A world of peace, harmony and gratitude- one where not only global citizens engage with each other in the absence of fear and want, but also the million species of animals who have been dying for our dinner, clothing, entertainment and even the well-intentioned charitable contributions- is all I ever hope for. It is right to believe that our planet equally belongs to them, whereas disappointingly enough, they are merely looked upon as our possession; a property; a machine.
Even though animals are hypocritically granted certain basic rights, they are useless in nature because nations worldwide have created a mockery behind closed doors, and violence has become the answer when it shouldn’t even be a question.
Animals have become property, and humans such property owners, which enables us to use them whenever and however we may desire- according to the central rules of owning a property. The only condition remains is to not hurt other humans, regardless of the torture animals themselves may go through in the process- an ideology which promotes the systematic suffering of billions of animals per year.
In factory farms, laboratories, zoos, circuses, aquariums, amusement parks, rodeos, all of it, animals are routinely beaten, denied everything natural to them, isolated, burnt, electrocuted, brain-damaged, blinded and whipped into submission. They are left to linger in a cold cage alone, without any painkillers, until they meet with their eventual fate, and die. With every animal dying out of unnatural causes, our Earth is dying with them.
Among legal equals, it is absurd to use the word ‘necessary’ in the context of killing humans, but it’s different for animals. When we see laws protecting animals from unnecessary suffering, they prohibit wicked content, and seem superficially impressive. But, deceitfully enough, they permit us to cause necessary suffering- one which allows us to look at a cow as our food, an elephant as entertainment and coyotes as clothing. The word ‘cruelty’ does not define this institutionalised violence; humankind is rarely motivated by wicked content to do harm to these voiceless beings; they are desensitised, profit-driven and desperate. There is no morality when people- in demand of institutions- practice activities which may be considered monstrous if done to our pets. Here, regardless of the intent, terms like ‘oppressor’ and ‘bully’ can easily be applied to us.
For every news we hear about a terrible act of violence involving an individual animal, there is an industrial counter-part where the same violence is normalised and multiplied to millions of other animals.
Statistically, more than 30,000 species of animals are wiped out every year because of our activities- 2 billion animals for food, 1 billion by other unnatural causes, 80% decline in global biological diversity is caused by habitat destruction, poachers take 38 million lives in the name of global demand, the population of lions has decreased by 42% in a decade, more than 100 million sharks are killed, 250 million animals are prey to hunting, 97% seals are killed as pups, all including wildlife trafficking; if we are killed at the same rate, the human race will vanish in about 1 weekend. While the human population has been increasing at an alarming rate since a decade, 52% of the population of wildlife has experienced a reduction.
We don’t treat animals badly because they classify as our property, we classify them as our property to get a free pass to treat them badly. But we can do better; we can classify them differently- just like Darwin did. Humans are evolved animals with protected fundamental interests; living their own lives and not being hurt for somebody else’s. What are the morally relevant differences between humans and animals that make it acceptable for us to treat them in ways unimaginable for one another. Sure, they cannot have the same rights as us- right to education, vote, etc. But a body born on this Earth to breathe every day, deserves to take a breath every day.
Civilisation owes them a debt of life; one we’ll never be able to repay. There is no peace until this war ends. We can’t feel full, while they’re being starved; or warm knowing they’re enslaved in cold cages; or safe while they’re being brutalised; and certainly not free, while they stay oppressed for every time their heart takes a beat.