Welcome to the Jungle

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.

The Dawkins Delusion

Extract from Chapter 9 of The God Delusion (2006) by Richard Dawkins

Once, in the question time after a lecture in Dublin, I was asked what I thought about the widely publicized cases of sexual abuse by Catholic priests in Ireland. I replied that, horrible as sexual abuse no doubt was, the damage was arguably less than the long-term psychological damage inflicted by bringing the child up Catholic in the first place.

I strongly dislike Richard Dawkins. Not because of his close-,minded atheism but because of his assertion that teaching children about hell and damnation has the same impact on their lives as sexual abuse.

First of all, the man is a fool, devoting his life to ridiculing people’s beliefs, ridiculing something that he doesn’t even believe in; logically he is ridiculing non-existence, and therefore nothing. Dawkins cites his own experience of ‘sexual abuse’ as a ‘mild feeling-up’, lucky for him that he can describe his experience so lightly. But what Dawkins disregards with his naive comment is that such abuse is subjectively experienced, and many are not as fortunate as him. Dawkins agrees that sexual abuse is ‘horrible’, but this term seems rather feeble in describing the horrendous physical and emotional abuse entailed by sexual abuse and that ever pressing question: ‘why did it happen to me?’.

What ever ‘abuse’ Dawkins thinks that bringing up children catholic inflicts, at the end of the day, there’s always someone there to reassure them that it’s not real, it’s fictional. There’s a whole scientific movement against it: it’s called evolution. Surely the scale of this opposition is enough to convince one who has suffered ‘the long-term physical damage’ of Catholicism that what they fear, such as the depictions of death and purgatory, are fictional?

Unfortunately there is not a worldwide movement pleading the case that sexual abuse is fictional and that it can’t hurt you any more. Sexual abuse is in no way comparable to the telling of a scary story. It will always be real.

 

American Psycho

The coverage of the 20th of July cinema shooting was more than extensive. Almost everyone can recall the crazed look, orange hair and those eyes of 24 year old James Holmes; former neuroscience PhD student and murderer. But what about the even more recent Sikh temple shooting? The face of Wade Michael Page should haunt us too, but the media has not contrived him of the lunacy that James Holmes abhors; although each act equally cries lunatic, fanatic and pure evil. James Holmes was motivated by pure insanity, randomly killing innocent people with no particular reason. Maybe this is what makes us more scared? These are everyday people, visiting the cinema, just like us. No particular age, gender or race was targeted which in the media has fuelled more fear. However, Wade Michael Page is motivated by hatred and racism to an exclusive group: Sikhs. This kind of behaviour is not unbeknown to us, and for the majority we are not part of this group. In adherence to this, media coverage on the Cinema shooting completely outweighs that of the Sikh Temple shooting. But is this right?

America, a country never celebrated for it’s acceptance of other races simple disregards this shooting as another racist attack- nothing different from the lynchings of Black Americans in the 1920s, the mistreatment of Native Americans and the restrictions upon certain ‘types’ of immigrants also in the 1920s. When will they ever move onwards? Even our own media reflects this idea though; the notoriously right wing Daily Mail have put stories about fraudsters and benefit cheats above a serious and shocking incident: the Sikh Temple shooting. However, the Daily Mail had the story on the Cinema shooting as front page news and have followed it meticulously since. This difference in coverage is wrong. Both stories should be treated equally.

The only difference that I can highlight is that of race and this is something that we should be more scared of: 


this blasé attitude towards racist acts.