Archive for November, 2010

What is the definition of humane?

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

What is the definition of humane?

According to Merrian-Webster Dictionary, Humane means:
adjective
1: marked by compassion, sympathy, or consideration for humans or animals
2: characterized by or tending to broad humanistic culture

How do you define the word humane? Does the above definition seem fair?

When we do a “good deed” it makes us feel better. Is being humane something that means you are humane if you treat someone in the way that makes you feel better or the way that makes them feel better? To me, humane means being considerate of what makes someone else better and is better for them.

Living out on the farm has given me a whole new prospective on life. I’ve lived in cities, suburbs and the country off and on my whole life. I prefer the country. Each individual area has positives….and negatives. I have learned a ton about the humane treatment of animals due to my time on the farm.

It’s the little things that eventually add up to the big things. This morning, my son was helping me let out our dogs after they had eaten their breakfast. Hunter, my 11 year old lab, ran to the kitchen and then to the back door. My son walks over to the door to open it. I stopped him and asked him to put water in the water bowl. He looks at me and says “But Hunter is ready to go out. He’s at the back door.” I said, no he’s not, it just looks that way. You see, Hunter went to the kitchen first. Since he turned around and went to the back door, he must not have found any water in the water bowls the kitchen. So, if let outside, what do you think he would have done? He would have went in search of water. If he could not find water in the back yard, then where would he have went? That is the problem you want to stop. You do not want him to wonder off looking for water. Plus, it is dear season. You really wish to keep him close to the house. “Oh” my son says. Hunter has an excellent off leash recall. I could have called him home. But, why go through all of that if you can stop it before it happens? My son filled the water bowls and Hunter had a drink, went outside and took care of business and returned to the back door. No problems, no yelling, no need to call him home.

We have a barn cat. Yes, he lives in the barn. He has a job. He is to keep the rodents down in the barn. He has food, water and over 400 bales of hay to hang out in and keep warm. He is checked on every morning and evening while taking care of the other barn animals. His vaccinations are up to date and his is neutered. Someone felt sorry for him because he lived in the barn. So sorry for him, that they talked about taking him home but the other person they lived with was not interested. So, this individual started bringing out can cat food as a “treat” and would feed the cat. This person felt they were doing something nice for the cat and it made the human feel good. This caused problems in many ways. Can you think of a few ways? Can food spoils. Any food left in the dish would spoil and make the cat sick. The cat was not use to can food as he had only been given dry food his whole life; so this did not help his belly problems. The can food also attracted other’s – more rodents and other cats. These cats then started to beat up on the barn cat. All of this could have been avoided just by thinking this through. Instead of making the human feel better, let’s think about the animal and what is best for the animal.

Most animals were bred to do a job. Sitting around the house is not the job they were bred for. When we try to turn those animals into house animals, they end up finding a way to do “their job” inside of the home. You have to ask yourself what is the most humane way of living with these animals.

Over the years, I have watched many things happen in the human world and in the dog world. Remember when we were told not to tell our children “NO”? Remember how that turned out? We ended up with more children in trouble. The children did not understand right from wrong. More people than ever are in jail or dead from making the wrong decisions in life. Our work ethic is declining.

I am very happy to see more animals being brought into the family. Of course, there are always pitfalls to that as well. Is it more humane to crate them when you can not watch them? It is. This not only saves your home but it saves their lives in many way. The dog’s owners will not get to the point they no longer like their dog because of the destruction to the home and furniture, so then the dog does not end up in a shelter. The dog does not end up ill or dying from the ingestion of an object it swallowed but can no longer pass through it’s system. We, as humans, think of the crate as a “cage” or “jail”. That is not how a dog thinks of the crate. They think of the crate as their home – the area they go to for some quiet time. Bite statistics are on a rise. One of the reasons is people believe that leaving their dog alone in the back yard for “just a few minutes” while they ran to the store because it was so pretty outside is more humane than a crate. Rather the dog has a structural problem or because the dog is guarding it’s home does not matter. The dog has an opportunity to make the wrong decision. Put the dog in it’s crate if you can not watch the dog until the dog has matured and proven himself when you are around.

More dogs die today because they do not have a solid and reliable recall. The dogs run away and the owners can not call them back. Next thing you know, the dog has been hit by a car or attacked by another dog. Our job is to make sure that dog understands that when we call him, he needs to come. It is for his safety. It is in his best interest. We need to lay the ground work to help make him successful – even if that means telling the dog “no”.

So, what is the definition of humane? Doing what is best for that animal, not what makes us feel better or what makes our lives easier. If we want to have animals in our lives, we need to educate ourselves on what is best for that animal. Do not take the word of other’s. Do your research. Remember, even humans need balance in our lives. We need schedules, we need consequences – rather good or bad – to be well rounded. We need to be told “No” when it is not in our best interest.

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