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Memento Mori: Looking Into the Eyes of Dogs on Death Row

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A huge fan of photography, I’ve been checking in weekly over at National Geographic to view some selected picks of the thousands of shots received for their 2011 Photo Contest.

The one above struck me hard.

Underneath the gentle, beautiful portrait of a dog, the summary reads:

“11:38am, 08/01/2011, Taiwanese public animal shelter, time until merciful death: 29 minutes.

These images record the last moments of life for some dogs found in public pounds run by governmental agencies in Taiwan. These portraits are taken on the very day in which the animal depicted is about to be put down or mercifully killed.

In viewing these specific images, one looks directly into the eyes of the dog and the dog looks back. Death is eminent and all that is asked of the viewer is to recognize the common bonds and to honor the resemblances between our lives.”

Incredible. Moving. Heartbreaking. I’m at a loss to accurately describe what may be one of the best reminders to always adopt.

The series, titled Memento Mori (or “Remember Your Mortality) was created by photographer Yun-Fei Tou. Over on the site fotovisura, the artist describes in more detail the purpose behind the images.

“The purpose of this project is to arouse people’s awareness of animals rights and make people think through, carefully and consistently, the question of how we ought to treat nonhuman animals. The animals themselves are incapable of demanding their own liberation, or of protesting against their condition with votes, demonstrations, or boycotts. We have to speak up on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves.”

You can view the rest of Yun-Fei’s striking photography here.

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  • sad photos and so true. “you buy, and another one dies”. it should become illegal, to dump your pet. “you buy, you take care” should be the rule.

    wold love to see similar photos of pigs and cows on billboards. people shold realise what the effect of their actions are, wethere it is buying a pet, eating meat, or buying too cheap things made by underpaid third world workers.

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