Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/11/30/show-mercy-animals
So if not the status of “personhood,” then legally their status would still be “thinghood”? It’s either or, the law is legally blind to their beating hearts, active minds, feelings, etc. The law shows one face to “persons,” another face to “property.” Everyone is for animal “welfare” reforms: But animals are still property, and the property “owners” – whether scientists in a laboratory; agribusiness CEOs on the factory farm; or the management of rodeos, circuses, and zoos – have every right to do what they wish to animal bodies. The legal rationale are two-fold: any act causing animal suffering is acceptable so long as it is part of a “tradition” of animal exploitation and/or has some “rational” purpose such as making profit or “disciplining” an animal. Thus, while the burning or beating of a cat or dog is a felony crime in many states, this is so because it has no redeemable utilitarian function for society, not because it is intrinsically wrong. Where animals are property, the property rights of individual animal “owners” trump public moral concerns, such as voiced by animal advocacy groups, and many a just battle has been lost in the courts through an exploiter’s appeal to “ownership” rights over animals.–from Dr. Steven Best’s essay "Legally Blind: The Case For Granting Animals Rights
Given that our species is an anthropogenic mass extinction event, killing tens of billions of animals annually, showing mercy would be a new thing for us.
We’re stealing the homes and ending the lives of native flora and fauna worldwide.
Our beloved pet animals are treated like royalty, while all other animals are seen as mere fodder for consumption, displacement and extinction.
Specieism–the arrogant notion that we’re the only species that counts–and extreme selfishness pervades those who advocate human population and consumption growth, and who support the animal torture and animal-derived food industries. This cute video shows exactly what we do:
I appreciate Mr. Margolis noticing the barbaric suffering that non-humans go through at our hands… but no mention of perhaps stopping eating them?
Coincidentally, this appeared the other day.
Quoted approvingly by Karl Marx, the German Peasant rebel leader Thomas Munzter declared
“…all creatures have been turned into property, the fishes in the water, the birds in the air, the plants on the earth; the creatures, too, must become free…”
All Our Relations…how I treat others is how I either reweave the Web of the universe or destroy it. And by others, I mean all beings, not just the two-legged ones.
The hypocrisy of halal slaughter is staggering. It’s one thing to raise and then kill humanely. But it’s a whole 'nother ball game to allow animals to suffer just to use one ritual on them.
Indigenous peoples routinely would purify themselves before the hunt, then, after the kill, ask the animal’s forgiveness and to thank it. All parts were used, and the skull was placed facing east as it entered the spirit world.
I believe our current American passion and penchant for violence, greed, and lack of compassion and empathy is because we are eating tainted food. Tainted with poisons, tainted with fear, tainted by greed. So the energy is then transmitted to us.
I remember a chapter in Fuchsia Dunlop’s book on Chinese food where she suddenly woke up to see the cruelty to animals all around her, all the poisons and tainted water. She could no longer bring herself to eat there.
We all need to “wake up”, and fast. But we won’t, because we and All Our Relations are now the personal and private property of a very few humans.
“Killing humanely” has got to be in the top 10 list of greatest oxymorons of all time. Slaughter is slaughter no matter how you try to put lipstick on that pig. If the killing of animals for consumption is so humane, why did the US pass laws making it a felony to film. “Well, Clarice… have the lambs stopped screaming?”
I can’t think of anything humans can do that is more meaningful than showing respect, kindness, and compassion for animals.
A society that treats human life as disposable and is indifferent to human suffering is hardly going to treat animals any better, except for that small contingent who actually treat animals better than people.
Until we can show our own mercy, don’t expect that to extend to any other creature.
There are also those of us that respect all of life. And treat the whole of creation with empathy and caring.
Devoid of hierarchy with man on the top deserving special consideration.
I agree with you, but his column is, at least, a start on Common Dreams. Rarely have I seen any other columns on this website about the subject of non-human animals and their plight.
People are animals, too, Drone. And let’s stay away from “we treat animals better than we treat people.” It is frankly tiresome.
“we treat animals better than we treat people.” It is frankly tiresome.
But it has to be said and said very clearly.
I have seen some vet surgeries better equipped than some hospitals. And one reason has been the growth of the pet insurance industry which didn’t exist in my youth and now offers pets elaborate and complex treatments if the associated high premiums are paid
The increase in pet ownership has coincided with a tendency to treat pets as members of the family, thereby encouraging the purchase of higher-priced premium goods that claim to possess special benefits, formulations or specialized ingredients. As a result, industry revenue is expected to grow and that is dominated by two giant corporations, Mars and Nestle.
Sustainability is about meeting the requirement of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs and all about achieving an overall balance. 60% of Americans own a pet. The pet industry was a $66.75 billion industry in the United States in 2016. There are approximately 163 million dogs and cats in the US and having the most pet cats and dogs of any country has considerable consequences. The pet food industry is worth nearly $25 billion in the United States. Robert and Brenda Vale in their book ‘Time to Eat the Dog? The Real Guide to Sustainable Living’ suggests that a medium-size dog could have a similar footprint to a large SUV.
Producing pet food requires a lot of animal protein. Typical dog foods contain at least 20 percent protein, while cat food even more. Much of this is from animal sources, directly competing with the human food system. The impact on the environment through meat production is well-documented using more energy, land, water and with greater erosion, pesticide use, pollution. Dog and cat food is responsible for the release of methane and nitrous oxide, both greenhouse gases, equivalent to driving 13.6 million cars for a year or releasing 64 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. Cats and dogs are responsible for up to 30 percent of the environmental impact of meat consumption in the United States. Our canine and feline companions consume about 25 percent of the total calories derived from animals in the US. If all the cats and dogs in America was a country, it would rank fifth in the world in meat consumption. Americans dogs and cats consume about as many calories as the entire population of France every year, or about 19 percent as many calories as Americans themselves. Despite the fact that more than 60% of US households have pets, these furry ‘consumers’ are rarely included in projections of the environmental effect of dietary choices.
It is not just what we feed our pets but how much. Well over half the dogs and cats in the US are overweight. Many pet foods are formulated to provide nutrients in excess of current minimum recommendations are over-consumed by pets, resulting in food wastage and obesity. Pets do need good-quality food, but they don’t have to compete for the same quality of beef as their owners. Dogs would be happy with the other less-appetising cuts and can eat diets containing properly cooked grain and other plant ingredients. One genetic difference between dogs and wolves is that dogs have an increased ability to obtain nutrients from grains.
And, of course, let us not forget that what goes in must come out. Pets in the United States alone produce as much faeces in a year as 90 million humans. Cat litter has created clay-pit devastation of the land.
Nor can the harm our pets inflict on nature be over-looked. A 2013 study found that cats kill billions of animals in the US each year, and represent a major threat to wildlife. In Germany alone, cats kill at least 14 million birds a year - in addition to numerous small mammals and reptiles.
In a future socialist society, vegetarian pets such as rabbits might confer similar benefits as cats and dogs do in providing companionship yet having less damage on the environment. In today’s world, our atomised culture that is becoming more prevalent in capitalism makes pets a substitute for human interaction and relationships. Loneliness and isolation are real social problems but as socialism fosters increased community, we can perhaps foresee less reliance on dogs as man’s best friend.
That’s the same understanding as the food writer John Robbins .I thank him so much for his writings and raising the collective conciousness .
The kids must be taught in schools the cause and effect of eating meat and dairy around our world.
There’s consequences for all of us ,and conscience considers consequence.
Tell you what:
Actually, the commenter is correct, but should have qualified it by saying “pet animals.”
While it’s true that some people abuse their pets, most absolutely adore their pets, and many dog owners will tell you they love their dogs more than they love any humans.
The rise of dog parks, dog beaches, the emotional support dog scam, and dogs in restaurants, airplanes and other places is a sign of the special rights provided pets.
Dogs and cats are terrible for native animals, and neither are vegan…so tens of millions of other animals have to be sacrificed to feed them.
Americans spend an average of $70 BILLION PER YEAR on their pets!!!
For many people, pets have become a sick fetish.
I’ve seen people tongue-kissing their dogs, and have known women whose physical relationship with their dogs is almost crossing over into bestiality, if not actually and deliberately crossing over.
In the meantime, dogs, cats, monkeys, rabbits, cows, sheep, pigs, fish and many other animals are tortured and killed in the agriculture industry, in vivisection, and by hunters and fishermen.
The human relationship with animals is a top-down vertical hierarchy, just one of many signs of how we have become the ultimate apex predator, the ultimate bully and dominator, the ultimate exploiter.
Thank you for explaining the truth to the other commenter, Alan. See my comment below.
Thanks opralvr for your comment. I have heard that “tiresome” response to concerns re animal cruelty over and over again. It is a childish response to humanity’s poor behavior.
I have done volunteer work for suffering animals all my adult life. And come to some conclusions of my own. The first one being that human beings created the issues related to pet overpopulation and the over-consumption of meat and it is our responsibility to correct the problems not bully and blame the animals.
We are an arrogant species for the most part and often have tunnel vision when it comes to other species. Now that competition for resources is ramping up, this issue will come more to the fore. Overpopulation in our species should also be on the table as it is obviously what’s driving many of these other problems. Including the loss of wild animal species through habitat loss, pollution and violence from our species.
A complicated issue but one that won’t be solved by tossing the blame out of our camp.
Overpopulation in our species should also be on the table
Just what do you propose that is not already happening?
Except for some nations in Africa, the global trend is a declining fertility rate, smaller family sizes, with many countries projected to have a fall in population.
If the process is to be speeded up, then the solution is empowerment of women to choose when and how many children they can safely have, not to impose restrictions upon them.
To end population growth requires the end of poverty and the growth of prosperity.
Anyone that doubts your post, I would tell them to visit a “humane” slaughterhouse because like me they will probably never eat meat again!