Today we are introducing a brand new part of this blog from my sister Lithy Dunbar Morley.
Lithy is an environmental management student currently studying a semester at La Trobe university in Melbourne.
Here is her first featured blog post on faldaeats.com, stay tuned to find out more about Lithy.
In her Shoes, a Goat’s Perspective…
Some argue that rights should be given to all living things, or at least those animals with superior intelligence and with the ability to feel pain and to suffer. When considering whether animals are entitled to rights it seemed a good idea to have a chat with a being that has suffered and has first hand experience of the situation.
I interviewed a four year old Alpine goat who has lived amongst a variety of animals her whole life. For the purpose of this interview I derived my questions from a couple of sources, Park, M & Singer, P – Globalization of Animal Welfare and International Court of Justice: Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v Japan) – Summary of Judgement (2014).
The young goat mother seemed encouraged by my company albeit she was on the other side of the fence and I took this as formal consent to being interviewed. In addition she happily accepted the Gum Nuts I offered. Unsure how to initiate the interview and cautions that her owner was watching I decided to jump in by asking If, in her opinion animals were entitled to rights like those given to humans.
She responded indifferently by rubbing herself against the sharp metal knots which lined her enclosure and I took this to mean that she:
“felt angered by the history of her ancestors, who were oppressed for generations”
and that she hoped:
“this new group of eco thinkers would be able to voice her concerns and instigate real change”.
Wondering if she was done answering I stepped forward, only for her to angrily shake her mud soaked hooves dramatically at being interrupted mid answer and she continued:
“Unfortunately I will die without seeing my situation change and so will my children”
Or at least that’s what I think she said, the language barrier was difficult to overcome. Her answers didn’t surprise me and I had been prepared for her stark responses.
She had already given birth to three kids. Unfortunately two of them having been male meant that the central nerve in their brains had been severed, as they were of no financial gain to her owner. It is of little surprise that she had developed a negative outlook on her world.
I next asked her if she had heard about the international whaling ban. Nodding she looked deeply in thought and I could see in her eyes that she did believe the ban was a positive step for animal protection. I sharply pushed the side of her torso, feeling her protruding ribs and causing her to yelp in pain, in order to regain her wandering attention and asked if she would support a similar ban against intensive goat farming. She seemed to reply that:
“I am a realist, and if history has taught us anything it’s that small change can lead to big things, let’s start with the basics and ensure fair treatment for all”.
Turning her head sideways she looked over at one of her room-mates, revealing a thin burn line around her collar. Curious I asked her owner about its cause and he kindly explained with a toothy grin that she had to be tied up at night or else she might get cut by the barbed fence during escape attempts.
It was interesting to get an Alpine goats point of view where suffering is an everyday occurrence and Infant mortality a major concern as well as early death from human inflicted pain.
Animals don’t have voices, or not those we can comprehend, but that doesn’t mean we can’t interpret their behaviours or put ourselves in their metaphorical shoes.
Park, M & Singer, P 2012, ‘The Globalisation of Animal Welfare: More food does not require more suffering’, Foreign Affairs, pp. 122-133.
International Court of Justice: Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v Japan) – Summary of Judgement (2014)