Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Divine Justice

Imagine my astonishment, when the first words I heard as I woke related the fact that Phillip Matthysen had been killed in a car accident. I mean, what are the chances? There are days that I beg for this kind of justice. I think it comes from living in our country. You can't escape the brutal acts that are so pervasive all around us. When it involves your loved-ones, and for me, kids and animals, it releases an inner fury that is hard to swallow. This of course, goes against the good old belief system, which rears its ugly head - the one which suggests you shouldn't wish bad things for another, or god forbid, speak ill of the dead.

The Husky Justice campaign collected "over 100 000 signatures of people who want to make a difference and nearly 40 000 animal lovers have signed up to our mailing list - that in itself is a remarkable achievement!"

This leaves me wondering if that word 'justice' had any effect on the events which unfolded for the Husky killer. Failed by the law, as far as animal lovers were concerned, his paltry sentence did not reflect the horror of his revolting deed, made all the more laughable when the judge ruled that he would never be allowed to "own" a Husky again, when he allegedly had a backyard full of non-Husky dogs.

If this is what collective conscience looks like in action, then I'm glad we're finally seeing results. Karma has made it to the mainstream and the irony at this turn of events was not lost on the members of the Husky Justice group on Facebook. So what does all of this mean? It means if we put or heart and soul into something, we see results. It means, we should exercise our choice of words with caution. The first words that came to mind when I heard that news report were: Divine Justice. Certainly from one angle, this appears to be the case. The concept of the collective conscience suggests that, for example, if enough people want the same thing, that thought reaches a critical mass (also referred to as the Hundred Monkey Effect), and Bingo! You've got what you want*. I'm grasping at the straw which suggests that humanity is in fact, evolving for the greater good. That we are finally waking up and becoming conscious enough to realise that animal cruelty can't be ignored anymore.

This is by no means the first horrendous case of animal cruelty to make media headlines. Backed by an impressive viral campaign, Husky Justice roared around the Web like wildfire, igniting the anger and rage, of everyone and their dog. Sadly, you don't seem to see this kind of response too often when it comes to abducted children, and yet, you'd be forgiven for thinking this country was stuffed to capacity with animal loving citizens. Vociferous in their outrage against publicised animal abuse cases, I wonder if people think "animal abuse" begins and ends microwaves and chainsaws.

A week after Matthysen's sentence, a truck load of pigs ended up scattered across a road in King Williams Town. The Metro Police - the dahlings of the SA public - stood by and watched as the starving hordes and 'previously disadvantaged' took advantage of the 'free food.' Some of them even helped themselves. The problem with this picture is the status certain species are afforded. The South African animal lover's mindset seems to suggests that dogs aren't food, but pigs are.

Without causing a wave of bunny-hugger-protest, I'd like to challenge the average animal lover out there to acquaint themselves with what goes on at the intensive farming joints, from which their food comes. The cruelty, sweetly disguised as 'humane,' ensures our continued emotional disconnection from the animal's most basic rights; and it's packaged to be digestible. You simply cannot condemn Jacob Zuma and his mates when they slit the throat of their cultural sacrifice - and discuss it over chops and a boerrie roll at your weekend braai.

If we are going to consider cosmic law and order as an antidote to the atrocities we see around us every day, then we have to consider the fact that ALL animals - and people too - are sentient beings. This means that they deserve the right to a pain and cruelty-free life. They deserve to inhale fresh air, not the noxious fumes of a cramped feedlot, they deserve to eat a healthy diet, one which is not pumped full of antibiotics, which you ingest second-hand. They deserve to feel the sun on their backs and feel the wind ruffling their feathers; and once they've absorbed the energy of a healthy environment, surely they deserve a humane death sentence?

Just as we fervently wished for justice, in the hope that that Husky puppy did not die in vain, so do I hope that its sacrifice, in the face of cruelty, can be the beginning of a formidable wave which will result in visible and policed animal rights in our country. New laws which will finally allow our Democratic Constitution to be world class, as it lends its support to the escalating need for compassion on our planet.

*If this seems too simplistic, check out the principles in The Secret.

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