Tuesday, June 16, 2009

the rockets red glare
in a most disgusting triumph

Don't get me wrong, I really understand the pleasure of seeing stuff explode, I do. In the place were I grew up, this and taking far too easily obtained drugs, were two of the main pastimes available to ratty kids like me.

I think there is a difference however, between the occasional kid letting off a soda globe in the bush, and having an institutionalised weekend in which anyone over the age of 18 can legally obtain fireworks over the counter and let them off wherever the hell they feel like. Such is the case in the city where I live. Canberra is the only city in Australia where fireworks can be obtained without a permit or purpose, and every June long weekend, the suburbs are interspersed with the sounds of explosions every night.

The reason this concerns me, is that adorable guy you see above there. The problem is, he doesn't know the explosions shattering the silence that weekend are not the product of bored kids and drunk 20 somethings with nothing more creative to occupy their time. I mean, if I didn't know any better, I would think we were getting bombed, I would probably feel the same as him, which incase you couldn't tell, is scared fucking shitless.

Every year, hundreds of family dogs and cats in Canberra, run away from their homes in an attempt to get away from the loud, disorientating noise. There have been several past instances in which dogs have literally hung themselves trying to get away from the terrifying noise. Many others are hit by cars. The rest generally end up at animal shelters like the RSPCA. Those who aren't lucky enough to have an owner who gives two shits about them, are put on death row within a few weeks.

It makes me pretty sad to realise this information is common knowledge, yet this practice continues like clockwork every year. For all our talk of being an advanced compassionate society, this seems to me like just another example of peoples inability to think of the needs of others, both human and non-human, before thinking of their own. If we can't sacrifice a cultural practice that when it comes down to it, has its root in a celebration of imperialism and warfare, for the sake of companion animals we interact with and care for every day, how can we make sacrifices for equally intelligent animals, with the same capacity for friendship, that end up on most peoples plates at dinner time, but with whom we implicitly and intentionally have nothing to do with?

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