Andrew Parker, The Sun (May 18, 2010)
"A HORSE shot twice with a crossbow by callous yobs survived after four fellow steeds spent three hours taking turns - to LICK the wound clean.
"Mare Zeta came within a whisker of death after one of the bolts bounced off her rib while another lodged an inch from her lung.
"Evil louts blasted the 20-year-old - a competitor in show-jumping and dressage events across the UK — in the stomach as she grazed in a field.
"But four other competition horses in the same field 'nursed' Zeta by nuzzling her for three-and-a-half hours while taking turns to lick the wound.
"Owner Jo Young, 39, said the four horses saved Zeta's life.
"The mum-of-two said: 'It was really touching that when she was found the other horses in the field were nuzzling her for comfort and licking the wound.
" 'They kept the wound clean which would have prevented it from being infected by bacteria. It also helped to stem the blood flow...'..."
Now, I rather doubt that the other horses thought "bacteria." On the other hand, as the article points out, they're herd animals - and that's a 'herd' thing to do.
It's also a touching, feel-good story.
An American news service, repeating this story, left out phrases like "callous yobs" and "evil louts," partly - I suspect - because not many Americans know what a "yob" is: and our best and brightest haven't liked words like "evil" for several decades. "Evil" is so - judgmental. After all, some people enjoy shooting horses: and how can society impose its artificial values on the Individual?1 (A yob, by the way, is "a cruel and brutal fellow" (Princeton's WordNet))
Back to those heroic horses.
The Sun's article goes into quite a bit of detail about the incident: including the reaction of neighbors to Zeta's experience. They're appalled.
And there's a police/RSPCA investigation in progress. I rather hope that whoever shot Zeta is caught and sanctioned. There's no telling what that individual's next target would be.
1 Interestingly, the idea that cruelty to animals is morally wrong wasn't in the list of repressive authoritarian restrictions on free spirits. I suppose the back-to-nature kick had something to do with that. Besides, most people have this idea that it's not nice to pull wings off butterflies - or shoot horses.
I'm a practicing Catholic, so I have to believe that being cruel to animals isn't right. I don't have any problem with that - I like fuzzy chicks and cute bunny rabbits as much as most folks do.
- "Animals: Yeah, the Catholic Church has Rules About Them, Too"
(August 17, 2009)