I don't know why, but my heart gets so easily broken when I see an animal suffer. Pretty much any animal. It's a big emotional Achilles' heel, gets me all sorts of discombobulated, sometimes for a long period of time. It's so powerful (like a sledge hammer to the gut/heart) and inexplicable -- it's not as if I grew up surrounded by and/or in love with animals -- that, if I were inclined to believe in reincarnation*, I'd say the emotional reflex comes from an experience in a past life, residual karma.
Rach, I was just outside getting some sunshine, and a magpie that frequents the garden, flew onto a fence right beside me. I said 'good morning' before I even noticed she had a wiggling tiny lizard in her beak that I only saw when she turned her head in my direction when I spoke. So then I said 'good morning lizard, not such a great morning for you though'. (reality). The magpie mother's 'child' flew onto the fence beside them squeaking at her mother to share the breakfast she'd caught. For a moment all of us hung there.... and in that moment there was acceptance of reality of your 'life eats life' and of my 'life breeds life'. It is what it is, the two are one.
It caused me pause to consider your response above, which I previously had been thinking about in terms of cruelty causing unnecessary suffering, rather than the nature of life in an ecosystem.
In ET speak, acceptance, enjoyment and enthusiasm being conscious ways of being and doing. Acceptance is peace within reality, at this moment, this is what is required of me. In that moment, I blessed the lizard in the beak of the mother without judging the mother or the impatient baby, the lizard was being a lizard, the birds were being birds; while still feeling lovingly compassionate towards the lizard that strayed out into the open path of the birds hunting ground. None of it was about 'me', none of it required anything of me in terms of action and so I didn't take it upon myself to feel response able to do any other thing or to judge any of it. I did however feel a pang of 'regret' for the lizard who moments before would have been care-less-ly lying or venturing into the warmth of the sun.
If you had grown up among animals and aware of the reality of the natural cycles of nature it might be easier for you to not judge and define things in such human terms as 'suffering' or in terms of human thinking of 'controlling' nature rather than accepting it. Where there is imposed cruelty creating unnecessary suffering however, yes one can choose to intervene.
bMany years ago now I had an 'aha' moment that kind of makes all of this okay. I was bike riding down the western shore of Loch Ness on a glorious spring day. Spring in Scotland is amazing in its awakening after the long harsh winters, all life rejuvenating so magnificently, that which was dormant awakening that which is to be born struggling into life.
I noticed a young ewe having trouble birthing her lamb. I stayed at a distance as other ewes gathered around her. That she was suffering there was no doubt, that her life and the life of her lamb were in jeopardy, probably. I knew nothing about sheep midwifery and I was on the other side of the fence from her. I kept a sort of vigil of silent encouragement and prayer, as I've now done many times since as things outside of my 'control' or 'place' were unfolding. After awhile the lamb emerged and the other ewes went even closer to the mother. I cried - warm tears of release of my holding my breath and expectations. The lamb laid still and unmoving on the grass and I waited for movement for what seemed like an eternity. Regardless of my 'wanting' or 'willing' her life was not within my power to determine. I almost want to make you wait as long as I did for the outcome ....
to understand that our perspective is only our perspective, our 'wishes' only our wishes and desires of how life 'should' be, rather than how it really is. Any suffering is in our judgement and totally inaccurate when it pertains to another.
The lamb moved! I cheered, the ewes nudged at the young mother, teaching her how to clean it off and stimulate its once crumpled up inside her body with limbs that she would have to learn - by falling over many times - to use effectively.
I watched a while longer then rode off and had a glorious ride along the loch, sat on a huge boulder for awhile pondering about my own reactions to life in all its gory/glory. On my way back I tried to identify the lamb and mother from all the other lambs and mothers but they had just blended into the flock. As I rode on I came upon a dead bird on the road and once again my heart engaged. I was still within sight of the sheep. I looked from a young lamb to the dead bird and back again. Tears fell, this magnificent, beautiful creature that once soared the heights of the skies and fed - likely on lizards, had reached the end of its time on Earth. Yes again with tears falling in love and compassion and oneness, I lifted the bird's lifeless body off the road and onto a grass verge, it was a lame attempt at 'preserving' what was left in some measure of dignity, I kind of smiled inside myself as I realised no it wouldn't get all squashed uncaringly by drivers on the road who would give its majesty of what it once was any thought or recognition at all ... and I wondered whether the other birds, animals and insects that came to eat from its flesh would either, who knows?
All I know is in acceptance it doesn't mean you are heartless, it means you are heart full. And, that's okay too.