Do Animals Suffer?

A message to all of us: what happens as resources run out!

The Northern Territory Government has announced an emergency cull as the outback community of Docker River comes under siege from thousands of marauding feral camels… in the past few weeks, camels have invaded the town in search of water…. helicopters will herd the camels 15 kilometres outside the community where they will be shot and left to decay.


koala shuffles into the newspapers
burned helpless clinging to humans
for water, just a little water
anguished cries fill the internet

little boy caught on camera
his small body washing onto lonely shore
of an island off Italy
anguished cries filled the internet

thousand of sheep packed into ships
bound for the middle east
starving, crushed
anguished cries filled the internet

whales hauled up a japanese ramp
in the southern ocean
after grenade detonation in the head
cut up and “used for science”
anguished cries filled the internet

jaques derrida asks,
building on jeremy bentham
do animals suffer?
that was before the internet

our civilisation rests
on the foundation of
“no they do not”
not like we do
we are separate from
the animal in us
and thus them… 

if animals suffer
then we do too
as animals
we are joined with animals
in suffering

what do we each do
with our suffering?
do we empathise
with an image or a statistic
480 million animals burned?
anguished cries on the Internet


can we each identify with one animal
and thus identify with 480 million animals?
what animal could that be?
only one …
the animal that is already me

no more pain is felt when a million suffer than when one suffers… c. s lewis