The mistreatment of animals could perhaps be viewed as a necessary consequence of a humanism that has always sought to elevate the human at the expense of animals (Animal Philosophy p. xvi).
I must ask the question then, Where would humankind be today if we did not
mistreat animals? I also cannot help but reread this statement as, The mistreatment of the human-other could perhaps be viewed as a necessary consequence of a humanism that has always sought to elevate the human at the expense of the human-other. For me, the two go hand-in-hand, it’s impossible not to trace the animal question to the human question.
So, where would we be? Human interest is of course why humans mistreat animals. Industry/capitalism is at the core. The meat industry in the United States is a gross industry which barely meets proper work environment standards. It hires hundreds if not thousands of illegal immigrants (meaning they have no rights) to work in the factories, illegal immigrants whom they do not have to pay fair wages to or give sick leave to, illegal immigrants who are sometimes killed or maimed and whom have no one to take responsibility for them. The treatment of these human-others and the treatment of the non-human animal-other are inseparable. Furthermore, the meat industry alone employees over 1 million (registered) workers, for many people a job is a
job and many times though some may argue there is a choice, there is not a choice for these people, so the cycle, cycles…
The glue that keeps the soles of our shoes together, our bicycle seats, our dog food, our cat food, our cosmetic, collagen injections, vaccines, birth control, medications, shampoos, vitamins…the ”stuff” that we consume on a daily basis in some way is linked to the mistreatment of the non- human animal-other and the human-other.
Becoming “free” of these issues or being “guilt-free” about these issues opens up an entirely new space of concern…For example, I recently read about people who feed their dog a vegan/vegetarian diet…I am vehemently opposed to this practice. It is, in a way, animal abuse. In my opinion it is wrong because it biologically goes against nature. Cats for example become ill when put on a vegetarian diet…is that not animal cruelty? Causing sufferance and harm to animals because of one’s believe or way of life? This topic could easily go into the issue of petkeeping…is petkeeping ethical? How can we, and who can, decide which animals are ok to keep? Which animals to eat?
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