DAY 226: WHAT I AM NOT ABLE TO TELL YOU….FOR NOW
This is a tricky post.
I’ve been fairly quite the last few days about what is going on in India. This does not mean I’ve been quiet on my journey.
I’m dying to tell you about the latest adventures but information is extremely sensitive. Perhaps in a few days I can write some more. Very frustrating.
As I progress on this year I’m finding more and more that I end up in hazy worlds of secrecy, threat and uncertainty. The pursuit of animal rights (and welfare) so often comes up against legal barriers, unsavoury people and cultural resistance. I see it as a sign that many animals live on the jagged edges of our society. Although I am often little more than a bystander with a camera I’m surprised that my desire to help has forced me into compromising decisions.
Perhaps I am naive to have ever assumed otherwise.
Already there have been stories on this blog that I’ve had to water down for the sake of my own safety. Perhaps I can tell more when I write the book, perhaps I cannot.
I want to reiterate again – maybe more to my wife and family than to you – that I am not going to take unsavoury risks. I am simply not brave enough. But I do want to pursue that very faint beam that my heart throws out in front of me into the darkness..
Some criticisms from Daily Mail readers – and my answers
The responses I’ve had to the Daily Mail article have been incredible. So many emails and offers of support for Mango that it will take a long time to go through them to reply. But some criticisms too. I want to provide some reasonable replies to those. I’m all for being criticised if it engages.
“The people of the United Kingdom ..do not realise in the Philippines there is no state benefit, a man with no skills working full time cannot but keep the wolf from the door…in these circumstances a little protein, from whatever source is very welcome and necessary to sustain human life.”
MU: The Philippines is a certainly a poor place and many people struggle to survive. But so often dog-meat is eaten by well t0-do people. It is considered a cultural delicacy rather than an essential protein. It is, I am sure, far cheaper to sustain a healthy lifestyle on grains and vegetables than on dog meat.
“Dog meat trade is illegal in the philippines and it is only in the far far north that these dogs are taken and considered a delicacy NOT IN MANILA. I feel that parts of these story are made up as he was offered dog meat as pulutan? i cant help but feel skeptical that some are made up for press release. The government are doing its job to put a stop to this illegal dog meat trade also a lot are already educated about posible rabbies contamination. And if you are so sincere about animal cruelty then stop eating pigs chicken fish and cow! you guys even eat ponies and rabbits! “
MU: Yes, dog meat is illegal in the Philippines but it is NOT true that dogs are taken only in the far north. While dogs are mostly eaten in places like Baguio they are harvested all over. And this is part of hte problem. The long journeys – where up to 90% can die – are awful. Furthermore the government is NOT doing its job as the trade continues underground.
However your point about eating horse and rabbits etc is well made and there is a certain hypocrisy to our reaction to dog meat if we are eat other meats.
“The dog could and would be found a good home here in the Philippines whrein it is acclimatised, it’s a waste of time and money to cart it all the way to the UK where it would probably shivver to death.”
MU: It is not always easy to rehome a dog in the philippines I am sorry to say. Plus, I felt responsible for getting this dog to safety and I am based in UK not in philippines. There is, however, a fair point to made about the money spent to get this dog to London. Could it have been spent better on multiple dogs out there? Possibly – but two things 1) I am using Mango’s story to raise awareness for the issue 2) Compassion, as I repeatedly say, is not always about maths and logic. It is about following your heart. I want to do whatever I can for each animal I meet in distress.
“Do you think just maybe this has more to do with his pet photography business than actually wanting to save the dog? “
MU: I don’t have a pet photography business! And cute photos of stray dogs don’t help the sales of my ‘serious’ art photography in galleries at all.
“It is good that this dog has been rescued, but why has he gone to all this effort to bring the dog to the UK if he is not prepared to look after it himself. Seems like he is just trying inflate his own ego rather than look after these dogs.”
MU: as most of the regular blog readers know I have made a promise with Ann – and my dogs – that while I am off travelling the world I will not turn our home into noah’s ark, as much as I woudl like to. I knew, at the start of this project, I could write the ‘sanctuary’ story and collect more and more crazy animals that end up fighting in the kitchen. But I decided instead to travel and help out in the field.
But, yes, it is true, I have an ego. Often I wonder if I am writing about this stuff because I want to appear ‘good’. Ultimately, however, I hope I’m doing it because I really want to help. I think I am.
“I’m sorry but what right has this man to mess with what is Filipino national tradition?”
MU: Actually, I find this the hardest comment to answer.
What right does anyone have to tell anyone else how to live? It is comforting to think that compassion rises about cultural differences and that if we see another person harming a being we have the right, despite our nationality, to say ‘STOP’. But do we? I’ve no doubt that my lifestyle also inflicts pain – further down the chain of events. I drive a car, I have eaten meat, I don’t recycle everything etc etc.
But once more I repeat the point that I am reacting to each animal I see with my heart. If I can help it I will. I do not claim to be