The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 BlogviewEric Margolis Archive
Show Mercy for Animals
🔊 Listen RSS
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information


Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Thanks, LOL, or Troll with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used three times during any eight hour period.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

Two tragedies just happened in Romania and Australia that have left this hardened war correspondent shaken and horrified.

An old tub of a cargo ship named the Queen Hind (likely Indian-owned but convenience flagged), packed with 14,600 live sheep, capsized at its dock on Romania’s Black Sea coast due to overcrowding and improper load balancing. At least 14,000 of the terrified sheep drowned in the icy waters and darkness of the overturned death ship. Imagine their plight.

Maybe the dead were the lucky ones: the sheep were consigned for Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s leading importers of live animals. The Saudis like their lamb freshly killed. So instead of importing frozen lamb from Australia and New Zealand, where it is supposed to be humanely slaughtered, the wretched animals endure weeks at sea in ship’s holds, in searing heat and terror, often with no food or water.

When the animals arrive in Arabia, they are herded into pens, have their necks cut or sawed and bleed to death. Other Mideastern animal importers are no less cruel. Israel is a bit better. I am helping a sanctuary there for discarded, worn out donkeys and horses.

Some time ago, a cargo ship filled with sheep from Australia was marooned off Saudi Arabia when its importer went bankrupt. Thousands of animals slowly died from intense heat and lack of water or food.

Rescue teams, including the splendid Four Paws of Vienna, Austria, are now trying to extract the dead and dying sheep from the Queen Hind. There is even debate now over whether to send the few score survivors to be killed in Saudi Arabia or put to pasture on a government farm in Romania to live out their lives.

Off in faraway eastern Australia, fierce bush fires have burned their way through vast areas inhabited by kangaroos, wombats, koala bears and many other animal and avian species. We rarely see the victims of these fast-moving fires, either in Australia, North or South America where baby animals and little birds can’t escape the onrushing infernos.

As a raging bush fire burned up the landscape, a lovely lady named Toni Doherty was driving when she heard screams and cries. She saw a little koala bear trapped in a burning field, its fur on fire. She jumped from her car, ran into the fire, grabbed the crying little koala, wrapped it in her shirt and escaped to her car.

The 14-year old koala was taken to the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital and treated for severe burns all over his body. After a hard struggle to save the little fellow, the medical staff there decided he could not be spared further agony and ended his life. Another 350 little koalas are estimated to have died. There is no estimate yet of wombat, kangaroo, anteater, or bird deaths.


Koalas are a national symbol of Australia. These adorable little animals are friendly, gentle vegetarians who like to live in trees and munch eucalyptus leaves. There may only be some 250,000 left. A few more annual bush fires and they risk becoming extinct. We need to protect our koalas, wombats and kangaroos. They are part of our earth and our humanity.

What we learn from this week of fire horror is that Australia must set up fire-proof shelters with ponds of water for their endangered animals. Getting stubborn koalas to use them is another story, but it’s still better than leaving these national treasures to the flames.

The UN and civilized nations must ban transport of all live animals for eventual slaughter. It’s a crime, no question, our modern version of slave ships. The same applies to trucking live animals to death factories.

I was involved last year in the case of an honorable woman who was arrested in Canada for giving water to thirsty, terrified pigs being trucked to slaughter in Toronto. Animals being sent to their deaths are given no food, water or, in the depth of winter, heat.

It’s time to end this barbarous behavior on land and sea. Animals have the same senses of fear, pain, family bonds and hunger or thirst as we do. The huge animal industry insists, contrary to all evidence, that animals are insensate objects. It’s time for us to set the animals free and accord them their natural rights.

(Republished from by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Animal Rights 
Hide 27 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
  1. Alistair says:

    Why don’t the Saudis raise their own animals; they have been doing that for thousands of years, in fact, that was the only job in Arabia before the discovery of Oil, even the Prophet used to raise animals — If they want to eat fresh meat they should raise the animals near home.

    • Replies: @boy1988
  2. boy1988 says:

    Unfortunately raising large numbers of animals like sheep and cattle is quite challenging given it’s inhospitable climate.In the past even before oil was discovered the number of animals raised is quite low and cant feed the whole population .the barren Arabian desert simply doesn’t have enough grazing fields for animals.however the Saudis still raise animals like cattle which are kept in enclosures but Im not sure how many cattles there are

    • Replies: @Alistair
  3. Alistair says:

    I get that, but Saudi Arabia is an Oil rich country, they can surly build indoor climate controlled facilities and import food for the animals — in Dubai-UAE, they have built indoor Ski facilities; Dubai kids are sloping on snow indoor while outside temperature is over 50C — so everything is possible if they put their resources behind it.

    • Replies: @boy1988
  4. Thank you, Eric, for bringing our attention to this neglected issue.

    The appalling levels of routine cruelty imposed on livestock as well as wild animals is a human disgrace. We must strive to do better.

    • Agree: Liza
    • Replies: @Anon
    , @Gunga Din
  5. Anon[242] • Disclaimer says:
    @mark green

    Under the proper conditions, humans will do to other humans what they do to other life forms which they class as non-human (and inferior, just because they are inferior in power: of course this doesn’t prevent such humans from feeling outrage over subsets of smarter and more powerful human regarding the rest of humankind as “animals”: they are outraged).

    The real morals of a civilization, and a person, are seen in how they handle “animals”, where there’s no real reward for following a line of behaviour, nor penalty for following another one.
    Humans also show their real colours when dealing with other humans who are “nobodys”, for the same reasons as above.

    • Agree: RVBlake
  6. anonymous[684] • Disclaimer says:

    Eric God bless you but I know what you don’t know.

    I know this — most people of the billions of people living,were they asked to respond to your post, would try to “make a joke” — along the lines of well sheep taste good roasted, it is SAD when they are drowned.

    Eric, almost nobody cares. Until someone who understands comes along and tells them that God will show them fear in a handful of dust.

    I care, and you care, not many other people do.

    Then again, you post on a website where fat men who like to post things on the internet regularly post lies about the millions of murders of their fellow men just a few decades ago, so there’s that.

    Of course, maybe you care about that, maybe you don’t. That is between you and God.

    I don’t judge anyone, but God judges us all.

    • Replies: @Liza
  7. SafeNow says:

    He prayeth best, who loveth best
    All things both great and small;
    For the dear God who loveth us,
    He made and loveth all.

    Rime of the Ancient Mariner

  8. In Australia the live animal trade is an almost volcanic topic. Video of Indonesian cruelty to Australian cattle some years ago caused that trade to be halted for a time. Conservatives & talk back radio were furious at the halt — the farming lobby in Australia is very powerful. (Its hard — Australians respect our farmers as much as we love animals)
    Indeed, the live animal trade has been exposed for its direct or indirect cruelty so many times it’s hard to recall them all. (Many involve the vision of Middle Eastern or sub continental workers casually & incompetently slaughtering animals with a callousness relieved only by their evident bordom or anger… “why won’t these fucking animals cooperate when we try slitting their throats or smashing their skulls in with a hammer?”).
    As for bush fires… there is no debate here: the bush fire season is getting longer & longer & the fires ever more intense. God help our native animals ( & this is on top of long droughts).
    On a lighter note, Eric, koalas are indeed cute animals, but they (the wild ones) are not exactly “friendly”. “Cranky little buggers” is probably closer… Take a look at the claws on them & imagine scratches down to the bone…. :-).

  9. @animalogic makes a fair point about unnecessarily romanticising those snake-eyed lazy little bastards with weird asses (I dunno: there’s just something weird about koala butts). We can still have compassion.

    As to the notion that animals should not be trucked to slaughterhouses – what then? Every farm a slaughterhouse? Refrigerated trucks (horribly expensive, btw) for the carcasses? Not to mention every farm having its own industrial fridge?

    Having said that – it’s what dariys do, I suppose. So not entirely infeasible. But will the carcases be eviscerated on the farm? What happens to the viscera? Will the farms have to bag them? And what about disease? Unlike milk, you can’t exactly pasteurize meat. I mean – it’s enough of a problem keeping slaughterhouses up to code. Meat sourced form thousands of farms, impossible to inspect without armies of inspectors, would just not be safe.

    It’s not terribly practical, is what I’m saying. We might have to get used to the idea that if we eat meat, animals are going to be killed and aren’t going to like it much.

    • Replies: @obvious
    , @joannf
  10. Thank you for speaking out on this issue, Eric. Probably the best way to combat live transport is to promote local food production and consumption. Far too many people think meat comes from the grocery store.

  11. boy1988 says:

    Well maybe they can but still in order to feed Saudis population that’s gonna be a very large facility.dont think it’s possible to built that sort of facility to house animals like cattle or sheep.chicken and pig would be different story though.

    • Replies: @Alistair
  12. RVBlake says:

    Wonderful article about a subject not much discussed.

  13. Alistair says:

    Please take a look at the link; this is a dairy farm in Qatar, just next door to Saudi Arabia. it’s the same idea for the meat farm; indoor Cattle farms is the way forward.

  14. Renoman says:

    Arabs are the scum of the Earth.

  15. Roger says:

    “…the wretched animals endure weeks at sea in ship’s holds, in searing heat and terror, often with no food or water.”

    This is a purely emotional statement and is not based in fact nor reality.

    Any sheep (or human, for that matter) which was denied water would die from dehydration within the first three or four days. No profit there.

    Any sheep which was denied food for weeks would be so severely starved and compromised that it would be unfit to eat. I doubt the Saudis, who like their meat fresh, would be willing to pay anything for them. No profit there, either.

    Since the intent of this venture was to provide the Saudis with fresh lamb AND (supposedly) to make money for those involved, it is preposterous to assume and state that these animals were starved and denied water.

    Margolis then goes on to claim that, “…a cargo ship filled with sheep from Australia was marooned off Saudi Arabia when its importer went bankrupt. Thousands of animals slowly died from intense heat and lack of water or food.” Again, no profit.

    If the Saudis like their lamb (mutton) fresh and are willing to pay to have it shipped in from Australia or New Zealand at high cost, then why didn’t one of them produce the pittance necessary to allow this ship to dock and off load? The importer went bankrupt, the ship was marooned off the coast of Saudi Arabia, and the animals died because no one brought the ship into port? Was it necessary to refuse entry simply because the owner declared bankruptcy? Why couldn’t the sheep have been penned onshore and compassionately taken care of until the law sorted things out? Something smells and it’s not sheep doo-doo.

    Granted that there are instances of animal abuse in the meat industry which should be curtailed, but let’s accomplish that with a clear-headed vision instead of using emotional outbursts of rage. Frankly, Eric Margolis should have stuck to war reporting from the ‘top of the world’. He was far more believable then.

  16. Is Saudi Arabia really necessary?

    For almost a century, the civilized world had been catering to this band of primitive, desert barbarians because they happen to have oil under their sand. They did nothing to earn their wealth and they do nothing with it except squander it all on excesses and cruelty.

    The world awaits the day when KSA goes bankrupt.

  17. End the Hogocaust

    • LOL: Tusk
  18. obvious says:
    @Dave from Oz

    you can eat all the meat you like, just raise it and kill it yourself. that’s what it comes down to: mass commercial meat eating is a crime against nature, and naturally a crime. it requires vicious criminal behaviour, and it must be stopped, because it will be stopped eventually: by plagues and famine and war, which are the natural consequences that follow.

  19. obvious says:

    Eat all the meat you like, just raise it and kill it yourself. That’s what it comes down to: mass commercial meat eating is a crime against nature, and naturally a crime.

    It requires vicious criminal behaviour, and it must be stopped, because it will be stopped eventually: by plagues and famine and war, which are the natural consequence

    Death to the Arabs

  20. Gunga Din says:
    @mark green

    Agreed. The way a people treat their animals is very revealing as to what a people are.

  21. I applaud your efforts and your sensitivity but wouldn’t your logic also apply to the fetus? Why tolerate millions of horrible deaths for relatively advanced human beings?

    • Replies: @Lin
  22. Lin says:
    @jack daniels

    You raised an interesting question; a few points I want to make
    **Showing ‘mercy’ to animals is hyprocrisy; they’re going to be slaughtered, fleeced, skinned..anyway
    **Vegetarianism is holocaust on the plant kingdom; should human show mercy on carrots?
    ** Sperms are life forms. All but one(or sometimes 2 or 3) can’t survive in a single coital ejaculation.
    Male masturbation is mass murder. Not to mention semen is important dietary supplement to some male groups
    ** Psalm 23 according to Linus Nazarenus:
    The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
    He laid me down in green pasture and he fleeced my wool without my consent
    He clubbed me to death with his staff and rod for my flesh and hide.
    Thus I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.

  23. Muslims are the cruelest towards animals, with the possible exception of the Chinese.

  24. Liza says:

    @ #684.

    Well, I do judge others. And I fully expect them to judge me in return. How else is necessary change ever going to occur? And any divine judgment will include those who think that nonjudgmentalism is a direct path to the pearly gates.

    There is no humane slaughter, that hare brained autistic Temple Grandin notwithstanding. Anyone owning, or working in, a slaughterhouse has the moral awareness of a hyena or parasite.

    Now about those cute little farms that every meateater seems to think is some kind of solution. Consider this: the farmer spends his days talking to his livestock, scratching them on the back, calling them, feeding them, and so on. He’d slug anyone who kicked any one of his animals. Then he turns around and pole axes it between the eyes or shoots it so that he and his family can feel good about themselves. There is an alternative, but it involves self reflection. I have seen my share of animal killing, up close, on a small farm where I lived, so don’t anybody get on my case.

    Thanks to Eric for this article.

    Some folks here might be interested in this book:

    Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy by Matthew Scully.

    Matthew Scully served from January 2001 until June 2002 as special assistant and senior speechwriter to President George W. Bush. He worked in the president’s 2000 campaign and has also written for vice presidents Dan Quayle and Dick Cheney, and for the late Pennsylvania governor Robert P. Casey. A former Literary Editor for the National Review, he has been published in various periodicals including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal.

    Liberals and feminists don’t like this book or its author, from the reviews I read.

    • Replies: @RVBlake
  25. RVBlake says:

    I owned and read that book several years ago. It’s interesting that Scully is an evengelical, adhering to a religion not known for its enlightened attitude toward animals or nature in general.

    • Replies: @Liza
  26. joannf says:
    @Dave from Oz

    Psychopaths usually don’t see what the problem actually is.

  27. Liza says:

    @RVB. Yes, indeed, about the evangelicals as a group. However, I’d be thrilled if Cheney (who Scully was a writer for ) became an outspoken supporter of animals rights, animal welfare and a vegetarian to boot – if only to watch the leftist animal-loving types tear their hair out over what they see as some sort of insult to the “real” animal welfarists. I remember when Doris Day became vegetarian, and the lefty animal-rightsers still decided to hate her thoroughly, even though she worked so hard at animal rescue and donation of money to these kinds of causes. This was decades ago. See – you have to swallow their entire package, or else you are a piece of schit. SMH…

Current Commenter

Leave a Reply - Comments on articles more than two weeks old will be judged much more strictly on quality and tone

 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments become the property of The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All Eric Margolis Comments via RSS
Personal Classics
Bin Laden is dead, but his strategy still bleeds the United States.
Egyptians revolted against American rule as well as Mubarak’s.
“America’s strategic and economic interests in the Mideast and Muslim world are being threatened by the agony in...
A menace grows from Bush’s Korean blind spot.
Far from being a model for a “liberated” Iraq, Afghanistan shows how the U.S. can get bogged down Soviet-style.