VANCOUVER, December 22/2004 - "Each December 25th, many cultures and nations of Homo sapiens across this great planet, celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ," says Al Hickey, Western Regional Director of The Humane Society of Canada.
"And it's important to remember that we need to include every living creature in our wishes for Peace on the Earth," explains, Michael O'Sullivan, Executive Director of The Humane Society of Canada. O'Sullivan, a father with two small children, and a houseful of dogs and cats, says he can't think of any better way of doing this than by looking at it from the animals' point of view:
"… We were there in the manger with the baby Jesus when He was born. But where are we now? Whether we walk, swim, or fly, it seems that there is no place on earth where we can hide from you.
We kept Him warm with the heat from our bodies. The quiet serenity of our presence calmed and comforted Him. The gentle rhythm of our heartbeats stilled His cries.
Every religion on earth talks about kindness towards animals. But do you practice what you preach? Some of your religious leaders, who say they are His Holy Messengers, say we have no soul. What does God believe? What do you believe?
We nurture our young and cherish them. You send your children off to die in the name of destiny, and in the name of God. We've been there right beside you. Ridden into battle. Driven into the ranks of your enemies. Caught up in the middle of someone else's war so many times we've lost count.
You search the heavens for new life. But will you treat them the same way you treat other life here on earth? You say that you want Peace on Earth, but your actions say something completely different.
Armed with your technology, we watch and wonder why it is that your ability to use it wisely never seems to quite catch up. You are the only species on earth which fouls its' own nest. How do you think your experiment with the living laboratory of our fragile Mother earth will turn out?
Millions of acres of rainforest are gone for good. Coral reefs blasted and barren. Life is destroyed on a planetary scale. Why, in the last 100 years alone, you've sent more of us over the brink of extinction than at any other time in your recorded history. Some of us have survived since before the Age of the Dinosaurs, and yet we will disappear within your lifetimes. Don't our children -- and your children, deserve to thrive in our natural world? Or instead will your children view our children from the other side of a glass window, gathering dust in a museum?
Yes, nature may seem harsh. But we take only what we need. You have it within your power to prevent pain and suffering. How often do you use that power wisely?
You pen us up in small cages. Raise us for food. Subject us to experiments of every kind. Never again to feel the sun on our face, the gentle caress of the wind and the rain, nor the earth beneath our feet. Is this your God given right?
By land, sea and air, you invade our homes. Kill us when there is no need. When someone destroys a work of man, you call him a vandal. When someone destroys a work of God and nature, you call him a sportsman.
Your language, for all of it's forms, for all of it's beauty, makes you believe that you can truly explain away all of your actions and escape their terrible consequences. Did you think it could go on this way forever? Just because you said it is so?
So you see, as well celebrating the first Christmas of the New Millennium, it is also a time not just to reflect on your religious beliefs, but a time to take a hard look at where we've been and where we're all going. All of us. Because the way you treat us, is a reflection of the way in which you treat each other. If we lose, then so does everyone else.
The true measure of a person is not where they stand in moments of comfort and convenience, but where they stand in times of conflict and controversy. And you have to ask yourselves, each one of you, where you really stand.
Guarding our future is in your hands. I hope we haven't offended you. But if we have, then after two thousand years, maybe it's about time. God rewards kindness to animals. And if you don't believe in God, then maybe you should at least believe in common sense..."
CONTACT: Michael O'Sullivan by toll free 1-800-641-KIND or Michael on his cell phone (416) 876-9685 or at www.humanesociety.com via twitter at www.twitter.com/HSCanada and on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Humane-Society-of-Canada/211468055538280
[For more than 17 years, Al Hickey was the Chief Executive of the BC SPCA and before that headed up the Alberta and BC Chambers of Commerce, and was the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Vancouver. He has been The HSC Western Regional Director for over 12 years. He has 4 children and 6 grandchildren. For his lifetime of achievement dedicated to helping people, animals and the environment, we have bestowed upon him our prestigious Heroes for Animals Award, shared by only a handful of people and organizations.
A father with two children, and a houseful of dogs and cats, Michael O'Sullivan has worked across Canada and in over 110 countries during the last 40 years helping people, animals and nature.]
The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) works to protect dogs, cats, horses, birds, rabbits and small animals, livestock, lab animals, wildlife and the environment. We carry out hands on programs to help animals and nature, mount rescue operations, expose cruelty through hard hitting undercover investigations, work to pass laws to protect animals, use a multidisciplinary approach, support animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation centres, and spread the word about how to help animals and nature through humane education.
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