I have a disdain for people who feel they’re so far above the rest ‘morally’ yet don’t realize their own hypocrisy. Now the reason I bring this up is because very recently, as in 2 days ago, I joined a discussion online in which the topic centered around explorer Benedict Allen. In 1985, Benedict Allen found himself in a situation that so few people today can even fathom. He was alone with his only companion being his trusty pet dog. Together they were lost in the Amazon jungle, perhaps 100 miles from civilization and he had little knowledge of how to survive in such an environment. Allow me to backtrack a bit. Earlier Benedict Allen and Cashew, his dog, were traveling up river in a canoe when it was overturned by strong river currents. Allen battled the currents and when he judged it was safe to board the canoe, he was once again driven further back by the river. His Canoe was lost and it was assumed that Cashew, who was on the Canoe at the time of the incident, was also lost. Benedict was able to safely make it to land. As days turned to weeks he fell ill with malaria, and eventually his body was unable to digest the little food he was able to acquire. Starvation soon reared it’s ugly face, and he could not sleep with the constant insect bites during the night. About 2 weeks into this Amazon nightmare, Cashew found his way back to Benedict after surviving on his own and traveling many miles. That day, or perhaps a few days later, Allen, who was starving and in need of food thought of… eating… Cashew. He then decided against it. As his stay in the Amazon approached the 30 day mark he began to question his own sanity. At one point he could no longer bare the hunger and he decided to do what at first he balked at. He grabbed his machete and struck his pet dog, killing it, and then he ate it. Once again his body refused to digest the meat and he immediately threw it up.
As I watched this show, I thought that killing Cashew was an unfortunate decision, but a much needed one. I didn’t want him to do it, but I feel I understood why under his circumstances, he would feel this was the only way. What I saw was a story of survival, and I looked at this incident as a sacrifice for Benedict. I do not think he wanted to kill Cashew, but that desperation took over and his survival instinct kicked in. He did what he had to do. Given that, the last thing I expected when I searched for his story online was to see a bunch of sheltered, hypocritical morons berating this man for killing his dog, yet not seeming the least bit concerned about the man himself.
Here are only some of the comments concerning Benedict Allen:
“A Man is lost in the Amazon with his dog and this disgusting excuse for a human being eats his dog. The dog that he says he loved and was his best friend. The dog that was given up for dead only to walk through the jungle for forty miles to find this man. He then eats him. To the man, you are sick and arrogant human being”
“They are currently showing that episode. I did NOT agree with this being shown on this channel…or ANY channel. This is a SICK person. I honestly cant believe they would air this. I watch animal planet regularly and I probably will NEVER watch it again. Absolutely disgusted and completely upset. The man should have died, or the dog should have eaten him. Unacceptable. I just cannot express how disgusted I am.”
“Poor dog could have gone off on his own, but instead decided to find his master. So what does his master do? Eat him, and not even benefit from it. This guy should have never made it out. El Dorado? Really? Give me a break. RIP Cashew.”
Though he doesn’t outright say it, his words are as clear as day. He is advocating the death of Benedict Allen. A man who survived for a month in the Amazon jungle, by himself, while suffering the combined effects of an untreated and quickly escalating case of malaria, starvation, and huge amounts of psychological stress.
So much for ‘compassion’, this user clearly has none.
“I also started watching this excuse for a human’s story and even felt sorry for him at first. How anyone could kill their dog and eat them is beyond me. If the dog had died of natural causes that would be different but to kill your loyal companion and friend? That is unforgivable. As far as I am concerned this guy deserves the same fate as his dog.”
This person is no better than the one quoted above.
“The world would’ve been better served if this pathetic excuse for a human being had died on the forest floor. This undercuts everything that Animal Planet ought to stand for. I have watched Animal Planet for the LAST TIME. It now officially off the channel lineup for every satellite TV in our house. NAUSEATING, WRETCHED.”
“Wow. I would have definitely let myself die before doing that.”
I’m sure you would have (sarcasm), but saying what you ‘would’ do means absolutely nothing. Not until you face what Benedict Allen survived can you say what you would do, because by then you would’ve already done it. Ya see, something as profound as being alone in a jungle for 30 days, with little to no food, with a bad case of malaria isn’t something you can fathom unless you’ve experienced it first-hand.
I’m not sure I can publish the following comments on here for legal purposes, but this link contains dialogue from Benedict Allen himself in this topic at his website.
This is a response from a user to Benedict Allen:
“What a pompous creature you are mr. benedict.”
The pure concentrated hatred enveloping Benedict Allen is, to me, completely unfounded. Now I could be wrong, though it’s highly unlikely, but I doubt that any of the people spewing this garbage have ever been, or will ever find themselves in Benedict Allen’s 1985 Amazon scenario. They claim to be a compassionate people, yet do not at all care about an innocent man who was likely hours from death. They rationalize it this way, ‘he brought it on himself for being unprepared’, or my personal favorite, ‘dogs are no different than humans’. I can understand this sentiment and in a way I sort of agree with it, but at the same time I don’t consider a dog ‘no different’ than a human, and I’m sure no one who professes to, does. Animal Care Institutions would rather put to ‘sleep’ unwanted dogs instead of keeping them in their facilities. Would we kill orphan children who aren’t adopted? Do you see anything ‘equal’ about this double standard? Why is euthanasia frowned upon while putting a dog to sleep falls in line with the American standard of morality? Despite what people profess to believe, the overall majority of Americans do not view dogs as they would humans. If we were to put that into a literal sense, that belief would fall apart very quickly.
I don’t know the kind of relationship that Benedict had with Cashew. I am, however, sure of one thing. When Cashew found his master after surviving alone for two weeks, Benedict was already suffering immensely and starvation was a potent culprit. Benedict could have struck and killed Cashew then, but he did not. Instead they survived together for another few weeks until the desperation overtook Benedict. If he was a murderous psychopath as so many have said, I’m quite sure he would have taken advantage of the situation immediately, instead of allowing himself to starve for another 2 weeks. The people who berate Benedict Allen claim to be compassionate and caring, yet I see the exact opposite. I see uncompassionate and callous people, who have never themselves been subject to the extremities Allen faced, judging him for committing an act he felt would assure his own survival. How then, can they truly say how they would behave?