I read a remarkable opinion piece several months ago that has since had me thinking every day about relationships between human beings and animals. I encourage you to read it at the link in the previous sentence. (Be warned that it will likely make you uncomfortable.)
Regular readers may remember the first or second time I blogged about it. I’ve mentioned a time or two since then that I’d like to do my next post series on how we treat animals. I think I’m finally ready to do that. This is the introduction to that series, intended to give you the lay of the land and let you know what to expect. I will begin the series proper next Tuesday. I think there are eight installments following. There may be as many as ten.
You need to know where I’m coming from. I have identified as right of center on a great many things for most of my adult life, and animal welfare is one of them. I believe that human beings have dominion over animals. I believe it is right and proper for animals to serve our needs (and to some degree, our wants).
What are those needs and wants? I can identify three broad areas:
- We consume animals. Well, most of us do. We eat them. We also use products made from them.
- We work with animals. From the battlefield to the laboratory, animals help us get things done.
- We play with animals. Animals entertain us in many ways.
Large majorities of us are just fine with each of these bullets. I am fine with each of these bullets.
But the devil is in the details. (-5.)
Reading and reflecting on the above essay rammed a couple of things home for me:
- You don’t have to be an extreme leftist nut case to have strong, yet reasonable, convictions on animal welfare.
- There are several entities actively working to keep you as ignorant as possible on what really happens to animals in their purview, because it is in said entities’ respective financial interests to do so.
Of all species on Earth, only human beings have any deep understanding of ethics or morals. There are a few intriguing cases in the animal kingdom that hint otherwise, but for the most part, nature is neither kind nor cruel. Nature merely is. Kindness and cruelty are mentally significant for us and us alone.
It is for precisely that reason that we have a responsibility to maximize the quality of the lives of the animals serving our needs and wants. We are capable of contemplating and acting upon the concept. So we should.
I hope you’re intrigued enough to come with me on this exploration. Part I lands a week from today.