The Last Cry
2014 – oil on canvas, 200×150 cm / 79×59 in
“One day, people will consider the assassination of an animal the way they consider today the assassination of man”. Leonardo da Vinci
I sympathize with Leonardo’s opinion. My love for animals is immense and they seem to understand me perfectly; not only my domesticated dogs and cats, but also doves, sea gulls, and many other birds, which I encounter every day outside my home. All animals have the right to be treated with respect, as beings created by God, including those which we decide to kill for food or other purposes.
Often we are accomplices of animal suffering out of ignorance or carelessness, like the millions of people wearing winter jackets with fur. Few of them bother to know that those pieces, produced mostly in China, have caused tremendous suffering to cats, rabbits and other animals. Their furs have been removed while they were still alive, otherwise they would lose their hair.
Like little children, animals cannot defend themselves against human aggression. To see living beings suffer blindly is unbearable for people with normal feelings and a minimum of ethics and conscience. Livestock raised in industrial confinement stalls by their thousands and millions suffer atrociously. When we eat their meat, they convey their suffering and stress to us, not to speak of their diseases.
Unable to speak for themselves, animals need advocates to defend their cause. We have taken care to honor several of these advocates among the first laureates of the Chromy Awards. Allain Bougrain Dubourg, the president of the French Bird Protection Foundation is one of them, Paul Watson, the founder and president of Sea Shepherd Foundation is another. He makes life difficult for the Japanese fishermen who, every year, massacre thousands of dolphins in Taiji and hundreds of wales in the Antarctica.
An even greater number of animals are victims of man-induced climate change and the destruction of biodiversity. The Suricates in this painting, although inhabitants of the South African desert, are afraid to be one day flooded by rising sea levels. They probably read the latest issue of the “Environmental research letters”, whereby at current temperature increases their territory will transform them into “Meerkats”, indeed their second name.
Their desperate cry is an appeal to our conscience, to the Cloak on wings hovering above them.