Our society increasingly treats animals like people. There are thousands of examples all around us (besides Disney movies). There are pet portrait painters, animal funeral services, and rich prima donnas who leave millions in trust funds for their lap dogs. Just the other day I saw a commercial for cat food that boasted of having antioxidants to reduce kitty cholesterol. "Animal rights" almost seems like a moot point in such an atmosphere. We are not only being told that animals have rights, but that animals are people, too.
I understand the attachment people can feel to the family pet. It's an attachment I've experienced in my life. But I increasingly feel as though society is crossing into weird and dangerous territory, with the line between humans and animals being purposefully blurred. Movies, commercials and cartoons regularly portray animals as little people, talking, thinking and entertaining us. This imagery leaves an impact on how we as a society think about animals, especially as our growing urban culture has less and less interaction with real animals. Our thinking is being shaped, whether we know it or not.
The whole idea of "animal rights" is built upon this blurred line between animals and people. Do we even think clearly anymore about what rights are, who really has them, and where they come from? There is a lot of fuzzy thinking going on in this realm (to say nothing of the new American "right" to health care). For instance, PETA says on their website that "the capacity for suffering [is] the vital characteristic that gives a being the right to equal consideration, " and, "we believe that every creature with a will to live has a right to live free from pain and suffering."
I think most everyone would agree that "consideration" is due to animals, but is the ability to suffer really the common denominator that puts humans and animals in the same category, deserving "equal" consideration? We all have nervous systems? Is that it? Surely, there are a few other qualities to consider besides our nerve endings.
Worse, these people think a "will to live" automatically bestows the "right to live free from pain and suffering." This is nothing more than a dreamy fantasy turned into a pseudo-philosophical political platform. They dream of a pain free world, therefore everything has a right to be pain free, and everyone who does not live in their dream world full of fantasy rights is cruel and backward.
What about the lion that hunts and kills the antelope? Does the lion have the right to eat and avoid the pain and suffering that comes from hunger? Or does the antelope's right to live free from pain trump the rights of the lion? Do lions and antelope even consider such things? And if they don't, doesn't that separate them from us?
What PETA really hates is reality. Their Disney movie pseudo-philosophy, in which animals are just little people in fur coats, was dreamed up in the urban halls of academia, miles away from the real world. But even if the majority of us don't sing their lyrics we are still dancing to their tune. Most people would not throw red paint on someone wearing a fur coat, but more and more of us are eating vegan, paying thousands for pet medications, buying antioxidant cat food and giving Fluffy an expensive burial.
How long will such a society put up with trapping?
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