Caught off guard?

A Lion roaming through the forest got a thorn in his foot, and, meeting a Shepherd, asked him to remove it.  The Shepherd did so, and the Lion, having just surfeited himself on another shepherd, went away without harming him.  Some time afterward the Shepherd was condemned on a false accusation to be cast to the lions in the amphitheatre.  When they were about to devour him, one of them said:

“This is the man who removed the thorn from my foot.”

Hearing this, the others honorably abstained, and the claimant ate the Shepherd all himself.

–Ambrose Bierce, “The Lion and the Thorn”


4 responses to “Caught off guard?

  1. This past weekend I was waiting in line at a store, and I heard a little girl talking about how she wanted to go to the zoo. I started thinking about the concept of zoos, and how I actually hated them. Searching the web, I found this article about poor zoo conditions ( The article talks about how the conditions of some exhibits in the San Francisco zoo are so bad that the animals are becoming physically and mentally sick. In my opinion, zoos are awful for the animals who are actually in them. They suffer awful conditions, and don’t get to be wild animals like the rest of their species. These innocent animals are forced to just sit there helplessly while people stare at them and children laugh. It seems completely cruel to me, that creatures with feelings just like ours are used as objects. They are displayed just for our entertainment.

    On the other hand, one can argue that zoos actually help animals. This is because they allow people to come and see the beauty of certain animals, so they learn that its important to protect them. When people are able to actually witness the animals, versus being told about their beauty, it makes a greater impact on their decision to help them or not. Having zoos also allows the public to be educated more about animals. The more people know about certain wildlife, the easier it’ll be to raise awareness and protection. Therefore, the few animals who actually get placed in zoos are helping their species. Even though they have to suffer the harsh conditions of zoos, the rest of their species could potentially benefit from their suffering.

    I personally don’t really know my opinion on this. I am not going to lie, that as a little girl I loved going to the zoo and seeing the animals. It thrilled me because I love animals so much. But I also felt guilty, especially seeing intelligent animals such as the Chimpanzee in a cage. I still think this is extremely unfair. I wish there was a different way to connect people with these animals, where the animals could be happy and free, but people could also get personal with them so they care enough to protect them.

  2. I was researching sharks the other day, when I came along Bull Sharks. I found an article from national geographic that talked about Bull Sharks and their ability to swim upriver. Some have been discovered thousands of miles up the Amazon and Mississippi rivers. Bull sharks are one of the three species of sharks out of the 375 that exist who actually attack humans. Since they are in shallow waters much of their time, they are more likely to attack humans than other sharks. Bull sharks have special abilities to swim in fresh water, and some of them even choose to remain in rivers instead of returning to the ocean. Unlike other sharks, they have special adaptions that enable them to thrive in fresh water.

    This really fascinates me because it makes me think of how evolution and why we adapt. Scientists aren’t exactly sure why Bull Sharks acquired these special traits to be able to live in freshwater. Some of them theorized that it was because there was a lack of food in their natural salt water environment. There were a few shark attacks that occured in less than three feet of water that had people very nervous. They were startled at the fact that one of the most dangerous predators could now sneak up rivers and live there happily. This makes me wonder if all types of predators can evolve like this in some way. Bull sharks are already thriving and a threat in the sea, but they also have this characteristic that gives them a huge advantage over other animals. In rivers they have no predators and rarely any competition, besides humans.


  3. Like a lot of people, I have been thinking lately about chimeras and whether or not they are ethical. I know scientists believe that chimeras are crucial in discovering certain diseases and they could potentially save the lives of thousands of people. I understand that this would be a huge accomplishment, and I’m sure if I had a loved one who was affected by a serious disease I’d feel differently. However, in my opinion it is completely unnatural to always try and stop diseases. We have already gone against nature in so many ways. Our population increases rapidly each year. So why do we need to continue to torture nature, and hurt innocent animals just for our benefit? Humans already take so much from the Earth, and rarely ever give back anything in return.

    This topic made me want to look at animal testing and the ethics behind it. I went to PETA to learn some more about it, and started reading about the animal welfare act. The act basically is an attempt to set regulations with animal testing. I realized there were so many loopholes in these regulations that they probably didn’t do anything at all. One regulation is that there must be an inspector to come and make sure the animals are being maintained in a humane way. However, the laboratories and companies get to elect their own inspecting committee. Therefore they can be completely biased. Also, the check ups aren’t random, and companies are informed of inspections way in advanced. This way they have time to “clean things up”.

    If you watch the video on this website ( you will be completely disgusted with animal testing. It is a pretty intense video, and made me hate the idea that innocent animals are used for our benefits even more. I completely agree with Deborah when she says killing animals for food is different from this. Since killing for food is a natural thing that almost many creatures must do to survive, I don’t find this unethical in any way. However, killing for curing diseases is unnatural. Especially when you torture and torment other creatures to benefit yourself. Overall, I completely disagree with having chimeras. Especially in the case where you give a mouse a human brain, because u would basically be torturing a baby.

  4. After class today, I have been thinking a lot about dolphins and how their perfect reputations are becoming jaded. Dolphins are one of my favorite animals, I have swam with them many times, and honestly when I look at them don’t see a hint of evilness or maliciousness in them. But after hearing about all these stories, especially the porpoise lynching, I have been thinking they might be more similar to humans than we thought. I always believed that animals were superior to humans in the sense that they simply take what they need, while humans destroy the earth intentionally. But now I realize that the “smarter” you are, the more destructive you become.

    People have been saying that dolphins are actually worse than humans because they don’t appear to have moral compasses. I completely disagree with this statement. In my opinion, just like humans, some dolphins are good and some are bad. After researching various articles about dolphins, I found some that talked about them saving peoples’ lives. Like in this article ( there was an instance where a shark was attacking a surfer. Dolphins encircled the surfer to protect him and they ended up saving a life. I think this is a perfect example of how some dolphins can be good, and others ‘bad’. This then poses the question of what is considered ‘good’ and ‘bad’. Maybe dolphins have a different view of morals than we do. Does this really make them inferior to us? In my opinion, people are the ones who have learning to do. Dolphins haven’t polluted the earth to the point of global warming.

    I found a video on youtube that I found very interesting. There were a surprising amount of documentations talking about dolphins rescuing people. However, you rarely read about dolphins aiding other animals. In this video ( it shows a dolphin that actually saved the lives of two stranded whales. Conservationists had done everything they could to help the whales, but couldn’t get them to return to the sea. The dolphin voluntarily came to help them and lead them out to see. This demonstrates how some dolphins are truly genuine, like people.

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