Dispatches from Suburbia

If I played an instrument, I would have a band called "The Simon Thomsen Sex Tape"; and other musings, rants, and disconnected ramblings.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Animal Rights

"C'mon, princess, you're not that ugly. All right, you are ugly. But you're only like this at night. Shrek's ugly 24/7. "
-Donkey, from Shrek

Since it's a holiday weekend, there's about a gazillion small children running around at my grandparents' home. Today, when I stopped by, the rugrats swarmed me, all of them crying out, "Simon, come outside! We have to show you something!"

Outside, in a five gallon bucket, they'd managed to contain what looked something like a grey dust bunny. When I looked closely, I noticed two tiny ears and a tail. They'd "rescued" a mouse from a neighborhood cat.

My first reaction: "Whoever touched it, wash your hands NOW." My next thought: How do I humanely kill this thing without breaking the hearts of the five or six children surrounding me?

I instructed them to leave the mouse in the bucket WITHOUT TOUCHING IT. Then I told Grampo and my aunts, their mothers, about the find in the backyard. Then I went home. Not my kids, not my problem.

Despite my daring escape, I was left feeling a bit silly and somewhat mean. While I was trying to come up with a way to kill the damn thing, the kids reacted with such sympathy. "Let it go!" they cried. "Let's build it a fort!" one said. One of them even snuck some Cheez Whiz from the fridge to feed the little guy.

To them, this was like a dog or a cat rather than vermin. Perhaps they saw it as almost human, like a Disney film, while I saw disease and creepy crawlies.

Once again, as in my "Yes, Virginia" post, I'm left stunned and in awe at children's perspectives."


At 7:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember when my little sister first realized the chicken she was eating used to be alive. She cried and refused to eat it.
Of course it is difficult to be a five year old vegetarian.

The cats who half killed the mouse don't have such moral quandries. They would kill the mouse or play with it or eat it with no problem!!

I love animals and it would break my heart to see a half killed mouse. I would rather it be alive and out of my sight or just flat out dead after a long happy mouse life.

At 12:12 PM, Blogger Laura said...

You left the mouse there for the women to get rid of! There's something that should have been filmed for Funniest Home Videos.

At 1:41 AM, Anonymous Mike The Chemist said...

Your reaction to the situation was perfect. What else could have you done. A bunch of kids' hearts were at stake. Maybe it's better to avoid a dilema when your options for dealing with it will only result in tragedy.... Who knows. Anyway, I hope the rest of your Holiday went smoothly and I pray that no other mangaled creatures crossed your path.

At 3:30 PM, Blogger Pythia3 said...

Children see with unfiltered eyes. We know we have truly "grown up" when we rate every thing, every one and every instance by our own "value" system.
My seventeen year old son said that he felt the bigger a animal is, the harder it is to watch it die . . . which makes it easier to step on an ant, for example.
I told him I was going to start eating a lot more so he would miss me more when I'm gone. LOL
I guess death comes in sizes too.


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