care of one of the horses at the camp, and in turn you got the privilege to ride. Her name was Candy. Over the weeks I was there, I fell in love with her gentle spirit and her grace and intelligence. Wild horses(or other living things for that matter) not only have all those qualities, but they still have their natural fire intact. They are still makes of their own destinies.

    It is bad enough that we treat most plants and animals as commodities, but we go further and separat them from ourselves. That self righteous philosophy will harm us greatly eventually. Our lack of compassion leads to tremendous suffering and no one can negate that fact.

  17. This is so incredibly sad and tragic and needless.

    I have no other words.

  18. All I can think of is why? Why is this happening? How can our world be so cruel and unkind? I, I just don't understand it.

  19. Hope your well dear Indigo!!!

    Sad sad post....

    Cheers to a great weekend to come..nonetheless...


  20. This is horrible! This should never have happened.

  21. What a great post. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

  22. I lived in Nevada most of my life and I'm still horrified by this. There is so much open land in Nevada, we certainly should be able to share better than this. You are so right about an American Icon. Seriously, look at the Nevada quarter design to know how much those mustangs mean.

    Thanks for reminding me why we need to keep fighting for what's right.

  23. That's horrible! Of all the things about government that boggle my mind, this is one of the worst.

  24. Oh sister this piece breaks my heart. I have a deep love for any horse, but especially wild ones. These noble creatures which have served mankind so well to be treated so poorly make me weep.

  25. i dont know how much longer it will take the guvhment to see that nature is best managed when left alone...

    this reminded me of that tragic marilyn monroe movie 'the misfits'.

    when people use animals for their own devices nothing good will ever come out of it.


    ps thanks for recent shout out and support, i've been behind on reading and commenting. i really appreciate your kind words.

  26. Indi- Honey, you're preaching to the choir here. think that's bad. really look into the horse racing industry. I have one of their toys in my yard after they ran him 56 races under the whip. All I can do is love him, the rest has been taken. and of all things that impress me, and the list is short, compassion sits always at the top. Love ya, Sweetie~rick

  27. Ahh, the grey zone of 'wildlife management' ....should they, or should they not.
    For one thing, the BLM is a terrible agency to make such decisions. They are but an agency ruled by politians and select interest groups. In other words ~ not to be trusted.

    In this case, I do believe there could be, should be, much better means to 'help' (aren't they calling rounding them up help here?) the wild horses.

  28. p.s. I'd bet my favorite fly rod that those wild horses were grazing 'too much' on land that some farmer had leased from the gov. to feed his range cattle. Hence the need to 'manage' said wild horses.......

  29. It is an outrage and one of which I have been involved with for some time now. Compassion my foot, MANKIND has little to no compassion for anything other than themselves. I am sickened by the way these horses are treated. Then again I am sickened by how many of our animal friends are treated. One day the scale will be tipped and those who persecute & torture these (and other) wonderful animals will be held accountable, I have no doubt in my mind. Until then we have to be their voice.
    Great on you for bringing this out.


Thank you for giving my silence a voice, my muse your words, and taking the time to discover my prose.