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Alfred Wainwright

“The human race has nothingaw_200_head[1] to be proud of in its treatment of fellow creatures unable to protect or defend themselves, nothing at all. We are guilty and stand condemned. We should hang our heads in shame. But we don’t.”

Alfred Wainwright (1907-1991) blev født i Blackburn, som søn af en stenhugger, og voksede op under fattige kår. Som 13-årig forlod han skolen for at begynde at arbejde. Som 23-årig tog han på en ferie: en uges vandretur i det kendte Lake District i det nordvestlige England. Det blev bestemmende for hans senere virke. Han blev en passioneret vandrer og begyndte at udføre tegninger af de smukke landskaber. Det resulterede i en lang række bøger om vandreture på tværs af England.

Han efterlod det meste af sin formue til et hjem for herreløse dyr. At han havde stærke holdninger til mennesket behandling af andre levende væsener fremgår tydeligt af nedenstående uddrag fra bogen Memoirs of a fellwanderer:

“It’s a beastly business, this slaughter of animals. Their greatest enemy is man, sharing the same world but refusing to acknowledge that these creatures are neighbours with equal rights to existence. It is a shocking indictment of the human race that wild animals and birds flee in fear at the approach of man who, endowed with superior intellect, abuses this gift by treating all other creatures as objects to be exploited as he wishes for his own benefit. Man is the bully, the biggest and cruellest predator of all.

There are guilty men who go out with guns and traps to shoot and capture their harmless victims and think it great fun: sport, they call it; I rejoice when I hear of a gun going off accidentally and wounding or killing a so-called sportsman. And the catalogue of crime continues to grow. New acts of cruelty to birds and animals have been devised in recent years with official approval.

The gassing of badgers was carried out on Government instructions (and admitted later to have been a mistake). The clubbing of seals and the killing of other species to provide fur coats for uncaring women is reprehensible and so are those who wear them.

Factory farming, the practice of confining birds and animals in cages and pens that allow no freedom of movement, meets only feeble protests that carry no weight; I would like to see the farmers who subject living creatures to such torture for monetary gain put in cages three feet square themselves and fed through a grill until they repent their evil methods: a punishment to fit the crime. We have got it wrong when we refer to animals as beasts; the beasts in this world are human beings.

Worse still is vivisection, the cutting up and mistreatment by torture of animals in the cause of medical research, allegedly to find cures for human ailments: human ailments, mind you, not animal ailments.

Surely it stands to sense that if these experiments are necessary they should be conducted on humans; of

Lake District i England gjorde et stærkt indtryk på Alfred Wainwright.

course there would be no volunteers; people, unlike animals, can say no. But no, our medical laboratories and even our universities, the seats of learning, prefer defenceless animals as subjects for their barbarism.

Anything likely to injure humanity, such as nuclear bombs, causes an outcry and demonstrations but there is little feeling for the suffering of animals deliberately caused. We fear for our own skins and ours only. Millions of animals, to whom life is equally precious, are forced to undergo cruel experiments every year, and nobody in authority turns a hair.

The human race has nothing to be proud of in its treatment of fellow creatures unable to protect or defend themselves, nothing at all. We are guilty and stand condemned. We should hang our heads in shame. But we don’t.”

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