Warning: What follows may be disturbing to some readers. I discuss pain inflicted to animals and death.
This is a post I wrote out while I was in North Dakota at a beet harvest campground. I didn’t publish it then, but I kept it as a draft, until now. Looking over it, I feel it may be important. Still so much meaningless(?) suffering in the world and so much cruelty, whether institutional or personal.
I’m very angry. I’m quite disgusted. Recently I found a salamander in a campground I’m staying at. The amphibian was beautiful, a lovely deep green color spotted in fetching black pattern. The skin glistened damply.
Sadly the creature wasn’t long for this world. The salamander lay on his back. I bent closer to look at the unmoving, little animal and saw that his throat had been cut. It looked like a sharp, surgical cut across the neck and was oozing bright blood. I then saw that the amphibian was twitching a little and bent to touch the salamander. To my surprise the salamander’s tail moved a little, jerkily. I turned the animal on to his belly and watched for a long moment, my stomach roiling. After a moment it was clear that the salamander was dying from his injuries. The animal thrashed a little but just a little and he made no move from the gravel towards the grass next to him, or anywhere else.
I stood there angry at what I felt I must do for the salamander. From the cut it seemed apparent to me that the salamander had been attacked and almost certainly by someone with a blade. A person had actually tried to cut the salamanders throat. Was this the work of some young sociopath experimenting his way towards being a serial killer? Was this what counted for ‘fun’ to someone intent on hurting the small and defenseless? These are questions I’ll probably never have the answer for. One thing I knew. The salamander was suffering. He was dying. I could help but the act of doing so filled me with impotent rage.
I raised my boot above the salamander’s head and stood for a moment on one foot unsure. Finally I felt obliged to end the salamander’s pain and I stomped down hard. I stomped twice and walked away.
I hope for better for salamanders. If you die, may it be fast.
What else could be done?