It is gut-wrenching how much abuse the human race continues to subject its fellow animals to. But it is not a problem “out there” that you can do nothing about. Every single person can make a difference, because whether we like it or not, money talks.
In every university and every research institution, in every country animals are used as human replacements in the name of learning, teaching and research. Until rather too recently, it was very firmly believed that animals didn’t have any feelings at all. Those of us who want to help animals, know how hard it is, as they are still classified by law as property – as someone’s thing, to own and do with as they wish. Don’t they deserve better? What are our ethical and moral responsibilities?
We destroy nature without thinking twice in the name of “progress”, we will denigrate the lives of other animals (human and non-human) to suit our own selfish needs. Some of us (and that is not the majority of people, by far) have only just started valuing animals for their own intrinsic value; would we have any animals left on the earth at all if they had no monetary value?
Philip Wollen and many other people seem to think that if we all became vegan, many of these problems would be solved. I am not convinced. Should we give animals rights? Should they be autonomous and be given their own choices as to how to be used or not? What would this mean for the world?
What would happen to cows if nobody ate them or drank their milk anymore? Would we turn them all loose and send them on their merry way? Why would we be bothered to breed them, feed them and look after them if they did not translate into some form of income? What would happen to chickens if no-one wanted to eat eggs or chicken meat anymore? Would there even be chickens and cows around? We all know that we have a very hard time conserving species that are of little or no economic value – there are just too few people that really truly care. We keep destroying the natural forests that are the only place the orangutang can live, because palm oil is a precious commodity that is used in just about everything.
Do not get me wrong – I do not approve of being cruel to animals in any way or form. I do not enjoy the idea that animals are “produced and processed” en mass for us to consume. I do not believe that animals should be used and abused for our entertainment as they are in greyhound racing, horse racing, dog fighting, animals performing in circuses and whatever other form of misguided entertainment we can think to derive from animals. I definitely do not see the need for cosmetics companies to subject animals to torture when there are other ways to ensure that products are safe to use.
Even now, feral mustangs are seen as nothing more than a pest by ranchers who believe that they do nothing but destroy good cattle grazing. So if neither the cattle nor the horses were valueless, what would happen then? Would we kill them all off and grow vegetables across the North American West? What exactly would we do with all the animals we have domesticated? And lets be honest – the majority of people do not really want “the wild” in their back yards, so even the wild animals would be in jeopardy. As soon as animals, tame, feral or wild encroach on human space, they are disposed of.
So no, I believe each and every person on the planet should just be shaken out of their willful ignorance and take responsibility for the creatures we share our planet with. We should find more humane ways of treating animals, even if we plan to eat them. There are options other than factory farming, hormone injecting and overuse of antibiotics. We should make sure we know where and how things are made and not support brands that are not cruelty-free.
Take responsibility. DO something today! Sign a petition, educate your child or check the products you buy to make sure they have not been tested on animals. I can’t stop circulating gruesome pictures and videos of hapless animals being tortured until everybody takes notice and does something to remedy the problem. Stop being blissfully ignorant and start thinking of the impact you as a consumer can make. If we as consumers put value to something, there is nothing that producers can do, but play to our tune!
― Jeremy Bentham, The Principles of Morals and Legislation