Before Empires, wars, and European colonists stealing land from indigenous peoples and the ensuing enslavement, torture, marginalizing, discriminating, and exploiting, we humans as an evolving species stole land and life from the animals as we ventured further and further in their wilds slaughtering and enslaving by the trillions and this has only increased over the centuries with billions of animals being caged in tortuous situations, being bred as food, and dying in pain and horror, or being made slaves and the rationalizations, justifications, and arguments for this sort of treatment holding sway over pretty much the entire planet to this day.
It is so easy to say humans are better than animals and therefore we can treat them anyway we want, but there’s such a crushing lack of empathy into the feelings of animals with that argument that, again, it’s so easy to also murder and dehumanize each other by that same logic. The easily-dismissed truth of all the species of animals that no longer exist or the ones severely endangered due to the activities of humans, the shocking reason we have organizations like the SPCA; not to mention our further daily encroaching (settling?) into wild habitats where predators are simply shot and nests destroyed, and entire ecosystems terminated, mostly to strip areas of their resources and/or the harvesting of animals. and to build homes and businesses for humans when other areas could be utilized.
If we really want to change the way we operate we have to go back to the very, very beginning and re-examine our relationship with the most vulnerable on the planet, that being the animals who were here before us. Humans have had this concept of dominion and superiority over the earth and that all it contains is ours for the taking. I disagree.
The earth is sacred and her inhabitants all have their own lives, needs, families, friends, and goals and we need to think about being together and not above. Even considering animals as property is a slippery slope because property has few rights. And those with no rights are fodder.
Empathy means understanding the feelings of others, their love, excitement, playfulness, fear, and pain. Animals are others, the Great Others. They’re not little stores filled with things for us to use. Their homes/lands are not just ours for the taking because we’re more powerful. They should not be victims of our cruelty and greed. They deserve our respect and protection. I certainly don’t have all the answers as to how to implement this understanding, but I think it’s an issue that needs to be looked at in a completely different way than has historically been the case.
I really do believe that life is sacred, all lives, and the living of life, as well. Animals must be allowed to have their full lives. I’ve pretty much felt this way since I was about five or six. I trust that little five-year-old Andrea on a very instinctual level to know what is the good and right thing, especially when it comes to animals because I have always found them to be amazing teachers, friends, and personal heroes. That’s my blog and I’m sticking to it.