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Treatment Of Animals Post by :atlanti2 Category :Essays Author :Lydia H. Sigourney Date :November 2011 Read :1137

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Treatment Of Animals

A grateful disposition, should teach us to be kind to the domestic animals. They add much to our comfort. How should we bear the winter's cold, were it not for the coat of wool, which the sheep shares with us? How would journeys be performed, or the mail be carried, or the affairs of government be conducted, without the aid of the horse?

Did you ever think how much the comfort of families depends upon the cow? Make a list of articles for the table, or for the sick, to which milk is indispensable. Perhaps you will be surprised to find how numerous they are.

When the first settlers of New England, came to Plymouth, in the winter of 1620, four years elapsed, before any cows were brought them. During all this time, their bread was made of pounded corn, and they had not a drop of milk for the weaned infant, or the sickly child, or to make any little delicacy for the invalid.

There was great rejoicing in the colony, when a ship arrived, bringing a few small heifers. Remember how patiently our good ancestors endured their many hardships; and when you freely use the milk of which they were so long deprived, be kind to the peaceable, orderly quadruped, from whom it is obtained.

Domestic animals, are sensible of kindness, and improved by it. They are made happier and more gentle, by being caressed and spoken to with a pleasant voice. Food, shelter, needful rest, and good treatment, are surely due to them, for their many services to man.

The Arab treats his horse like his child, and the noble animal loves him, and strains every nerve to do his bidding. I have seen a horse, when wearied with heat and travel, erect his head, and show evident signs of pleasure, and renew his labours with fresh zeal, if his master patted his neck, and whispered with a kind voice into his ear.

It is delightful to see the young show a protecting kindness to such harmless creatures as are often harshly treated. It seems difficult to say why the toad is so generally singled out for strong dislike. Is it only because Nature has not given it beauty? Surely its habits are innocent, and its temper gentle.

The scientific gardeners of Europe encourage toads to live in their gardens, and about their green-houses. They find them useful assistants in guarding their precious plants from insects. So, they wisely make them allies, instead of torturing and destroying them.

A benevolent English gentleman, once took pains to reclaim a toad from its timid habits. It improved by his attentions. It grew to a very large size, and at his approach, came regularly from its hole, to meet him, and receive its food.

Ladies, who visited the garden, sometimes desired to see this singular favourite. It was even brought to the table, and permitted to have a dessert of insects, which it partook, without being embarrassed by the presence of company.

It lived to be forty years old. What age it might have attained, had it met with no accident, it would be difficult to say. For it was in perfect health when wounded by a fierce raven, as it one day was coming from its house, under the steps of the door, which fronted the garden.

The poor creature languished a while, and then died; and the benevolent man who had so long protected it, took pleasure in relating its history, and in remembering that he had made its life happy.

Cruelty to animals is disgraceful and sinful. If I see even a young child pull off the wings of an insect, or take pains to set his foot upon a worm, I know that he has not been well instructed, or else that there is something wrong and wicked in his heart.

The Emperor Domitian loved to kill flies, and at last became a monster of cruelty. Benedict Arnold, the traitor, when he was a boy, liked to give pain to every thing, over which he could get power.

He destroyed birds' nests, and cut the little unfledged ones in pieces, before the eyes of their agonised parents. Cats and dogs, the quiet cow, and the faithful horse, he delighted to hurt and distress.

I do not like to repeat his cruel deeds. He was told that they were wrong. An excellent lady with whom he lived, use to warn and reprove him. But he did not reform. For his heart was hard, and he did not heed the commands of God.

He grew up without good principles. He became a soldier, and had command in the army. But he laid a plan to betray his country, and sell it into the hands of the enemy.

His wickedness was discovered, and he fled. He never dared to return to his native land, but lived despised, and died in misery. We know not how much of the sin which disgraced his character, sprang out of his hardness of heart, and cruelty to animals.

Many of the inferior creation display virtues which are deserving of respect. How many remarkable instances have we heard of the sagacity of the elephant, and the grateful attachment and fidelity of the dog.

A shepherd, who lived at the foot of the Grampian mountains, one day, in going to look after his flock, took with him his little boy of four years old. Some of his sheep had strayed. In pursuing them, he was obliged to climb rocks, so steep, that the child could not follow.

The shepherd charged the child to remain where he left him, until he should return. But while he was gone, one of those thick fogs arose, which in that part of Scotland are not uncommon. With difficulty he groped his way back again. But the child was gone.

All his search was vain. There was sorrow that night in the lowly cottage of his parents. The next day, the neighbours joined, and continued their pursuit for several days and nights. But in vain.

"Is my dog lost too?" said the father, as he one day entered his dwelling, and sat down in weariness and despair. "He has come here daily," said his little daughter, "while you and mother, have been searching for poor Donald. I have given him a piece of cake, which he has taken, and ran hastily away."

The household bread of the poor, in Scotland, is made of oatmeal, and being not baked in loaves, but rolled out thin, is often called cake. While they were speaking, the dog rushed in, and leaped upon his master, whining earnestly.

An oatmeal cake was given him. He appeared hungry but ate only a small portion of it. The remainder he took in his mouth, and ran away. The shepherd followed him. It was with difficulty, that he kept his track, fording a swift streamlet, and descending into a terrible ravine.

Then he entered a cave. And what was his joy to see there his little, lost son. He was eating heartily the bread which the dog had brought him, while he, standing by, and wagging his tail, looked up in his face with delight, as he took the food, which he nobly denied himself.

It seems that the dog was with the child, when, in the dimness of the mist, he wandered away. He must have aided him to pass the deep waters that crossed his path. And when he found shelter in that rude cavern, and mourned for his parents, the faithful dog guarded him like a father, and fed him with a mother's tenderness.

How can we fail to treat with kindness, a race of animals, that are capable of such virtues. Others, that are less celebrated, often show traits of character, which are worthy of imitation. Let us hear the opinion of the poet Cowper, on this interesting subject.


"We too might learn, if not too proud to stoop
To animal instructors, many a good
And useful quality, and virtue too,
Rarely exemplified among ourselves.
Fidelity, that neither bribe nor threat
Can move, or warp, and gratitude for small
And trivial favours, lasting as the life,
And glistening even from the dying eye."


Birds give us an example of tender affection. There is no warfare in their nests. The little brothers and sisters dwell together in harmony, till they are able to stretch out the newly-plumed wing, and quit the care of the parent. Say they not to us, as they sing among the branches, "Live in love!"

The innocent dove, is cited as a model in the Book of God. "Be ye harmless as doves," said our Saviour, to his disciples. The stork spreads out its broad pinions, and bears its aged parents, on their journey through the air. It feeds and cherishes them with the same care, that it received in its own helpless infancy. Shall we not learn from it a lesson of filial piety?

Once, a robin, in returning to her nest, was shot dead. The mate mourned bitterly for her loss, but took her place upon the nest. There he brooded, until the young came forth from the egg, and then he sought food, and fed them like a mother, until they were able to fly away.

Often while he was performing her duties, and always at the close of day, his plaintive note was heard, lamenting his lost love. Ah! who could be so wicked as to destroy the nest, or the eggs, or the young, of those affectionate creatures. Our Father in Heaven, "taketh care of sparrows, and feedeth the young ravens that cry."


(The end)
Lydia H. Sigourney's essay: Treatment Of Animals

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