Waterboys

Sheep on pastures usually don’t have water at their disposal contrary to cows or horses. Sheep don’t really need water I was told, because they get their water from the grass and leaves. Sheep usually don’t have much shade or trees on their pastures. Neither do cows.

Indian runner ducks are land animals, they are poor swimmers, I was told. They need a small pond to bathe in, that’s all.

Sheep don’t feel the difference if they are shorn or not, it doesn’t matter to them, said the sheep farmer who sheared Charlotte.

My sheep drink from the river every day, several times a day. They eagerly suck in the water with their mouths and they clearly enjoy it. They lie in the shade when it’s hot and they love to scratch their heads and bodies against trees and objects to soothe an itch.

The runner ducks are clumsy on land but excellent swimmers. They spend their life in the river, playing, diving, snacking on algae and fornicating. They chat happily all day long and they even take floating naps.

When Charlotte still had her wool she was too hot during the heatwave. Once shorn and 5kgs lighter she changed and became more playful and happy. Humans who shave their heads feel the difference too, so why shouldn’t a sheep or any other mammal?

All my sheep have names and they respond to them, like dogs. Well, not exactly like dogs because they are wild at heart, but they have their own identity. They answer when I call out to them.

I pity people who can’t see that because they are still thinking man is the highest form of creation. A jewel of evolution. Man is cruel and cunning and full of flaws.

All lives matter.

Even the hornet deserves to live, even the ant.

Dominion does not mean domination. We hold dominion over animals only because of our powerful and ubiquitous intellect. Not because we are morally superior. Not because we have a “right” to exploit those who cannot defend themselves. Let us use our brain to move toward compassion and away from cruelty, to feel empathy rather than cold indifference, to feel animals’ pain in our hearts.

Marc Bekoff