An Essay by Dessislava Petrova Petrova

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How do I Understand Animal Protection

Close your eyes and imagine a bicycle the parts of which function in a perfect coordination. The pedals are moving, the tires are rolling, the handlebars are directing. Let us imagine now that the tires are broken or if they are just not there. The first question that comes to my mind is: "How is it going to move then?" And we answer to ourselves: "There is nothing to worry about! I will change the tires and everything would be O.K." But there are just no more tires left. The bicycle would never function again as it did. We should simply throw it away as nobody can repair it anymore. This is what is happening in Nature as well.

In a natural environment where no man hand has ever touched, animals and nature live in harmony that should not be harmed because this harm might be incurable.

Let us assume that pikes tear into peaces all small fish in a marsh. The result of this would be that pikes doom themselves to death and disappearance. But pikes kill only if needed. They have an innate instinct and kill only when they feel hunger.

If we, the people, continue to kill animals, to change their environment, to demolish their homes, it is inevitable that our actions would bring harm to flora and fauna harmony, and then just like the pikes we would doom ourselves to death.

We, the people, being granted with reasoning, should always think for the consequences of our deeds; we should oppress our egoism and start thinking of how to prevent the slow dying of all ecosystems and our planet as a whole.

Everybody knows the History of Nature Museum in Sofia. Following the steps towards the upper floors an exhibition of animals behind glasses might be seen: snakes, mice, cockroaches, lizards...

On the first floor there are different stuffed animals and skeletons of farm birds and animals - hens, pigeons, cats; of wild animals - wolves, foxes, tigers, feathered snipes and wood-grouses, red headed woodpeckers, modest titmouse, and lovely peacock.

On the last floor tightly closed cupboards stand still. Silence governs the narrow streets of this incredible wooden city split into whole regions of beetles and butterflies, districts of orthoptera and neuropterous insects, boulevards of beetles, streets of leaves and shield-bearer lice.

Pierced with tiny entomological needles and accurately sticked to paper the insects stay in a military formation in a posthumous parade demonstrating shine, forms and hair of their hitinine full-dress, ornaments and colors of the wings. These are species collected from different places, sometimes from different countries.

Many years have been passed in collecting such an exhibit for this museum and for others as well in different parts of the world. An incredible spectacle would be the map of the earth globe marked with the places and regions where such collections are kept.

We should estimate the long term job of scientists and amateurs that restlessly enrich museum's treasures. But from another point of view we should ask ourselves "Is this destruction for educative purposes of thousands of animals, birds and insects reasonable?"

How many animals die daily in the hands of cruel poachers that have transformed the satisfaction of human caprice into their profession? The hunter's trophies decorating villas and houses, even restaurants, aren't they a product of human cruelty?

"Human, I think, is the only animal that kills for pleasure." - P. Lotty

Do you think that if the lions have the possibility to kill us all would do it just because they are stronger than us? Do you think that they would kill just to make shoes and coats for themselves? Would they kill us just to make trophies to put on their walls?

We, the human race, we are the one that would destroy just for one pearl tons of mussels. We and only we can and do kill herd of elephants for their tusks in the name of a few rich to decorate their homes with ivory jewel boxes and statues.

A lot of animals become victims of the illegal traffic of animals because of people that transform their homes into small zoos for entertainment just from courtesy. How many animals die during such illegal transportation from their home or endure terrible harms? How many of them die because of non-adaptation to a new and hostile environment?

We should fight against this. Our hearts should struggle as long as we can imagine the pain of these animals.

Some people might say that these are just animals. They cannot talk or think but Jeremy Bentham said it once clearly: "The question is not can they reason? nor can they talk? but, can they suffer?" The pain caused from a bullet or a hit is one and the same for the animal and the human being.

Many of the pets are put under cruel education and forced into different games and sports. It is about the shot to pigeons, the cock fight, the dog fight, la corrida and others. There is no animal in nature that kills for pleasure, for satisfaction of its blood seeking character. All animals kill to survive and satisfy their hunger. The Natural selection brings to extinction only of the weakest and ill animals. The human being is the one that makes cross-breeding in order to create an artificial type of animal which is cruel and ready to fight to death.

And what about all those animals that where trained and shown on the circus arena all over the world? Could it be called in a different way than cruelty?

It is very often that media news show different experiments with animals. Even though practiced in Ancient Antiquity experiments with animals happened to be widespread only in the 19th century. At the beginning they were used especially in science and medicine but later in the 20th century they were spread to many other different domains like cosmetics, pesticides, painting, weapon producing. Each year more than 800 millions of animals are sacrificed 4-5 million of which in France sacrificed for commercial purposes. The list of the different experiments in which 85% were performed without anesthesia is never-ending. How are we going to feel if we got a surgery without anesthesia. We are going to put on trail the doctors! Are we going to put them into jail, will we make a big fuss of it and attract people's attention?

How is it possible to protect animals from cruelty against them? How to convince people that animals are not just a material thing but they are also sentient beings? Why don't we try to walk in their shoes?

Another highly developed sector in the 20th century is the breeding of animals in intensive technologies. According to this way of breeding animals calves are closed into boxes without possibility for free movement. At the end of the third month, before bringing it to the slaughter house, the calf has got enough fat but is completely dismantled. In the case of the laying hens, they are stacked to the floor or pushed on metal fences 20 to 25 m2. The floor is slipping towards a chute where eggs are collected. This environment has nothing to do with the natural one.

Daily we are talking about the high levels of stress in human life, how harmful it is for us, how it threatens us and our natural living. Does not this stress exist in the life of animals as well? Their natural instinct, natural way of life... have not all been changed by humans, isn't this industrial stock-breeding subjected to a daily stress among animals?! We must wake up from the heavy hibernation we have been to. We must protect the creatures which have been tortured that way, we must struggle to bring back the traditional stock-breeding, to keep ourselves informed of the way the animal whose meat, eggs or milk we buy has been treated and kept. We must not be blind to cruelty. We must protest against turning the flora and fauna into a semi manufacture.

People consider Nature a means of satisfying their own needs and have been destroying irrevocably what they have not personally created.

Human aggression demolishes an enormous amount of animal species with impunity. People are negligent to the irreversible harms they cause to the speechless Nature.

The Red Book contains all the extinct animal species that are under the law protection and hunting and killing them is banned.

People were the cause for the accelerated extinction of mammoths and other numerous animal species even in prehistoric times. America is the place where it could be most clearly seen. The emigrants from Asia contributed to a significant decrease of the local fauna, especially among the armadillos.

The expansion of the seafarers and settlersall over the world has made many other species extinct. They were killed in large numbers mostly for food or simple pleasure. The big penguin from the North Atlantic was also killed off. The kouaga zebra, the turtles from the Rodriguez Islands, the wolf from the Falkland Islands... the extinct list is long.

The threat for the wild fauna in 20th century increased and not only was habitats destroyed but also all over pollution. Animalists have constantly united and co-ordinated their efforts in protecting and keeping animal species.

It has often been noticed that among the acts of animals there are some close to human moral. There is big similarity between the rituals of people and animals. This similarity in knowing the animal behaviour could help us understand many mysterious processes.

According to K. Lorenz, "the one who has mastered that in its complete completeness can be disgusted neither by Darwin's discovery that people and animals have the same origin nor by Freud's conclusion that we are led by the same instincts which led our ancestors."

Johan Herder also believes that by studying animals we could clarify too many things from human psyche and that would make us take a sober look upon ourselves.

Monten stresses on the advantage of knowing and valuing the experience of the animal world because according to him there is no community more well laid out, with more differentiated allocation of labor and duties, with more steady order in the community than bees.

According to Monten people have to be made to consider the order in this kingdom. They want to be above it and do not see that they are connected and inferior to the same laws like the other creatures of their genus.

In Nature reigns not only the principle of "mutual struggle" but also the one of "mutual support." The instinct of comradeship between people and animals developed gradually for a too long period of evolution. People soon forgot that a significant part of 'their discoveries is due to animal world'.

The father of the Russian aviation N. E. Zhukovski developed the thought of the structure of the flying apparatus of birds and insects in his works as well as the ways of their flight, described the gliding flight of birds and any apparatus heavier that air.

By studying the flight of insects biologists have found out that the ptherostigma of the wings of a dragonfly was a fore image of the same device the constructors supplied the wings of high-speed aircraft with, after long and expensive gropings/search.

M.K.?ihonravov writes that "Nature sometimes points out how the most complicated problems are solved very easily." The sting of the insects, 'drill' of woodworms, especially the ??????? of the woodbees - these all flexible and self-sticking needles, have been attracting the drilling men's attention for a long time.

The same way both the chemical composition and the different properties of a spider web and the silky thread of the bays, wrapping in cocoons, are waiting to be analyzed and that could reveal interesting and instructive details to the specialists in organic chemistry and the inventors of new plastic.

Ecology, a comparatively new science, studies the many-sided connections of the organism with its space of living where feels "at home." It shows us that people must bear in mind the other plants and animals dwelling this "home."

The word group "animal protection" means common sense to me at first place. We, people, must prove that if we are not the most superior creatures in the natural hierarchy, we are at least the most sensible ones for the time being. Let us imply a lot of love in this word group because living together with representatives of other animal species and looking after their survival is a sign of love mainly. Let us be merciful because Nature has forgiven us so many mistakes and outrages so far that we must also learn how to forget. "To protect animals" means to stop killing them at random, thoughtlessly and not considering we are destroying the Eco-system we are living in.

Let us stop buying fur coats made of the skin and fur of killed animals or such kept with this purpose only - to be made into coats.

Let us act the way we are not ashamed from our Creator who has given us the right to rule over "sea fish, birds in the air and every living creature that inhabits the Earth."

If we care about animal world, we care about ourselves, our future and welfare. There is nothing better than something done in the name of people's happiness. Only this way people could put into all the power of their mind and hearts, only this way something could be looked for tirelessly and other could be discovered endlessly: in the unknown - unexpected, in the entertaining - useful, in the little - grand!

by Dessislava Petrova Petrova

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