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In Memory of Jack, my Rabbit

Story ID:10706
Written by:Suzana Margaret Megles (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:New Paltz New York usa
Year:2015
Person:Joe Miele
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I love almost all animals but find it hard to include reptiles, though of course, I do
realize that they too are God’s creatures. I would love to ask Him one day- if I am
lucky enough to see Him face to face -why He made them because they cause me
and probably many other people so much fear.

Basically, I am a dog person, and most people will already know this and are probably
tired of hearing why. But for those who don’t–it was because of my first puppy
Peaches who in 1975 made me a convert to seeing God’s animal creation through her
beautiful and soulful brown eyes. Maybe the exception to this was viewing a rather
large harmless garter snake in our yard one summer day. Of course, she and a couple
of my cats who were outside at the time -could care less. I was terrified- but smiled
when I saw one of the cats “helping” the snake along his lumbering way- gently
extending one paw on each side as he tried to slither away.

Up to this point, we had been a dog and cat family until some years ago when Jack,
the rabbit came into our lives and joined us in the partially refinished basement which
housed some of our rescued cats. It was almost winter and Monica, a friend, said
she was worried about the rabbit who had been feasting in her vegetable garden all
summer. Would he survive the winter outdoors? No problem – bring him over. I knew
nothing about caring for rabbits, but I was game. In fact, I think my cats were as well,
and especially Patrick- a rescued feral. His stay with us is a story in itself. Sadly, we
did not enjoy Jack’s company for long because he was an elderly rabbit. Did I do
something wrong in his care? I hope not, because his passing caused me pain. So
Jack, this post is in your memory. We will all meet again one day – my fondest wish
and belief.

RABBIT HUNTING: A SICKNESS THAT IS GOING, GOING.....ALMOST GONE

Today I received the Sumer/Fall edition of the C.A.S.H. Courier. C.A.S.H stands for
the Committee To Abolish Sport Hunting. The article written by Joe Miele, the president
of this organization was clear and succinct- explaining in a few paragraphs why rabbit
hunting should become a relic of the past. You may have to go all the way back to
pioneer times to give it some justification, but today it is only a shameful reminder of
the little concern and respect we have for them and other wildlife. We basically consider
their lives as inconsequential and a means to satisfy this cruel act we call a “sport.”
In my view and the view of others - how can anything which causes pain and suffering
to harmless creatures be considered a sport?

Miele reminds us that deer are not the only animals hunters kill. Among their victims are
doves, crows, geese, and quail by the millions. Also millions of raccoons, opossums, foxes,
and squirrels are hunted as well as rabbits. While some hunters like to eat rabbits, more just
enjoy the killing aspect. And I cringed when i read when for some- the best thing about
rabbit hunting is that it is often used to teach children the “fun” of killing other species.

This topic also makes me recall a very happy and sad memory as well when I was able to
visit my parents’ homeland in Slovakia in 1972. To trod the same land they once had. To
visit the villages where they had lived. To visit the graveyards where their loved ones rested –
all of this will always be a part of my favorite memory bank. However, there was also one sad
event, and that was the killing of a rabbit for one of our meals. I don’t believe that I was able
to partake of that meal which caused me great sadness at the time.

Back to rabbit hunting here in the U.S. As a former teacher, I was appalled to read that some
hunting family members feel that teaching youngsters to kill an innocent creature without
cause is something which has merit. Aren’t these the same children who during the Easter time
may have experienced the pleasure and joy of cradling a live chick or bunny rabbit - the symbols
of new life and the risen Christ? What hypocracy to now teach them how to kill innocent animals.
This surely must be confusing to children who should be learning lessons of compassion from their
family – not the “thrill” and joy in hunting down one of the creatures they had enjoyed during
the Easter season.

But happily, Miele is also quick to point out that hunting generaly is declining in popularity
all across the United States. And for the rabbits and other small game, there is evidence the
decline is greatest with them. According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service there were 1.5
million rabbit hunters in 2011 where that had been 4 million 1991. This reflects a 62.5 percent
decline in the popularity of rabbit hunting in 20 years.

A Michigan stat is also encouraging. According to the state Department of Natural Resources,
only 56,000 Michigan hunters killed rabbits in recent years compared to some 400,000 hunters
in the 1970’s. Good news of course, but for people like me, the best news will be for this cruelty
to stop completely and to remove innocent children from the hunting equation entirely. They
should see rabbits as companion animals rather then bloody, hunting trophies.

Miele also writes about the shameful use of beagles to what he tongue in cheek describes
as a pretty simple and uncomplicated form of hunting- “just take a quiet walk where you find
rabbits and bring a couple of beagles with you......and you’ll be sure to unload your gun on a
vicious man-eating rabbit, the kind that brings fear to the hearts of every Monty Python fan.”

Sadly, using or I should say exploiting an innocent beagle to engage in the taking the life of
his fellow living creature is yet another bad lesson to teach children. Instead, we should be
teaching them the sacredness of all life and the inter- connectedness of all living beings.

There is much more re this topic and other humane issues re wildlife in the C.A.S.H newsletter–
should anyone be interested and want to view it on the internet.