...but I spent a little over an hour sitting on that hard concrete bench, which was warm from the sun, watching the ducks and watching a series of children torment them. Racing at them on their bicycles, yelling at them, heckling them. Charging at them on foot, once I witnessed a young teenage girl walking with two other young teenage girls SPIT at a duck.
The worst was watching the overgrown bully, a little later, with his two overgrown bully friends form a triangle and "corner" a duck, "we've got him cornered now," said the bully. The mother happened along at that moment and told them to leave the duck alone, the duck was frightened and unsure of which way to go. What I find scary is thinking about what would have become of that duck if there had been no adults around? What if there was no one there but those three rough boys? What if the mother hadn't come along and said, "leave that duck alone, you're scaring her?" It doesn't take much imagination.
In each case either I or another related or unrelated person told these children to stop chasing the ducks, so that's a good thing...but what is causing children to want to chase animals, heckle, spit on and scare them in the first place? I thought being gentle with animals was something that you taught your children as toddlers, what's with teenagers, 13 -15 years old engaging in such activity?
According to this article from the Humane Society:
"Animal cruelty committed by any member of a family, whether parent or child, often means child abuse occurs in that family...."
"...even innocent acts of cruelty should be addressed, it is particularly important to intervene when a child is insensitive to the obvious distress of an animal, repeats a harmful behavior, or derives pleasure from causing an animal pain...."
"...Humane education should be part of every school curriculum. The Youth Education Division of The HSUS publishes materials that help teachers establish a classroom theme of kindness, respect, and tolerance.
For subscription information, contact The HSUS's Youth Education Division, the National Association for Humane and Environmental Education (NAHEE), at 67 Norwich Essex TurnpikeEast Haddam, CT 06423-1736"
Every child I witnessed chasing ducks and geese today was told not to chase them but not WHY they shouldn't. Every child I witnessed chasing ducks and geese today returned later to chase them again AFTER being told not to chase them.
I have seen ducks with lame feet at that park before...
makes me wonder.