Speciesism

Back home I used to do volunteer work at the Pet Shelter. Usually I work with the dogs, but this time I was assigned to clean the cats. The cats all live together in one room that is about one third of the size of my bedroom. The floor is covered in old rugs and a lot of dirt. The smell is also horrible and I felt sick even though they made me wear a mask.

I was told to clean the carpets with a brush that was already dirty and clean the litter. I was determined to do a good job, because I hate to see animals live in such awful circumstances. So I started the work by properly cleaning the smaller rugs first.

Soon I got distracted by thirty-seven pairs of cat eyes staring at me. Another cat started climbing up my leg, which also made working a bit more difficult. Some cats were scared of me and some were determined to not let me have the rug beneath them.

When I first saw it, it shocked me. I had been wrong about thirty-seven pairs of eyes staring at me because I saw that some of the cats had empty eye sockets and some had one missing eye.

I know that the animals can all be pretty and have shiny and fluffy fur if someone cares for them, but I don’t think that many people are willing to pick up a blind cat or a cat that is missing a leg. It’s not just that it scares people; another problem is that it’s hard to look after a disabled animal. Nevertheless I believe that those animals have the right to live like all the others.

Our pets are all animals no one wanted. We found one of our dogs as a puppy in the snow surrounded by its dead siblings. Our other dog was beaten by his last owner and still gets scared whenever someone carries a stick in their hands. Our cat previously had to live with five dogs because no one wanted it and the woman didn’t want to leave it homeless.

Hamza was a cat we had two years ago. It was born disabled; it had its hind legs paralyzed. No one wanted it because even though it was a really cute cat it couldn’t walk properly. It would always make a huge mess and my mom complained a lot, but I knew she wouldn’t leave Hamza because Hamza needed us and no one else would ever take her. Hamza didn’t live for very long, but at least she had someone who cared for her.

My point is that even though it’s hard to find a home for all the animals in the shelter, it’s even harder to find a home for the disabled animals. People argue about how we should treat each other as equals and stop judging someone by their race or by a disability they might have, but why do people think it’s okay to judge an animal like that. All those people who enter the shelter looking for a pure breed dog also really annoy me. What difference does it make?

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