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Monday, January 13, 2014

Frank Bruni, "According Animals Dignity": Unqualified Love

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."

― Mahatma Gandhi

Nice New York Times op-ed from Frank Bruni today entitled "According Animals Dignity" (, pertaining to increased "animal cognition." Bruni writes:

"People who go on lion hunts encounter stern public shaming. (The Dodo recounts a recent example.) Bill de Blasio has prioritized the retirement of Central Park’s carriage horses. Several prominent retailers, including Gap and H&M, stopped procuring angora last year after a widely shared video of the fur being yanked from rabbits’ bodies. The movement to accord chimpanzees and some other kinds of apes legal rights is accelerating, and greater scrutiny of food production has prompted keener disgust over the fate of many farm animals, along with state legislation to spare them florid suffering.

This is only going to build, because at the same time that scientific advances force us to gaze upon the animal kingdom with more respect, the proliferation of big and little cameras — of eyes everywhere — permits us to eavesdrop not just on animal play but also on animal persecution. It’s all documented, it all goes viral, and we can’t turn away, or claim ignorance, as easily as we once did."

I think this is no accident. At a time when human family life is unwinding and we are bombarded with stories of human cruelty, many of us take much comfort from our furry friends.

There might be 130,000 dead and 9 million refugees in Syria, but every time I come home, no matter what the hour, I take great comfort from the "kisses" I receive from Arnold, our 160-pound Anatolian shepherd, when I pass through the door. It is an unqualified love for which I am, and will always be, forever grateful.

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