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Animal cruelty... / 5 January 2012

I don't even like dogs but, this December, whilst receiving mobility assistance, I witnessed a mass transportation of terrified canines at  Malaga airport, en route to the Great Brussels Dog Show which made me question what or who Dog Shows are for? Certainly not for the poor bloody dogs!

The assumption of love by these dog owners for their pets was severely damaged as I witnessed hysterical screaming dogs reluctantly let out from their too small travel cage. They were and had been, shitting with terror and now were doing the same all over the check-in area floor. Their owners' means of controlling them, as they tried simultaneously to wipe up the mounds of dog incontinence and immobilize these unhinged creatures, was to ram them in twos, head to head, with what might as well, in terms of effect, been choke-chain leads. The smell of terror and shit was humungous; the wails, howls and screams of the dogs heart rending.

It brought back childhood nightmares of my family's fate in the Holocaust. Not because I equate my family with dumb animals, for these creatures were not even capable of having their fate explained to them. How cruel is it then to impose on sentient beings this prolonged torture, when it's reasons and justifications are impossible to communicate to them? 

Their owners were using mountains of kitchen paper towels to mop up the excreta although the smell just got worse and we passengers fled from the stench. I confess that I was trivially obsessed about not getting dog shit on my wheelchair's wheels. It can ruin a blind date! In front of us at the check-in another group of 'dog lovers' were manically stuffing more dogs in cages onto the conveyor belt into the impossibly small  X-ray security machine belt. Their owners seemed unhinged by the fact that the cages wouldn't go through the machine.

Now I don't wish to stereotype these German dog owners but they were obviously more upset about not obeying the security guards orders to get the cages through the opening, and clearly not at all concerned about the poor bloody animals inside them. Otherwise how could they have rapidly tipped that cage on its side with no word of comfort or warning for the, already terrified, dog inside? 

If this misery is the cost of international dog shows then I for one will be campaigning to stop or at least regulate transportation of animals to them. It also made me realise just how much travel for the Disabled, in Europe at least, has been improved in the last ten years or so. I know it ain’t perfect but we are no longer treated as barely human freight that needs to be dealt with. So the question remains how do we go about making it better for the dogs? Because sure as hell, people who abuse animals in their control will do just the same to humans they have power over.