Dawn Armstrong
Special to the Tribune

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May 1, 2012
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Be kind to animals benefits expanded

The American Humane Association created Be Kind to Animals Week in 1915 to encourage compassion toward animals, to raise awareness about animals in the community, and to celebrate the unique bond between humans and animals. Celebrating 97 years, it is one of the oldest special weeklong observances in the United States being celebrated May 6-12 in 2012. It is generally recognized that kindness to animals extends to humans. In today's violent society it is known that the reverse is true as well.

Being kind to animals leads to compassion and empathy for all living things. The philosophy goes back to the Greeks and has been embraced by many:

"For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love." - Pythagorus, Pre-Socratic Greek Philosopher

"If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men." - St. Francis of Assisi, founder of the Franciscans Order

"If man is not to stifle his human feelings, he must practise kindness towards animals, for he who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant, German Philosopher

"Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty." - Albert Einstein

Perhaps the most quoted contemporary statement about empathy, compassion, and kindness is that of Mahatma Gandhi: "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way in which its animals are treated."

Modern science has confirmed the harsh reality of not teaching and living the universal golden rule: Both kindness and violence start early and last a lifetime. Adult homicide starts with animal abuse. 

"Murderers very often start out by killing and torturing animals as kids." - Robert K. Ressler, FBI serial killer profiler

"One of the most dangerous things that can happen to a child is to kill or torture an animal and get away with it." - Margaret Mead

Every day of the year, practicing kindness to animals and to each other will make Tahoe the best place to live with the best quality of life for every living creature.

South Tahoe - El Dorado County Animal Control: 530-573-7925

Nevada - Douglas County Animal Control: 775-782-9061

Bear Protection 530-525-7297

Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care: 530-577-2273

Secret Witness: 530-541-6800

24-Hour Emergencies - Call county sheriff or city police

- Provided by the Lake Tahoe Humane Society and S.P.C.A. to help "Keep Tahoe Kind." Dawn Armstrong is the executive director.


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated May 1, 2012 02:06AM Published May 1, 2012 02:04AM Copyright 2012 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.