One of the things that will make me abandon a book faster than anything else is cruelty to animals.  I can’t handle it.  Do you want to slaughter an entire village?  Fine, just don’t shoot a horse on your way out of town for fun.  (Is it any wonder that I’m a vet and not a human doctor?)

catslapI loathe this child!

The two most traumatizing movie scenes in the history of time for me are in the Neverending Story when the horse gets sucked into the quicksand and in Dances With Wolves when they shoot the horse and leave his body for the vultures to eat.  That scene caused me to be a nervous wreck when Spirit died and there were a few hours before the people came to get his body.  No vultures (and we had a resident population) were going to eat my baby!

Even though Sheila loved it, I didn’t get through the first few chapters of The Knife of Never Letting Go because the kid was nasty to his dog.  He could hear his thoughts and kept kicking at him and yelling at him.  Nasty little human!

The only thing that got me through Backseat Saints is having been a reader of the author’s blog for a long time.  I know she loves her dogs so I very grudgingly moved past shooting her dog (just a flesh wound).

I’ve never been able to read Watership Down because I’m too scared that something bad will happen to the bunnies.

Any time an animal is prominently brought into a story, I worry about its safety.  Is there a term that is the equivalent of women in refrigerators for animals? I think it is time for the animals to fight back!



My safe author is James Rollins.  He writes thrillers that tend to prominently feature animals but they are safe.  I think this is because he is a vet too.  His characters will shoot humans but the animals will be fine.  We must have the same hangups!  If he ever betrays my simple trust in him, I’ll lose all hope.

Does this bother you too?  Are there other books that I should never, ever read because of what happens to the animals?


6 Replies to “Save the Animals!”

  1. I don’t necessarily stop reading a book if there’s cruelty to animals, but it does seriously bother me. There are some situations where it helps the story, I guess, but it’s too disturbing to me. I can’t imagine why someone would hurt an animal on purpose in the real world so I don’t look forward to reading about people like that either. Same with movies. If an animal shows up in a book or movie, I’m constantly holding my breath and waiting for it to die. It’s awful!

  2. I guess I don’t read a lot of books with animals in them. I can’t think of one that is cruel to animals! But I don’t really want to see animals get hurt either. I’d probably skim over it.

  3. I hear you! I was, literally, in college before I could make it through the Grinch because of the way he treated the dog. It took several strong friends and more than one stiff drink! The Yearling, Bambi, Old Yeller…not an f-‘in chance, thank you!

  4. Oh, I totally remember when the horse died in The Neverending Story! So traumatizing!! Though I have to confess that I was more concerned for the baby in that video clip that you showed than the cat. We were nervous when we had our son because our dog was so crazy, but I’ll never forget how sweet and gentle he was with the baby – it was like he instinctively knew that he had to calm down around him. Best dog ever!

  5. OH MY GOD ARTAX!!! Traumatizing children since the 80s. But seriously that scene is so, so, SO UPSETTING. Actually a lot of that film is. How did I grow up loving that film?? And yeah…don’t read Watership Down. It’s definitely not for you haha.

    And you’re totally right – there is a total animal in refrigerators thing going on! Especially in classic boy coming of age stories. All of them. If there’s a dog, let’s be real. It’s going to die. In a usually totally heartbreaking way. Nope. Nopety nope nope nope.

  6. Oh boy howdy, I HATE books that involve serious trauma to animals. I wonder if some author’s feel like any animal is Chekhov’s Animal (if it shows up in the first scene, it must be offed by the end of the book).

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