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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 83.djvu/585

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ALTHOUGH we depend to a large degree upon lower animals for food and clothing, the necessity for their protection and the best methods of caring for them do not seem to be fully appreciated. If the Biblical statement concerning the creation is accepted as it is usually interpreted, namely, that man is the foreordained master over dumb creation, our responsibility for its protection is clear. Starting from early time, it is easy to understand that as the human family multiplied it came to require, as it does to-day, a large part of the earth's surface for its activities, thereby exterminating some species of animals and forcing others from a life of natural independence in forest and plain to one dependent upon the action of man. In the evolution of civilization the animals that were needed by the human family were subjected to conditions of life foreign to their original existence and to some extent contrary to their natural instincts. Thus they have been, for no fault of their own, driven from the freedom of the wild to become the property of man, to be bred, to be fed and housed, to be protected or maltreated according to the will of their owners. They are in a certain sense our slaves and must from their very nature continue as such. There is, however, a growing feeling that the hardships which often accompany their servitude should be lessened. There is a demand for their emancipation from the heartless treatment of cruel men. The spirit that is permeating the hearts of people relative to the humane treatment of animals was expressed in the somewhat homely statement of a negro in New Orleans when he first saw an electric car and was told that it came from Boston. "Law me! The Yankee came down and freed the 'niggers' and now he comes down and frees the mules."

An important element that exerts a strong influence toward the better care of dumb creation is a genuine affection which exists on the part of many people for their animals. The devotion of animals to their masters often touches the heart of man and impels him to a humane treatment of his charges. In caring for them it is well to remember that many of the kindest acts from the human standpoint are often out of harmony with the nature of the animals receiving such attention. This frequently results in disease, suffering and death where only health and physical comfort were intended. Many a lad caresses his dog and feeds it the best of his sweets without realizing how much the poor dog longs for a bone.

In pointing out the reasons why domesticated animals should have