Posts Tagged ‘animals’

For a conversation held over a cup of tea, this one may come across as a bit heavy. As you may well know, I am very passionate about environmental and animal conservation. But saying I’m passionate and showing I’m passionate are two sides of the same coin.

There is, of course, a huge problem in the rights I believe in. I believe animals should be treated with the same safety, respect and kindness as children, as humans. Do I actively participate in protests? No. Do I write letters to companies, big or small, and suggest they change their ways to better help the environment? No. So how can I say I am passionate if I don’t do anything about it? The problem I was referring to is sometimes it’s just not that simple. Yes I could pick up a sign and protest about labs testing on animals, but the problem isn’t with them, it’s with me.

I physically cannot protest, I cannot volunteer with my local shelter or RSPCA branch. The problem is my anger. I get so disgusted at how some humans can abuse animals, I can go into what’s known as a blind rage. And I’m not talking about stamping my feet on the ground, or even shouting loudly. I mean I am actually scared of what I could do to another human being if I ever saw harm being done to an animal. How do I know this? I had one run in.

Way back when I lived in Ellon, Scotland, I went to a great local academy, a public school. I absolutely loved my time there and, if I ever have children, am bringing up my kids there without a doubt. I had great grades, and fantastic friends. Sure I was bullied for being foreign, for having a big nose, and for generally being not as pretty as my best friend (who remains to this day a very dear friend indeed). One day, around lunch time, I saw a seagull picking about at one of the bins on school property. Normally, we wouldn’t pay much attention to this kind of behaviour, seagulls are scavengers anyway. But not this time. Something was off.

I felt it first, there was a heavy air that day. Then I heard it, the shouts of the three boys in a year below me. ‘Disgusting bird!’ one shouted loudly, ‘Take this!’ He threw a stone and it hit the gull. His two buddies laughed, and looked around for other stones. I wanted to pass this scene and ignore it, thinking the bird isn’t that stupid, it’ll simply fly away. But it didn’t. Not because it was stupid, but because of what happened next. One of the boys had picked up a large stone, and chucked it square at the gull’s head. Blood dribbled down it’s neck as it fumbled around, disoriented. Its wings were wide, trying to steady itself. Then it went dark.

I have no idea how it happened and, as clichéd as it sounds I swear it to be completely true, the next thing I know, I’ve pinned the kid down onto the ground. It was like I had come out of a bad dream, only the other way around. I punched him in the face, once, twice, three times, it kept going, like a barrage, a never ending volley of fists as my rage took it out on him. Where the other two boys were I can’t remember. I only recall the blood on my fists, on his face, down his nose, as I pummelled this boy senseless. The janitor pulled me off, I was still kicking and screaming at him, and couldn’t be calmed.

They locked me in a small music room until the headteacher came to see me. Needless to say nobody was impressed with my behaviour. Either a science or English teacher, plus the janitor, were all present as they sat me down and explained how that kind of behaviour would not be tolerated. I got detention but I’m still to this day gob-smacked my parents weren’t called in immediately. All three boys got detention too, but not on the same day as me. I wonder why.

I’ve never been to anger management because I never really had problems with it. I was a very unruly teenager (moving house when in your mid-teens is not a good idea) but I was never in any other fights as serious as that.

Despite the incident, I am still determined to do the best I can for animal rights, but especially marine conservation. I aim to do a lot of diving, and become a marine biologist in a localised area (Koh Tao, I’m looking at you here). Since I was a little girl I was always interested in animals, and always will be. I just know that, realistically, I can’t do the same as those brave protesters, the ones who put their neck on the line to stand up for animal rights, the officers of the RSCPA and other charities who go round to calls of abuse and rescue animals in need. I wish I could be like you, but I know myself and that’s something I can’t do.


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Yesterday we were all going to go to the Gloucester Victorian Market, an fun family friendly annual event that showcases local goodies such as jams, paintings, cheese, mulled wine, an old fashioned carousel, actors dressed in Dickensian attire, and a sea of other stalls. I remember going last year and how much I loved seeing all the top hats (can we bring those back?). Due to the rain and flooding all over the UK in the past few days now, we hadn’t gone earlier. Sunday morning swung round and we decided, rather spur of the moment, that we would go to a local cattery and have a look at rescue cats. After all, what is a ship without a ship’s cat?

My parents had planned on getting a cat about six months ago, getting all the little bits like scratching posts, toys, bedding blankets, the works. But with only two of them running the business, they just didn’t have time to go look properly. But boy did we look on Sunday! With the directions to the shop instead of the cattery, it was thanks to mum’s eagle eye to spot the banner for the cattery! We pulled in and were greeted by a big pig, Elvis. He was so friendly, running over like a dog being reunited with a lost owner. Then we noticed all the mud, and how everyone was wrapped up warmly, with wellies. It wasn’t until we got in there I found out that the place had been flooded!

Thanks to the hard working volunteers who battled the floods all throughout the night to make sure the cats and kittens were safe, all the cats had a new temporary home in a big shed. Cages upon cages of adorable furry creatures all huddled together, blankets everywhere to keep them warm; it was an amazing effort to see them all safe. We let them know that we weren’t like normal people, we’re here for an older cat, not for a kitten. Of course other customers were there all looking at kittens and Joe couldn’t help but want them all! We first met Molly, a beautiful black cat with a pink tuft on her underside. Perhaps her previous owner wanted a pink cat, but the idea of dyeing a cat’s fur… probably best I don’t get angry. Then we were introduced to two handsome tabby cats, Gizzo and Nubby.

Well mum couldn’t stop stroking them. She was absolutely in love with Gizzo (left). I think she was with him a good half hour. Dad then got to have a look and they just fell in love. After a while we noticed how these two interacted with each other and learned more about their background. These two were on death row in Ireland but the charity saved them. Coming all the way from Ireland to Gloucester, then later on in their lives being almost flooded by the British weather, we dubbed them ‘Brothers in Arms’. If we wanted one, we felt we had to take the other. They were so close to each other, snuggling and licking, it would have broken our hearts to break these two apart. And just like that we decided these were the cats for us.

Being in a whole new environment with people they don’t know, in a big livingroom to poke around, they went into hiding. When we had Smokey in Ellon, Aberdeenshire over ten years ago, he too went into hiding for a few days so we know it’s completely normal. I would do the same if I were a cat! I move the food and drinks bowls to just where they are hiding so they can just chill and not have to come out of hiding to eat and drink. In little baby steps we’ll see these two come out of their shells and laze about on the sofa rather than under it!

The ship does feel more complete with these two around, and when my parents are away, I won’t feel so lonely! Maybe one day they’ll be happy enough to give me a few snuggles too.



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