Yesterday, I came across a remarkable Chron article.
Headlined Hearing “I love you” from their owner makes pups’ heart rate skyrocket by 46 percent, study shows, it reviewed a small study in which dogs had their responses to affection from their human caretakers tracked with heart monitors..
Hearing “I love you” caused the dogs’ hearts to beat nearly 50 percent faster. And being cuddled when stressed reduced their heart rate by nearly 25 percent!
What struck me most however, was the article’s contrast with the World Wildlife Fund’s biannual report on our declining wildlife populations. Both articles were released on the same day.
The news wasn’t good: Almost 1 million different species of animals, plants, and insects are headed for extinction. Their numbers have declined 70 percent in the past 50 years.
The sad truth is that as much as we love our dogs, we sometimes seem to hate the rest of the world’s animals. That may sound harsh, but think about it:
If dogs sense and respond our affection, why wouldn’t pigs, cows or sheep?
What must they go through, when we humans herd them into slaughterhouses to be killed for our food? To them, it doesn’t matter whether hunger or hate motivates us. All they know is that we don’t love them enough to protect them.
But our indifference to animal suffering spreads far beyond the slaughterhouse killing floors. As the WWF report disclosed, we’re destroying the natural habitats of so many of the world’s species by clearing or burning the forests and polluting the oceans with discarded-but-deadly nets.
All of it’s done to support our appetite for meat! I don’t blame the bulldozer drivers, farmers or fishermen; I blame consumers. When we stop demanding animal-based foods, they’ll stop ravaging the Earth to provide it.
So the next time you look at a dog with love, remember you’re looking at a representative of every animal whose world we are destroying.
An animal ambassador, pleading for us to stop our hateful behavior toward his fellow creatures — to extend the same affection toward all of them. And to declare our love for the planet through our actions!