Dominion: noun, Control or the exercise of control; sovereignty.
(Here is the disclaimer: This entry will probably fall along the lines of a rant so if you are not in the mood, do not read past this line.)
Everyone knows how I feel about my animals. They are my additional children, fuzzy, feathered or reptilian. I care for them as I would want someone to care for my child and I believe that God ordained and commanded us to do so. In Genesis God gave man dominion over the earth. Yes, dominion implies some kind of entitlement and control or rule but dominion also confers responsibility. Allow me to follow this thought process through with some examples.
Good leaders rule with benevolence. They care for the people who are entrusted to them. They provide shelter, safety, food, comfort and security. Bad leaders abuse, use, coerce, rape, pillage, mistrust and mistreat their citizens.
Kings and queens have dominion over countries as do dictators, presidents, czars, etc. Some are good and benevolent some are wicked and cruel but all have a responsibility to the people over which they rule. Whether they choose to acknowledge that responsibility and do right by the people or whether they ignore it and serve their selfish goals instead, they were still mantled with that responsibility and will at some point be accountable for it.
If they choose to mistreat those people be it physically, fiscally, through spiritual or racial oppression, or if they mistreat those people based solely on their own ignorance or poverty, at some point they will be held accountable. Whether by the people themselves or from outside forces pushing in, or ultimately by God eventually something must give so that things may come back into balance.
In the Psalms David writes “For thou hast made him (mankind) a little lower than the angles, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet; All sheep and oxen, yea and the beasts of the field; the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the sea. (KJV)” This clearly does not state that God gave man the right to pillage the earth and take without recompense but instead He gave us “dominion”. There is that word again!
I believe pet owners and people in general are responsible to animals in the same way leaders are responsible to the people they rule. This is not a vegetarian/vegan rant, so do not get your knickers in a twist, this is instead a call to responsibility. If you want to eat an animal that is your choice but you have a responsibility to make sure that animal did not live a life of cruelty and abuse. The same goes for animals in the pet trade. They have no voices and we, as good stewards of this earth, have a responsibility to be their voice. To speak out for their health and welfare, to ensure they are provided with proper care, attention and nourishment and to report when those things are found lacking.
I would go a little further to say sometimes reporting is not enough. I know it clears our collective conscience to think we took that extra step and reported the witnessed abuse or neglect but animals are not legally children and, often times, even though a report may be followed up on by the appropriate official, there may be little to nothing they can do on the animal’s behalf. Especially if a less than thorough or less than honest party is involved and clears the animal as healthy when it is obviously not. The “buddy system” which is alive and flourishing in my beloved West Virginia is notorious for allowing atrocities based solely on the so-and-so-is-a-good-guy-give-him-a-break school of thought. Meanwhile animals languish in pain and fear without proper veterinary care or basic necessities.
Fred and I have recently run up against a desperate situation. We have rescued a very very sick parrot from what we deem a horrible environment and certainly an impending, slow, painful, lonely and frightened death. We have named her Trinity because she is our third and because we believed God intervened on her behalf when she most needed us and when I most needed her.
At this point Trinity’s health is so poor that we do not know if she will recover. She is very sick, she has a severe infection and she is undernourished, she has an enlarged liver and she has plucked her feathers to the point where some follicles may be permanently damaged and may not grow back. But she is beautiful, she has a kind and loving, gentle nature and she is safe now. I wish I could say the same for all the other animals suffering right now in the under regulated pet trade.
I by no means think that pets should be outlawed or that animals should be taken from good kind owners or even from breeders who love and nurture and cherish them but I do believe this industry should be HEAVILY monitored and regulated with independent veterinary assessments made a stringent requirement. Fred and I are going to get involved. We want to see change, we want to see animals treated with compassion and we want to see pet stores and breeders held to a high level of quality and accountability. If you want to get involved email me I will let you know what I learn as I learn it.
You have been given dominion, what will you do with it? I choose to use it gently and kindly. I am sure I have never and will never use it perfectly but I pray to use it wisely.
Also if you would like to help with the cost of Trinity’s mounting medical care please contact me. She deserves a second chance and so do all the others who will sleep tonight in uncertainty.
Much love and thanks for reading,