First, about the “murderous millinery.” [It is not only the barbarous cruelty involved that torments one] it is the unkindness to far generations, and the loss to posterity, that moves one. The Ardea gracilis, the little white Florida heron that supplies the egret plume, is going the way of the Impeyan pheasant, and the glossy-winged African starling. This murderous millinery is destroying them or it has already destroyed several varieties of our brightest-plumaged birds from off the face of the earth. (p. 5)
Now these birds are so many winged miracles of beauty to tell us of the glory of our God. They were sent into the world, each of them with a message from the Most High. (p. 5)….
Now may I ask your attention to the urgent matter of mercy in our cattle markets. You know how difficult it is to drive the timid country cattle to the trucking or to the mart. I daresay you also know that the cattle driver’s whip or goad rains merciless blows between the horns and on the flanks of these dumb-driven sacred beasts. It is not an unknown matter that a beast’s eye is sometimes actually torn from its socket in the process…. [The solution, which has been adopted in many countries in Europe is] to train the calves to the use of the halter, and so get all grown cattle to follow a hand that leads, rather than fly from a stick that drives. (pp. 5-6)
Next, I am extremely anxious that we in Britain should lay to heart one of the lessons of this terrible war in South Africa. Our losses in horse flesh have been enormous. More than 100,000 horses, I am assured, have perished. One of the contributory causes was that vicious habit and cruel fashion of docking the horses’ tails. It is mercifully forbidden in the army, and so the army horses proper could defend themselves from what is the chief scourge of an African campaign, the plague of flies…. Owing to the foolish fashion of horse docking, thousands of horses had to go to the war without their natural protection, and the agonies that were added to them for want of it may be imagined…. The custom is as useless as it is cruel, and, as this war has helped to prove, it is a dead loss to the nation. (p. 6)
This brings me to my concluding appeal for mercy to our dumb friends. More than 100,000 horses have died for Great Britain and the Empire during this past year. We shall have monuments to our brave soldiers who come not home again. How shall we build to those brave horses…. We will build their monument and the monument of our debt to them by an appeal to the Geneva Convention. It ought to be possible in future war to have, by some general agreement between the powers, a regular army corps of men to accompany an army on the march and battlefield, whose sole duty should be to care for the wounded and the dying horses and baggage animals, and see that the happy dispatch of a bullet behind the ear is accorded to those who fall. The matter, I am told, is a complicated one. (pp. 6-7)
(Nature Notes, 1901, January, vol. XII, no. 133, pp. 4-7)