A comment on a discussion of wild horses…

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By Sharon St Joan

More about the question of wild horses…

I feel that what is sometimes missing in our views of the wild in general – is a spiritual awareness – or simply an awareness of the beauty and majesty of the wild – whether this is a wild horse – or for that matter a feral cat. Whether it is a butterfly or a pigeon on a city street.

Whether the animal is “wild” or “feral” or “tame” or “domestic” – or whatever category we, with our human brains, wish to put it into. Every animal has worth and dignity. They are all innocent. No animal is mean or vicious. Animals can be afraid, but only humans possess the capacity to be vicious.

We are so quick, as humans, to make judgements about who should live and who should die.  We sometimes set ourselves up as chief judge and executioner. A little more humility might not be amiss.

It always sounds a little bit wrong to me when we as humans talk, just a bit condescendingly, about the harm that this animal does or that animal does. Surely, no animal does more harm to the earth and to all beings than we do as humans.

Clearly there are times and places where invasive species have to be controlled and eliminated insofar as possible – or else they gobble up the wild, native species until there is nothing left. That’s just a fact.

But I am not among those who feel that we should kill or harm every single animal that we decide doesn’t belong in the world of nature. We live in the world as it is – it is a constantly changing world, nature itself is constantly changing. If there is a really, truly destructive invasive species – surely it is us.

Nearly every wild creature I’ve ever seen has an intrinsic beauty and nobility (there are one or two exceptions, but those are faults in myself, not in the animal). They are all sentient beings, and this goes for the trees, and the plants, as well – at least, as I see it. Deciding, from our lofty, human perspective, that junipers should not grow where they grow because they didn’t used to grow there does not make sense to me, nor does chopping them up in a machine, which feels like a desecration of the earth itself.

When we take a wild creature out of the wild whether it’s a bird being confined to a cage or a wild horse being separated from his family and his life in the wild to be “adopted” or confined in a holding pen, that also seems like an act of cruelty.

Some of these questions are difficult because there are many facts and many consequences involved, and many different, legitimate perspectives.

But surely, whatever action we may feel is needed or not needed, retaining a sense of kindness and compassion, as well as admiration and reverence for the beauty of wild creatures cannot be out of place.

This isn’t a criticism of anyone, just a call not to forget a certain reverence and respect for the beauty of the wild.