Jordan Rivkin

We salute Kye the police dog and his 21-gun salute but…

Image: AAP

After Kye, a US police dog, was given a funeral with a 21-gun salute, Jordan Rivkin want to know why we can heap honours on some animals and be so abusive to others?


A couple of weeks ago in the US, a member of the Oklahoma City police department died while in the line of duty.

After responding to reports of a stolen vehicle, he and his partner, Sgt. Ryan Clark, attended the scene. The suspect fled on foot and, after giving chase, the officer was stabbed repeatedly by the assailant.

Just another day in the trenches of US law enforcement, sure, but this story was a little different.

The officer in question was a young Belgian Shepherd by the name of Kye. In remembrance of his service and bravery, Kye was buried with full honours and received a 21-gun salute.

Such recognition for this animal’s devotion and loyalty is a welcome change to the more common themes of animal abuse and neglect we often read about. Only recently, I wrote an article about the plight of greyhounds, one of “man’s best friends” routinely exploited and abused in the name of “sport”.

Dog fighting rings, puppy mills, doping and racing…human mistreatment of our canine friends has known a long history. However, at least legal protections for companion animals are improving. Only last week, the CEO of an international catering company resigned after a video surfaced of him repeatedly kicking a dog in a Vancouver hotel elevator. Public outrage was such that the board essentially fired him, with possible legal action pending.

Horrific acts perpetrated against companion animals are now undoubtedly subject to widespread condemnation, and hopefully the justice system will take note and treat such acts as the heinous crimes they are.

I only regret that we are so indifferent to the more egregious suffering of our other four-legged friends.

You know, the ones we don’t talk about.

The ones who end up on our plates after a life of pain and misery.

Sadly, they don’t have names, like, Kye, let alone 21-gun salutes in their honour…


Jordan Rivkin

Jordan Rivkin is a freelance writer, psychology student and animal-welfare advocate. After nearly two decades in the stock market, he left to complete his 4th year honours in psychology. His main interests are social justice and mental health issues, and he teaches ethics to primary school children in his spare time.

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