Through Children’s Eyes

Guest OpEd by Jo-Claire Corcoran of the Equine Welfare Alliance

The Purity of Their Vision Speaks to our Souls

copyright Marcy Leonard

There comes a time when we, as adults, need to take a few steps back and look at the world through the eyes of our children.

Our life prejudices, at times, prevent us from recognizing there are lessons to be learned from those who are able to see without the fetters of blinders.  In many aspects of life, as adults, we see things from a jaded perspective, colored by many things: inherent greed, mistrust, fear and broken promises.  This is not to say we should don our rose colored glasses.  For a moment let us not only look, but see with the trust, love, honesty and compassion we find to be inherent in children.

Far too many discount our children’s ability to understand complex issues – because of their inability to lose their blinders.  They are disconnected from the world around them, except that which encompasses their immediate surroundings and comfort.

This is most apparent in regards to the issue of horse slaughter.  Horse slaughter has been a contentious issue for several years, but was brought to the forefront in November, 2011 when the House of Representatives was forced to pass an Ag Appropriations bill without the important Moran Amendment intact – an amendment which specifically defunded USDA inspectors for horse slaughter.  The President had no recourse but to sign the bill, or risk a government shutdown.  The passage of this bill effectively allows for the inspection of horse meat to resume in the US, thus changing the landscape.

Out of the developments in November of 2011, a movement blossomed – a movement that is giving our children a vehicle for their voices to be heard.

The Million Horse March – Children’s Letter Writing Campaign to save America’s horses is a project which was born in the heart of a child…a child which sees the insanity which has taken over a small portion of this country who wants to slaughter our horses for food.  Not to benefit horses or feed the poor and starving but the few, the wealthy in other countries.  To our children, it’s simple and is best described in a letter sent to one of the children participating in the project:

“I commend Declan on his bravery to standup and support horses. If it is so obvious to our children how is it not registering to the so called grown ups? If you really think about it Declan and his friends from Children4Horses are not just trying to save the animals but us as well.”

The children participating in this project are from all over the country who have come together to shout out to the Congress, the President and to the Country, something is wrong and we want to make it right.  They understand, our horses are more than livestock, they are our partners, our companions, our pets. They are a symbol of beauty and power, majesty and freedom.  The children see the inhumanity of the process and understand it is wrong to send meat that isn’t safe to children in other countries to eat.  Why can’t those adults see this simple fact?

Here is an adult who “gets it” – and the children, their actions and words, were the catalyst:

Woman in IL, “Although I receive regular emails regarding a myriad of animal rights causes, I was shaken from apathy by the recent actions of a young, idealistic boy named Declan Gregg, who is actively seeking support for S.1176/H.R. 2966….i want to encourage Declan and the many other children who still believe that together we can make a difference….Declan is taking action that I myself want to but don’t because I get pulled away by seemingly other pressing issues.”

Along with the woman in Illinois, the majority of the people in this country get it.  The question is, will our Congressional representatives get it?

As clichéd as it sounds, our children are our future.  Do we want them to grow up to be unprepared, apathetic and unable to think critically – disengaged in the processes (political and otherwise) that affect all our lives?  Or do we want them to grow up to be strong, decisive individuals, capable of affecting positive change through meaningful thought and action?