The mistreatment of animals is a daily occurrence: something that is necessary to continue our selfishly homogeneous lifestyles. Animals are used on a daily basis for our own benefit: food, clothing, medicine, souvenirs and most of all for monetary profit. Basically the exploitation of animals aids our filthily greedy capitalist society. This ‘profit’ currently exceeds $10 billion annually. Is it worth it? This includes 26.4 tons of ivory hacked from 2760 elephants. 2760 lives destroyed. In no way is that justifiable. In no way can ‘profit’ be worth a life… of any species. I can not stress enough how money is a symbol of nothing but our own HUMAN greed. Why should animals suffer at the hands of our selfishness? For what? So some egotistical human with more money than sense can own a nice rug, a trinket, a souvenir. Degrading a corpse- or part of one- basically. Animals are not disposable.
The WWF campaign speaks for itself -literally: ‘I am not medicine’, ‘I am not a trinket’, ‘I am not a rug’. This is either personification or fucking true. If you reject animal rights, then you must reject the idea of animals as a ‘conscious thinking thing’ (John Locke), otherwise this is genocide. The use of speech in the campaign hardly raises an eyebrow on first view, however it is clear that to reject these claims one must interpret the advertisement as purely anthropomorphising animals and giving them attributes, such as thought and speech, that are not applicable to them. In contrast, by accepting the opinions and voices of these animals as advertised, one is accepting the fact that animals are in fact a ‘conscious thinking thing’ in the same way as humans, and thus, should be treated equally.
How is there any hope, though, for equality between species if there’s not even equality within species?
Our monetarist, capitalist society, is devoid of any concept of equality; women are still fighting for equal rights across the globe, racism and discrimination are still prevalent in every sector and ageism is illustrated daily by government policy. Of course, if we can’t even respect our fellows then we are going to exploit other species.
In both evolutionary and religious terms animal rights are prominent. In evolutionary terms, the human race is derived from animals, the history of animals including us is an intricate interlaced web of development- should we abuse our ancestors? Materialistically, without a psyche, there is nothing to distinguish the human race from animals other than an alleged ‘higher intelligence’ and this is no justifiable reason to exploit and abuse: we don’t mistreat mentally disabled humans as they have a lower intelligence, do we? – rather we care for them more. Religiously, animals were created by God and therefore hold the same sacred attributes as us with the idea of stewardship also being highlighted in the Bible:
“The righteous care for the needs of their animals”- Proverbs 12:10
Although there is a sense of ownership here, it is still clear that animals have certain rights that should be respected and this is our responsibility. Arguably, this is rather outdated as the Bible usually is on the topic of equality and rights; even so the general message completely conflicts with the current treatment of animals in our society. It seems evident also that the mistreatment of animals correlates with morality- ‘righteous’– the mistreatment is morally wrong. This raises the question: where does the current mistreatment of animals derive from if not from science or religion?
Our ravenously selfish vaingloriousness.
We’re the brutes, the beasts, the animals- it’s not fun and games.