Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/59

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49
HUMANE IDEAS AND FEELINGS.

information will be given to the public about the care of dogs, with a view to avoiding conditions that simulate this terrible malady. The "mad dog" of the streets is, we know, rarely rabid, and usually only needs a little judicious and kindly assistance to restore him to health. It is just about as reasonable to pounce on and kill a human being that falls in an epileptic fit, as the majority of the dogs that are attacked and killed by an excited crowd.

Above all, the public needs enlightenment regarding the true nature of animals. When that is complete and thorough, right feelings toward them will spring up in the larger proportion of people. I would especially direct attention to the education of children in and out of school on this subject. It should be held before a child as a more cowardly thing to abuse a defenseless animal than one of its own species. But this will not weigh much with the child if all it hears tends to belittle the creatures by which it is surrounded, and to exalt man beyond all measure. I should begin with very young children by pointing to similarities of structure and function between themselves and the family cat or dog. They have eyes, ears, tongues, etc.; they see, hear, taste, feel pain, and experience pleasure just as children do; therefore, let us recognize their rights, avoid giving them pain, and increase their pleasures. I strongly advocate each family having some one animal, at least, to be brought up with the household to some extent, whether it be bird, cat, or dog. But, on the other hand, it seems to me to be a great mistake to introduce any animal as a mere toy or plaything for very young children. Such a proceeding rather tends to encourage cruelty.

It is of great importance for the education of the public mind that fine specimens of animals be exhibited. All shows for our domestic animals are worthy of encouragement as educators. Many a person that regards the ordinary mongrel dogs of the street with indifference, if not aversion, has his views and feelings changed when he attends a dog show, with its numerous specimens of fine, pure-bred animals; and the same may be said of horse, cattle, and poultry shows. The æsthetic has a very great influence in our age. We devote a large share of our energies to securing the gratification of our sense of the beautiful. It will be judicious, therefore, to present the beautiful in animals to the public. For this reason, again, exhibitions of superior specimens of domestic animals, zoölogical gardens, museums, and kindred institutions prepare the public mind to appreciate animals more; and, as I am endeavoring to show, to understand and to admire are usually necessary steps to the generation of humane feelings toward the creatures with which we come in contact.

Once establish the proper feelings, and fitting conduct is likely to follow; but before these feelings arise we must have right con-