i understand. you are right, when something bad happens, compassion is the absolute truth, for the sake of all sentient beings. and i also agree that life can appear utterly cruel and heartless, like when my 4 year old sister died in a car accident with my family in jamaica and her bloody life poured out over my mother's shoulder. but everything that happens to a person is not simply "karma". karma is a small subset of greater causes (and effects) that directly impact sentient beings (see the five niyamas).
karma is a special subset of cause and effect that relates to consciousness: when one sentient bring can effect the happiness of another sentient being, "giving rise to either painful experiences of suffering or joyful experiences of happiness -- that is the point where Karma enters the picture", "the four noble truths", his holiness the dalai lama 1996, pp 83.
i think that there is no magic in karma, it is an internal system of the mind, such as when i do something wrong, my buddha nature of my mind knows that i am guilty and i seek my own retribution against myself. as his holiness the dalai lama often mentions, our _real_ enemies never sleep/eat, will never forget you, will never become your friend: those enemies are inside our own mind.
about loosing jobs or not getting a job following an interview, it is painful to hear about others' choices when they exclude us. we are "left out". but that is our ego perspective. back straight, shoulders back, eyebrows up, heart open, ...what did we want? to be the king? heheheee let's respect their conceptual choice and join them in agreement that we don't fit in their current schema from their valid, current perspective. so perhaps it is good that they excluded us for their current situation. if nothing else, for their self-efficacy, which is a key (albeit early) step on the path to selflessness.
now back to the subject.
I don't know how useful it is to consider the karma of animals. Sometimes I have wondered if it is possible for animals to generate karma, but it seems anthropomorphic to me - attributing human capabilities to animals.
this is key for this thread, "when did karma begin (on this earth)?" so let's explore this point. the dalai lama would disagree with you here. he often talks about animals creating good or bad karma, like my experiences with my goats. do the goats have that guilt/buddha nature, internal kleshas/ mind-enemies, and so on? well, i have seen my goats dreaming, cats and dogs too, and those dreams can be very conflicted, evidenced by the way they shake around... so it is only logical to assume that they are subject to neurosis which is a subset of karma, no?
the deeper meaning of this thread is that the path to enlightenment is two-way. it is very interesting to explore the path to suffering, the 2nd noble truth. and a key part of that is the origin of karma. if time has no beginning, then in all likelihood, sentient beings have been going up and down the path(s) of enlightenment an infinite number of times. if it was one-way (to enlightenment), and time has no beginning, than statistically speaking, we would all be enlightened, right? wrong?
another very important question, i have no idea where this came from, but can anyone clarify? ...is karma as a whole something that we will leave behind (and all traces of karma) when we become enlightened? or will we still practice positive volition/good karma? something tells me that when karma started, suffering started. and when it ends, suffering ends. is that simply because in enlightenment, the good karma or positive and skillful volition becomes emptiness and orthogonal to karma? any dharma references deeply appreciated...
i dedicate this post to your happiness, the causes of your happiness, the absence of your suffering the causes of the absence of your suffering that we may not have too much attachment nor aversion. SAMAYAMANUPALAYA