'Animal Matters' (September 2013):
WEEPING CAMELS AND MORE...
“All mankind and everything in the universe are bonded together by the same bond and that is Love. The entire creation is the kinship of Love. What is God? What is energy? What is consciousness? They are nothing but Love. God is Love. It is the power of Love alone that binds all humanity alike. It is this intangible force that forges the unity of creation. If you are able to feel this Love, you have realised the highest truth.” (Sai Baba: Sathya Sai Avatar, Page 25)
“People have assumed that intelligence is linked to the ability to suffer and because animals have smaller brains, they suffer less than humans. This is a pathetic piece of logic.” (Jonathon Balcombe, biologist, ethologist/scientist of animal behaviour in 'Second Nature: The Inner Lives of Animals').
Most people believe that only humans show their grief and sorrow through tears and that animals don’t cry. However, the truth is not that simple and while animals often suffer in silence and don’t appear to have the mechanism that humans do which enables them to cry, certain animals have been known to shed tears in times of deep distress or when moved by strong emotions.
Firstly, 'The Story of the Weeping Camel', a drama documentary made in Mongolia, tells the moving story of a mother camel who totally rejected her baby after a traumatic birth. Although its human carers (Nomadic Mongols) tried to keep the baby alive, it badly needed to suckle from its own mother. It was in danger of dying. A musician was called and while special music was being played, the human carer sang hauntingly to the mother camel while holding her. It did not take long for tears to start flowing from the camel’s eyes. This lead to healing taking place between mother and child and the baby camel and its mother came together and bonded lovingly. In this way, the baby’s life was saved.
As some people may already know, elephants have been seen to cry in times of pain, stress and distress. A famous true story tells of one Sadie, a timid young female circus elephant in the Robbins Brothers Circus in Missouri, America. She simply could not understand how to do her tricks no matter how hard she tried. Not understanding what was required of her, she finally gave up and tried to escape by running out of the ring. At this, her trainers (the methods of circus trainers have now been exposed to be very cruel) brought her back and punished her. As some people may already know, elephants have been seen to cry in times of pain, stress and distress. A famous true story tells of one Sadie, a timid young female circus elephant in the Robbins Brothers Circus in Missouri, America.
She simply could not understand how to do her tricks no matter how hard she tried. Not understanding what was required of her, she finally gave up and tried to escape by running out of the ring. At this, her trainers (the methods of circus trainers have now been exposed to be very cruel) brought her back and punished her.
She immediately sank to her knees, then lay down on the ground and with tears pouring from her eyes, great sobs shook her huge body – she was crying like a human being and her trainers just stood there dumbfounded. ('Sacred Elephants' by Heathcote Williams)
Other reports exist of elephants crying in different situations, sometimes when they have been captured and separated from their families, sometimes in the throes of being shot and killed as well as on other occasions. In February 2012, India TV News showed the heartrending sight of a weeping mother elephant guarding her dead baby for days after the baby had been electrocuted by a live wire near a sugarcane field in Odisha, India. Then there was Damini, a 72 year old female elephant living in an Indian zoo. One September, a new female elephant, Champakali, arrived at the zoo, pregnant. Damini and Champakali became close friends and for eight happy months enjoyed each other’s company. Then Champakali died in childbirth. Damini cried over her dead friend’s body and then stood still in her enclosure for days. She was so bereft that little by little, she starved herself to death. When she became so weak that she could no longer stand, she just lay still, silently crying. Eventually she stopped drinking. No veterinary treatment could counteract the effect of her intense grief. (Reported in BBC News Online: South Asia/Elephant dies of grief. May 6 1999)
There is also evidence of monkeys weeping, even sobbing. The Chemical Defence Establishment at Porton Down in England conducts warfare experiments on various kinds on animals, for various reasons and secretly of course. What goes on there reminds me of the words of a former Lord Bishop of Manchester “I have heard it said once and the saying has haunted me ever since – that if animals believed in the devil, he would look remarkably like a human being”.
The following was written by an electrician who happened to be contracted to work there and this is what he found when he inadvertently opened the wrong door: “At first I thought I was ill. I thought I was seeing things, and then I went a little nearer and looked. It was a little monkey enclosed in a glass case… its eyes seemed to be falling out and it couldn’t breathe. It was in dreadful, dreadful distress. I forgot everything and went near it and said something to it and it buried its head in its arms and sobbed like a child. I never slept that night and next day, I managed to go back to the same room, but it was nearly finished by then. It had sunk to a little heap at the bottom of the glass cage”.
Dr Christian Barnard, the pioneering heart transplant surgeon, and one notorious for doing multitudes of animal experiments, most of them thought to be useless, talks about two male chimps whom he used. He had bought them from a primate colony in Holland. They lived in adjacent cages and when he took one away to become a heart donor he said, “When we put him to sleep in preparation for the operation, he chattered and cried incessantly. We attached no significance to this but it must have made a great impression on his companion, for when we removed the body to the operating room, the other chimp wept bitterly and was inconsolable for days. The incident made a deep impression on me. I vowed never again to experiment with such sensitive creatures”. Sadly, however, thousands of primates of different kinds are still used in laboratory experiments. Many of these undergo the additional trauma of being brutally captured in their native habitat, torn away from their families and transported to laboratories all over the world.
“Seal Summer" a book dedicated to the memory of Sammy, a young tame seal living on the Dorset coast in England in the 1960s, has this to say about the painful last farewell between Sammy and his beloved human companion when Sammy could no longer resist the call the deep sea and his own kind… “He gazed back at me, weeping. Generally, he cried noisily. It was the sound of the slow, gulping sobs that affected people so deeply and brought a mist to their own eyes. But now his grief was silent. The tears, larger than human tears and of an oily opacity, spilled down his muzzle onto his chest and made dark rivulets in the fur.” Carried away on a wave out to sea, Sammy continued to gaze at Nina with "brimming, flat, black, tormented eyes” until he was finally out of sight. The parting, though inevitable and necessary, clearly caused both parties an unspeakably deep sorrow. (Seal Summer by Nina Warner Hooke, 1964).
Mother seals, on witnessing their babies being clubbed to death by seal hunters, have been seen weeping. This horrific annual slaughter still goes on despite years of worldwide condemnation.
Finally, the true story recorded in 'Kill Cow' by Dr Sahadeva Dasa of the Hare Krishna movement shows us that even a cow can cry… this story can be read in an earlier article: 'Why be Vegetarian?'
Such stories prove beyond a doubt what sentient beings animals are. Those who turn a blind eye to this not only do the animals a great disservice, but also do themselves a great disservice: They miss the opportunity to expand their hearts and experience the love that pervades all creation. “...for He makes us aware that the God we adore, the God we love, the God we live by, is in every other being as LOVE… Thus Love expands and encompasses all creation…” (Sathya Sai Baba)“
We call them dumb animals and so they are, for they cannot tell us how they feel, but they do not suffer less because they have no words". (Anna Sewell, author of 'Black Beauty').
(Article written by Mercini Sherratt for Vedanta Empire's charity incentive)
Vedanta Empire is dedicated to raising money for charity: A portion of profits raised from each commercial and business booking is given away; to feed, aid and protect neglected animals. When a charitable or spiritual event has been booked; Vedanta Empire shall give away all of the profits raised from the booking, towards this very same cause of supporting animals...
Furthermore, to help raise money for feeding and protecting neglected animals: Music can be purchased from Vedanta Empire. - All profits go towards this charitable cause. Please feel free to make contact ([email protected]) for purchasing the music or asking for further information. - A preview of the music can be heard here: