A plea to end cruelty to animals
Not a day goes by on earth without millions of animal deaths (90 billion per year, I once read but who really knows?), mostly in slaughterhouses but also at the hands of poachers, smugglers, trophy hunters, sadistic killers, consumers, etc.
In my worst nightmares, I often see a world deprived of free wild animals, and overpopulated with men ever less capable of living sparingly and peacefully on an irreversibly denatured planet. When I look at today’s world, I do not see any reason why my vision should not, someday, come true everywhere, as it has already in many parts of the world.
A long time ago, I stopped eating meat and started to ask myself ethical and moral questions all the time. Can I continue to wear leather knowing how cruelly farm animals are treated? Can I use animal-tested cosmetics? How can I even know for sure that my soap is vegan? Can I stand for rhinos and ignore the predicament of corrida bulls? Can I eat goose-liver and oppose whaling? Can I expect to eat or clothe myself for cheap if not at the expense of human and animal welfare? Because in truth men and animals are intertwined. We hate to hear that because we think that we are so superior to animals, but our self-proclaimed superiority certainly does not show in the way men treat other men.
The mental manipulation to which we all have been subjected for ages has reached a critical level. The use of animals is so “embedded” in most economies and lifestyles that it is technically impossible not to hurt animals and the environment in some way or other, sometimes in the most gruesome, even useless, way. Each people has its own specific or “traditional” forms of cruelty to animals and, just as the Jews of yore eager to punish an adulterous woman and put to shame by Jesus Christ for being sinners too, no country is in a legitimate position to effect concrete and permanent change globally as long as they fail to deal with their own barbaric practices (beginning by recognizing them for what they are). The improvements that we see here and there are very limited in scope and fragile, sometimes deceitful or easily reversible.
How much longer can we individually accept animal abuse? How much longer can we cover our eyes and ears? How much time do we have left to change our ways? At our stage of mental and moral alienation, coherent and conscious living is not easy to regain but it is living with eyes open instead of acting like blind sheep lead by cowardly and irresponsible leaders.
We all have critical individual choices to make and some are more difficult than others. I have qualms and every day must deal with my contradictions but I have made some pro-animal choices and I find it easier to stick to my resolutions than to face the shame (not to mention the consequences) of being careless and indifferent. It is fine to only take one (big or small) step at a time and, to begin with, we all must stop deluding ourselves about the truth of our individual behaviors.
Indifference is selfish cowardice, blindness is alienation (or absence from the world), denial (or negation) is a crime. Those who choose to remain indifferent, while, for some of them, still believing and claiming that they love animals should not be allowed to live in denial that there is cruelty (concretely perceivable and visible by the horrendous suffering that animals go through) for their selfish comfort, pleasure, entertainment, and what not.
Truth is, by essence, hard to bear, as proven by the fact that most men refuse to face the idea of their own mortality. However, facing truth and reality is precisely what living is about. The reverse attitude is dreaming. So why not first begin by dealing with our many inconsistencies, and in the present case, our misplaced feelings and emotions?
It is sheer madness to feel sad or cry when a cartoon’s animal – even a toy – character goes through fictional hardships but hardly bat an eye when we see suffering and pain in real life: a wounded bird on a city street, a starving or sick stray cat or a dog being abused by a psycho owner. In our cold and technology-crammed world, a person will pass for a weirdo or a lunatic if he cares for living things. I know people who must hide to feed stray cats because they are attacked by neighbors who accuse them of causing their multiplication, and unsanitary conditions! What about the ba**ds who put them on the streets? What about the plastic bags, cigarette butts, and other trash that men produce and toss out all over?
Many of us sign online petitions regularly or sporadically, fewer make donations and many less take concrete actions when given the opportunity. Sadly we all very well know that these efforts are a drop of water in an ocean of shameful and ever-growing mistreatment, often carried out under false economic pretenses.
I hear those who say that men are the priority and we need to take care of men first. Needless to say that this is the worst and lamest excuse possible. Animals do not need to be taken care of, or even loved by men. They just need to be respected and allowed to live in their natural environment. Those who say that usually do not care a hoot about their brothers in need. This is the perfect argument for an indefinite status quo that will lead mankind to extinction, but I have a feeling that most of us know that already but prefer to ignore it.
To those who say that cruelty to animals does not exist (or something to that effect) because it is not against the law, I say that law is man-made, just like weapons! Law was never intended to be the translation into rightful principles of the fundamental moral precept that man should have the absolute interdiction to “harm” for pleasure and with no vital necessity (meaning that he should at least always look for ways to avoid or limit suffering) other men and any other living species. Man’s only right and freedom in this respect should be to hurt himself as long as he hurts only himself. No laws should have to establish that. Why a supposedly evolved and educated man takes pleasure in hurting, destroying and killing an animal is nothing natural or normal to me. Why a civilized society tolerates that is a greater enigma still.
I am an idealist who will never stop hoping and pleading for a world in which animals would finally all be respected for what they are, allowed to live in their natural environment and to fully contribute to a natural order. If men still feel justified in destroying other species or their environment to make room for their crazily expansionistic lifestyles, they obviously do not belong on this planet any longer.
I am not so naive as to imagine that we would stop “using” animals, simply because I am perfectly aware that without animals’ help and sacrifice, men would not be able to continue to roam this planet, some quite arrogantly, oblivious of what we eternally owe to animals: horses that made it possible for man to explore and conquer new territories, cattle that fed and clothed us, protecting us from the cold (and a sure death), oxen that pulled plows to till the earth so we could gather crops, endearing cats that fascinate us, faithful dogs that offer companionship, assistance, protection, and even save our lives, birds that inspired the invention of planes, etc. and all animals teaching us valuable lessons and increasing our knowledge and ability to survive (owing, in some degree, to medical progress but that is not a justification for continuing animal experimentation today). That animals must still toil or die for us is one thing, that they should suffer cruel breeding or work conditions followed by painful deaths is another and an absolute shame for all mankind.
The ingratitude of a smart man does more harm than the cruelty of a barbaric moron and men, as a race, have much to be ashamed of as they continue to be ungrateful for the privilege of living and cruelly unthankful to all those they owe it to, directly and indirectly. Our ancestors, as primitive as they were, had a true sense of the sacrifice they demanded of animals. Are we not wrong in believing that we are more civilized than they were?
I am convinced that if we treated animals better, we would soon be ashamed of how we treat humans and living conditions would really start to improve for mankind. So far, we supposedly have been doing the reverse and see where that has brought us!
All animals lovers, all respecters of life, this is your call! Listen to your conscience! Put your love for animals and mankind into action! Do not wait anymore to take a firm stand as if your life or the life of your children depended on it – because, in fact, it does!
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