One of my favorite songs by the Carpenters was a lesser known hit that was the title track to the 1971 movie Bless the Beasts and the Children. The lyrics are poignant: “Bless the beasts and the children. For in this world they have no voice – they have no choice.” And no truer words were ever spoken do describe what happened in Zanesville, Ohio yesterday.
Only 1700 Bengal Tigers are believed to exist in the world today and eighteen of them were killed yesterday. They were killed not because they posed a threat to the public, although that was definitely the immediate concern. They were killed because someone was allowed to keep them as pets on private property. They were killed because someone engaged in the exotic animal trade and captured them and sold them. They were killed because they had no voice, they had no choice. And to me, that is the abomination of what is known as the absolute power of man. And absolute power corrupts absolutely.
This is not unlike the recent situation in Pennsylvania where a number of mentally handicapped adults were found bound and chained in the basement of a residence for the sole purpose of someone being able to abscond with their social security checks. Locked in a different kind of cage, some of them had been missing for years. They had no voice, they had no choice. It saddens me that this continues to happen in our society and all over the world. The weak, the small, the beasts, the children – all who should be able to grow and thrive, live free and be able to lead the lives they were meant to lead can fall prey to such wickedness and inhumanity.
Now I know there are also many, many stories of just the opposite happening. People going to the extra mile for each other, people advocating for those who cannot advocate for themselves, people fighting for the rights of animals. Our society is no different from any other. We have the good and the bad. But I can’t get out of my mind the picture of the carcasses of those lions and tigers and bears lying lifeless on the ground on that farm in Ohio. This is no song from the Wizard of Oz. It is an abomination that these animals had to live and die the way they did. My one hope is that this finally opens the eyes of legislators to do something to protect these exotic animals. They did not ask for what they got and they got a very raw deal.
As the song goes: Bless the beasts and the children for the world will never be, the world they see. Light their way, when the darkness surrounds them. Give them love, let it shine all around them. Bless the beasts and the children give them shelter from the storm. Keep them safe, keep them warm… and that is definitely the way it should be – because unfortunately in this world they have no voice, they have no choice.