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Respecting all life and the value it gives us

by Jacq Molloy, including excerpts from The Ten Trusts by Jane Goodall & Marc Bekoff
and Blessing the Animals, edited by Lynn L Caruso

This month sees a new kitten in the house. (Her name is Bea and she is the baby sister to Mozz.)

New life is new life – whatever shape it takes, whatever species it is – there are instincts and behaviours to show and things to learn!

It is also a reminder that life is precious. We know this with the youngest of species because there is actual delicacy in their smaller size.

All life is precious. Conservationists and animal behaviourists Jane Goodall and Marc Bekoff write in their book The Ten Trusts that the second trust is ‘respect all life’:

Each living creature is worthy of our respect. Every living being has its own spark of life. We humans look at the world around us and try to categorise, and thus simplify, the wondrous, diverse collection of life forms. We have large, highly developed, and complex brains with awesome capabilities for rational and abstract thinking. This has led, in the Western world, to a belief that humans stand in glorious isolation apart from the rest of the animal kingdom. We have placed the great apes on the next rung down, then monkeys, cetaceans [whales, dolphins, etc.], dogs and so on until we get to insects, mollusks and sponges.

Today science is beginning to ‘prove’ what most people have always intuitively known: that we humans are not the only thinking, feeling beings on the planet. This leads to a new respect for the other amazing animals who are fellow travellers with us on life’s journey. Charles Darwin himself said, ‘The love of all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man’.

* * *

Oh wisdom

in your fur coat

and whiskers.

What don’t you know?

Sometimes I believe

I have seen my soul searched

in your eyes,

how much time passes

between us without word?

How much do you know

that I’ve just begun

to understand?

Spirit of grace and humour

on all fours.

– Pam Reike

* * *

Stray birds of summer come to my window

to sing and fly away.

And yellow leaves of autumn,

which have no songs,

flutter and fall there with a sigh.

O troupe of little vagrants of the world,

leave your footprints in my words.

The fish in the water is silent,

The animal on the earth is noisy,

The bird in the air is singing.

But Man has in him

The silence of the sea,

The noise of the earth

And the music of the air.

– Rabindranath Tagore