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Plastics, Nitro, & Ag-gag law

Story ID:7858
Written by:Suzana Margaret Megles (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:various various usa
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So many interesting things I've read or seen on TV just today. On
CBS Sunday Morning there was the very sad commentary on just
how bad plastic is in our lives. I know so many people who really aren't
too concerned about this, and probably don't bother to recycle plastic
bottles and bags. They are the ones who should have seen this report
and probably didn't. Basically, it told of one Captain's sad discovery
of huge pockets of floating plastic garbage in the ocean. Also shown
a world map of the major oceans of the world and there were 5 easily
discernible pockets of plastic flotsam in each.

Not only unsightly, but dangerous to the fish who think plastic is
food and ingest it. Some will die and the ones who live and are caught
and eaten -those people may become ill- but this has not been proven
according to one commentator. However, she noted that some type
of chemical from the plastic may be thrown off in the fish. This can't be
good. Everyday I find more and more reasons that I am glad that I am
vegan and don't eat fish or any other living being.

Compassion always enters into the picture and I've always had my
own simple definition of it and that is putting oneself in the place of
another - be it human or animal. Simple and yet it has served me well,
but recently I came across Frederick Buechner's take on it which I like
very much: "Compassion is the capacity for feeling what's it like to
live in someone else's skin, and it's the knowledge that there can
never be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy for
you, too." Whether he intended his definition of compassion to apply
to all living beings, I have no way of knowing, but certainly -for people
of true compassion it does.

It is with great sadness that finally a state who obviously is not
concerned about exposing animal cruelty in their cafos, has managed
to pass an Ag-gag law. Iowa has this dubious distinction and I'm so
glad that it is not Ohio. In fact I think my state seem to be heading in
the right direction after worrying about its position on animal cruelty.
I hope that we will continue to be concerned about animal welfare in
general and that we never even consider snuffing out the voices of
those who would expose it in our state.

I was also happy to read that either the Ohio House or Senate has
approved Nitro's Law which was inspired by finding Nitro and his
fellow dog mates at an outdoor kennel starved to death. The article
and pictures of him and the other dogs are haunting and sad. They
can be found on the internet. There is never any justification for cruelty
of this type -though sadly it is more prevalent than people of compassion
can imagine.

One day I hope our schools will devote some time to including lessons
on compassion in their curriculum. You may think this unecessary and
should be the responsibility of parents and churches, synogogues, and
mosques -but the question remains - are they doing a good job or even
an adequate one? Look around and see the many incidences of cruelty
one can find in the news to both humans and animals and the answer
should be obvious.

If the schools can help in this regard, wouldn't that be great? It's been
many years since I've taught but I probably could find lesser concerns in
the curriculum which could be displaced in my opinion for one so needed
as dealing compassionately with humans and animals alike. I think the
world be a so much happier and better place as a result.

I still remember fondly a course in college called Mental Hygiene. I think
it was basically a psychology course in daily living and I only know that I
enjoyed it very much and it probably gave me a heads up attitude to facing
life in general. Our kids can use such a course in high school and even
earlier. It certainly may help the students who are bullying classmates
as well as the students who are receiving it. This course for high schoolers
could even include lessons on parenting since most will become parents.

Years ago I saw a program where some delinquent youth were even given
a lesson in this regard. They were required to act as parents in caring for a
baby (doll) for a short period of time. I think they got the message - it involved
responsibility and a healthy portion of selflessness. No news to us, many
teenagers are self-indulged and are facing a rude awakening if they don't
try to learn life's lessons early.

Though it was role playing, I think the teens got the idea that it requires time
and commitment. This learning experience could also relate to the proper care
of any animal companions they might have. The incidences of animal cruelty
are often horrific and unconscionable. I read accounts in this regard on
Care2 almost daily.