Warning:  What follows may be disturbing to some readers.  I discuss pain inflicted to animals and death.  

This is a post I wrote out while I was in North Dakota at a beet harvest campground. I didn’t publish it then, but I kept it as a draft, until now. Looking over it, I feel it may be important. Still so much meaningless(?) suffering in the world and so much cruelty, whether institutional or personal.


I’m very angry.  I’m quite disgusted.  Recently I found a salamander in a campground I’m staying at.  The amphibian was beautiful, a lovely deep green color spotted in fetching black pattern.  The skin glistened damply.

Sadly the creature wasn’t long for this world.  The salamander lay on his back.  I bent closer to look at the unmoving, little animal and saw that his throat had been cut.  It looked like a sharp, surgical cut across the neck and was oozing bright blood. I then saw that the amphibian was twitching a little and bent to touch the salamander.  To my surprise the salamander’s tail moved a little, jerkily.  I turned the animal on to his belly and watched for a long moment, my stomach roiling.  After a moment it was clear that the salamander was dying from his injuries.  The animal thrashed a little but just a little and he made no move from the gravel towards the grass next to him, or anywhere else.

I stood there angry at what I felt I must do for the salamander.  From the cut it seemed apparent to me that the salamander had been attacked and almost certainly by someone with a blade.  A person had actually tried to cut the salamanders throat.  Was this the work of some young sociopath experimenting his way towards being a serial killer?  Was this what counted for ‘fun’ to someone intent on hurting the small and defenseless?  These are questions I’ll probably never have the answer for.  One thing I knew.  The salamander was suffering.  He was dying.  I could help but the act of doing so filled me with impotent rage.

I raised my boot above the salamander’s head and stood for a moment on one foot unsure.  Finally I felt obliged to end the salamander’s pain and I stomped down hard.  I stomped twice and walked away.

I hope for better for salamanders.  If you die, may it be fast.

What else could be done?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s