It is obvious that we way we use and understand words is crucial. The term “pet” is one such example. There are many of us trying to avoid this word, as, though it is intended to be affectionate, we judge it to be demeaning to an animal’s dignity. Now let’s consider the word “animal”. Mike Purton, in his Question of Kinship paper, printed in our current newsletter, stresses the importance of using that word to include humans too. In this way, our kinship with other species is recognised and it is that much more difficult to defend discriminating against other species, on the grounds that they are “only animals”.
This concept is spreading far and wide. A look at internet sites, for instance, will reveal that many are thinking on the same lines.
The Hispanic association Animanaturalis is one such. They have branches in Argentina, Colombia, Chile,Peru, Uruguay, the United States and Spain. The following is an extract from their May 2005 on-line issue. It is entitled simply:
We are all animals.
There are those who are convinced that animals and the natural world exist simply for the use of the human race. These are people who exploit certain animals as cute and amusing “pets” for a time and then get rid of them quickly, at the least difficulty. There are people who engage in eliminating animals for reasons of “health and hygiene”, for sport, pleasure, entertainment – or cause them harm through negligence or cruelty. There are people who consider that the abuse of animals is a result of industrialization and, in fact, inherent in the development of capitalism, leaving the defence of their rights for a future utopian society, when the ideals of a more just and fair society will have real force.
Let’s suppose that a race “superior” to ours conquered us and used us to perform scientific experiments on our children, removing the pancreas or the thyroid gland, or injecting them with cancerous cells, to see what would result; or imagine that they ate us.
What would we say, who would listen to our screams and moans, who would pay attention to the horror that our species would suffer? Yet this is exactly what happens to the majority of animals on our planet. Millions of defenceless animals suffer and die every week in hospitals, test laboratories and slaughterhouses, here and all over the world.
Many different species of animal are hunted, poisoned, infected with cancer and subjected to experimental surgery; others are brutalised, mutilated and burned, to be finally served up on our tables.
At the dawn of the 21st. century, innocent and vulnerable animals are enslaved, caged and tormented to death.
Does this not show that our much-vaunted human progress has nothing to do with the more noble values that the human spirit and a more just and equitable society could develop?
Extract from an article by Comunicadores Solidarios, courtesy of Animanaturalis.