Sandra is upset. She has been reading about the horrific slaughter of dolphins by the Japanese, and she wants me to write a blog about it.
She handed me an item ripped from the local newspaper, reporting that some American celebrities are urging President Obama not to sign the Trans Pacific Partnership until Japan bans the practice.
I can certainly understand how the celebrities feel. And I am well aware of Sandra’s sentiments when it comes to killing animals. She has almost stopped eating any kind of meat, and looks at me reproachfully when I bite into a ham sandwich.
Furthermore, there are many reasons to reject the Trans Pacific Partnership, if what I’m reading and hearing is accurate. As I understand it, the agreement empowers global corporations to override American environmental laws, for one thing.
But I hesitate to point an accusing finger at the Japanese.
My heart aches for helpless creatures that are wantonly slaughtered. Especially intelligent, highly evolved creatures like dolphins. But I suspect there might be some hypocrisy involved when American celebrities rush to the dolphins’ defense.
Do they write their letter to the President and then go off to dine on wiener schnitzel? Or steak? Do they eat lamb chops? Or fish caught in those mile-long drift gillnets that float off the California coast, trapping every kind of marine creature, including whales and – yes – dolphins? Shouldn’t they demand that President Obama ban this practice, too?
Do they wear fur coats? I’m sure they wear leather shoes.
And why target only Japan? All over Asia, and all over the world, animals are slaughtered for food, often including species regarded as pets in Western cultures.
When I was much, much younger, I wrote to Pierre Trudeau, who was Canada’s prime minister at the time, urging him to intervene in the bloody slaughter of baby seals by fishermen in the Maritimes. He wrote me an enlightening letter, explaining that if the seals were allowed to procreate unchecked, they would decimate the fish stocks and deprive the fishermen of their living.
Things are never as cut and dried as they seem. There’s always another side to every story.
Don’t get me wrong. I am deeply saddened by the way supposedly civilized societies treat animals. Some years ago, I decided to be a vegetarian, and ate no formerly living creatures – except shrimps, which seemed to me to be almost as much of a vegetable as plankton or seaweed.
After two years on this diet, I was diagnosed with anemia, and my doctor, who was from Alberta, gave me a stern lecture about the dangers of giving up beef.
I still question the morality of eating animals. But is it immoral for a cat to catch a mouse? Or an eagle to make off with a rabbit?
My brother, Bill, has reminded me many times that the Bible says God gave man dominion over the animal kingdom. But how I wish that dominion were exercised in a kinder, gentler manner.
It’s a cruel world we live in, though, and when we decry the behavior of others, we should pause to reflect on the bloody sacrifices we – most of us, anyway – demand to ensure our own wellbeing.