26 March

Poem: First, They Came For The Horses

by Jon Katz
First They Came For The Carriage Horses
First They Came For The Carriage Horses

 First, they came for the carriage horses,

and no one spoke out,

because the didn’t know about horses,

and how they have lived,

Because they said work was cruel,

and the only work for horses in our world,

was to be rescued,

and never work.

Then, they came for the  the barn cats,

and no one spoke out, because no one knew

what the barn cats were like,

or how they lived.

they decided they must live like human children,

and be confined and dependent and safe.

Then, they came for the outdoor cats, 

because they said no animals should be free

any longer, they might come to harm, or hurt the birds.

Then, they came for the border collies,

because they frightened the sheep,

and worked in heat and cold,

and because animals should not ever work,

with human beings or for sport,

and then they came for the ponies in the old cities,

who brought vegetables to the neighborhoods,

in their carts,

because work was wrong,

and the ponies disappeared,

and they came for the donkeys who hauled

firewood and gave rides to children for quarters,

because they must live in nature, and not among children.

Then, they came for the Police Horses,

because horses do not belong in the city,

and no one spoke out,

because the carriage horses were already gone.

Then, they came for the dogs without big fences,

because all dogs must be confined,

and none must ever run free again.

And they came for all of the dogs whose people worked,

because they said it was cruel,

and because no one spoke up.

They said it was

about the rights of animals, and they needed to be safe,

and no one spoke out about that,

Then, they came for the breeders,

because dogs must never be bred or sold,

they can only be rescued,

and breeding is inhumane,

and no one spoke out, and the border collies and Labrador Retrievers

and Jack Russell Terriers and Pit Bulls and Poodles and Jack Russell Terriers

vanished from the world,

dogs could only be rescued.

Then, they came for the bomb-sniffing dogs,

and no one spoke up,

 because dogs must not work, must not be

in train stations and airports,

they must live the natural lives of dogs,

and then, they came for the seeing-eye dogs, because it is cruel to work,

it is not the natural life of a dog,

they must be safer than people,

they must not be confined to offices

and apartments, must live freely and the way nature intended.

Then, they came for the therapy dogs, because work is cruel,

and unnatural, and no one spoke out.

And then, where there were no horses, and no Labrador Retrievers, and there

were no seeing-eye dogs and search-and-rescue dogs and therapy dogs,

and no border collies on the farms or in the field,

or ponies in the cities, or donkeys or horses on farms, or pulling wagons,

they came for your horse and your dog,

for your barn cat, your outdoor cat,

because no one spoke up,

and they had grown bold and powerful,

and told us how we and our animals must live,

 because they now could.

And soon there were no animals left in our world,

for them to take away,

the horses had gone to slaughter,

in order to be saved,

they animals has vanished from our world,

the dogs and cats were all confined to their houses,

the working animals gone from the farms,

because no one could afford to keep them any longer,

or were afraid,

because there was no place safe enough for them,

nor enough money to follow the laws and regulations,

the vet bills and feed costs,

machines were cheaper and easier.

One day, the animals were gone,

 out of the lives of ordinary people,

and children, who never were to see them again,

because no one spoke out.

The animals lived only on rescue farms and in zoos,

if they lived at all,

and on cable news channels,

and Internet videos,

the only places safe enough for them,

the only places that could afford them,

and keep them safe from us.

and they were all safe,

and protected from life,

and banished from the lives of people,

and exiled from our world.

and vanished from it.

– Jon Katz

Thanks To Martin Niemoller, for inspiring this poem.

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