Monday, December 10, 2012

Different than Other Animals?

We remind ourselves every day how different we are from other animals. We believe we’re smarter than the rest of creation and that we are the more advanced species. 

We profess that we are the only ones capable of contemplating life and death, and that we alone possess morals, ethics and a conscience.

Yet every day we support the killing, torture and exploitation of other animals, or sometimes we do it ourselves, just for fun. We justify these actions by saying other animals kill as well. This of course is true. For some animals to live, others must die. It’s all part of nature, red in tooth and claw, and aren’t we also a part of nature?

Yes we are. But just because something is natural doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good or desirable. There are many animals that rape (spiders, ducks, water beetles), enslave (ants, wasps, dolphins) and kill and eat (chimpanzees, bears, lions) members of their own species. Is this something we want to mimic as well? *

We’re a different kind of animal. We don’t live in jungles anymore and we don’t live by the law of the jungle. We live by a set of rules, laws and codes of right behaviour for the benefit of all. It’s no longer a matter of kill or be killed, or survival of the fittest. We take care of our elderly, our young and our sick. We help those less fortunate and those in trouble. In a word, we’re civilized.

But despite the fact (or claim) that we’re different, better and so much more evolved than the “lower” animals, in many horrible ways we act just like them. Why aren’t we behaving better? Why aren’t we acting more evolved? We don’t condone the slaughter, enslavement and exploitation of other human animals, so why do we think it’s okay to kill, torture and enslave non-human animals?

Other animals can’t pick and choose what they eat. Flesh eaters need flesh. We don’t. We can survive and stay healthy eating all the other foods this wonderful planet has to offer. But we choose to eat other animals because they taste good and because we’ve always done it. These are pretty lame reasons for ending someone else’s life, and we end more than 50 billion animals’ lives every year because of our preferences.

We can’t have it both ways. Either we’re just like the animals or we’re not. Isn’t it about time we put our money where our mouths are?  Isn’t it time we started acting better? If you really think you are different, better and more highly evolved than the other animals, prove it - go vegan.

* On the flipside, there are a number of animals that have been observed helping others, including those of different species, even putting their own lives at risk to do so. If we want to imitate other animals, let’s imitate these ones!

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