Let Pets Mind Their Business

Apr 2 , 2022
By Kidist Yidnekachew

A fellow human being can make us angry or trigger us to start a fight from time to time. Differences in ideas and arguments are a given. That is why we often see people fighting, even though that is not always the solution. I cannot remember the last time I was in a physical fight with anyone. There is no point in throwing a punch unless in self-defence and even then, it is not a sure bet.

The idea of fighting is fascinating. As an overprotective, anxious control freak who often assumes the worst of scenarios, I find every punch lethal but that is not always the case. I know some fights are necessary to make us strong both mentally and physically. Instead of countries going to war, if leaders could have sorted out their differences in a fist fight without dragging the population into it, then the world would have been a better place.

In some circles, it is sometimes argued that adults should not meddle when children fight. Let them sort it out on their own as that will prepare them for the real world, they claim. There could be some truth to it, but it is never okay when there is a power differential.

But it could be even worse other times. Some boys, especially those between the ages of six and twelve, take fancy hitting stray cats or dogs. They are walking on the road and they see a cat, sitting on the side of the road harmlessly, neither approaching nor attacking them; simply minding its own business. Out of the blue, it is hit by a stone by some boy. And they do not even show remorse; they keep hitting it.

Why and for what?

I understand the logic behind hitting a dog that was aggressive towards one but wanting to hurt a harmless creature only because we can show that we are indeed capable of inflicting pain is absurd.

It is not like these children were having an emotional fit or needed to displace their anger, it happens out of nowhere. We see them talking and laughing and all of a sudden, they see a cat and get the urge to either throw stones at it or hit it. The poor and helpless cats do not even know what they did wrong.

It might be the way we are raised. From a young age, we are told to chase away pets when we see them, especially if they are not owned by us. We encourage our kids to tell pets to go away and even to apply physical force to chase them away every now and then. By the time we are adults, we have told our brains that it is okay to do that to pets or other animals. There are parents who teach their children to take care of pets and treat them with kindness. But this is not as common as it should be considering the abuse perpetrated against cats and dogs.

Whenever I see children hitting pets, I tell them to stop but the older children have an attitude and look at me as if to say, “nobody asked you.” They even scare me at times. Understandably, we do not have the privilege to talk about animals’ rights yet, considering what happens to human beings to the present day. But we cannot witness it happen so many times and fail to speak out either.

The same analogy applies to humans too. Sometimes we hurt others because we can and because we simply do not like them, which makes them prey to abuse. This is especially the case if the power differential is tilted in our favour. Sometimes, if the act is being perpetrated against those considered weak and powerless, we do not even notice – much the same way few notice the abuse towards animals.

PUBLISHED ON Apr 02,2022 [ VOL 23 , NO 1144]

Kidist Yidnekachew is interested in art, human nature and behaviour. She has studied psychology, journalism and communications and can be reached at (kaymina21@gmail.com)

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