Shirley Chan
This is writing…

Creatures greater than the small

by Shirley Chan
(Daily Post, SPCA insert)

Cruelty happens to large creatures who need our attention just the same.  Large animals are often overlooked and forgotten when we spread kindness around.

Most of us think “cruelty” applies only to companion animals such as dogs, cats, birds and rabbits. All creatures, great and small, deserve our respect, care, attention and humane treatment.

The SPCA often gets called out to abused large animals. Perhaps their owners are ignorant of the ways to keep them. Perhaps they have become larger than when they were first acquired. Perhaps they cost too much to keep. Whatever the reasons, it results in cruelty to the animal.

Before you get that horse for your loving daughter to trot about and jump fences or that adorable lamb for your grandson, think ahead and imagine. Imagine that horse is no longer as interesting as the boy next door or that shaggy, woolly sheep is now larger than your grandson who used to cuddle it. Large animals are. Large. They grow into their full size – and there is no stopping that. Who then will care for that not-so-cute animal? And how? At what cost?

If large is still what you want, the costs for each one’s upkeep, its housing, its ongoing care, and its exercise must be considered. Horses are expensive to keep. Hooves need trimming and re-shoeing. Farrier’s cost. Grooming, stable and grazing costs if you have no space, regular riding – all these take up time and money. Floats, transport costs can add up.

SPCA’s manager, Nicola Martin advises, “Do your research before getting a large animal. Consider winter feed, the cost of a farrier, vet bills. If animals are underfed, they lose condition.”

The SPCA has no facilities to shelter abused large animals. Fostering is normally the way when these large animals get rescued. Fostering allows them to get reconditioned and the care they deserve.

Too man farm animals are overlooked when it comes to humane treatment, kindness and care. Roadside goats need water, checked daily to ensure they are not stuck, can’t get to their water, are injured or abused. They could strangle themselves. They could be abused by passers-by or stolen. Nicola advises “Don’t chain to a post. Use a run-line. Let the goat go up and down the grazing strip safely and easily.”

There is a whole different set of considerations on top of the familiar ones when we have large animals as well as farm animals; animals that often aren’t cute and cuddly – cows, sheep, horses, goats, donkeys, ponies, pigs, chicken, ducks, geese, pheasants, quail… the list goes on.

We need to remember they are living, breathing creatures just like you and me. The difference is, they are subject to our treatment and if we are cruel, they suffer. If we overlook their needs, they suffer. If we deprive them proper vet care, they suffer. In every scenario, the animal comes out the loser.

They suffer in silence for they can’t tell us or kick us in the backside for being mean to them. It will be good for mankind if animals could tell us we are being cruel. Because they can’t and are submissive to us, we need to be able to anticipate their needs and care – and have a great harmonious relationship with them all – these creatures great and small.