“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” -Animal Farm-George Orwell
So, let me start off with a question: Are animals equal to humans?
To answer this question, we should define ‘equal,’ which is “to be the same in quality and ability.”
We should also define ‘animal,’ which is “a living organism characterized by voluntary movement.”
So, do animals have the same qualities, and abilities as humans?
According to the proper definition of animal, humans are animals, also. So what gives humans superiority over the rest of the species?
Some might answer this with the argument that animals don’t reason, and aren’t as intelligent as we are, therefore it’s okay to treat them inhumanely.
However, it would be wrong to think that animals DON’T reason, and aren’t intellectual. Animals react emotionally to situations in the same way humans would.
If they’re too hot or too cold they seek appropriate shelter, if they’re afraid they take the fight or flight approach, if they’re happy or grieving they have a way of showing us.
How would animals, such as deer, pigs, cows, or fish, even, be able to survive if they didn’t think?
Even if it were the case that animals didn’t think, would it still be acceptable to violate their rights?
For example: There are some very seriously mentally retarded people that can’t think on the same level as an average human can. If it was okay to kill and eat animals because they couldn’t think, then it should be all right to kill and eat these seriously mentally retarded persons, right?
“There is no fundamental difference between humans and the higher mammals in their mental faculties” -Charles Darwin
What mammals did Darwin consider to be ‘higher’? Taking a look at animal cognition studies, there are many mammals that are similar to humans mentally, socially, and internally. Monkeys, for example, have a neuron system that mirrors those in humans. Chimps are able to understand emotions associated with different facial expressions, and pig hearts are similar in size and make up to those of humans, and are even, in extreme cases, the valves are used to replace defects in humans. Studies have shown that pigs, cows, and chickens have the same mental capacity as dogs (which is that of a two-four year old child). If animals are similar to us on so many levels, why are people tossing them by the bucket full into rivers? Or worse yet, why do we slaughter them for consumption every single day?
Getting into the issue of animal slaughterhouses and factory farming is another issue that I’ll get into another time.
But my point is, why do we treat animals, who have the same mental capacity as a toddler, so inhumanely?
Shouldn’t they have the same rights we do? Just because they cannot communicate themselves, doesn’t give us any right to act cruelly to those who are ‘inferior’ to us.
We should be protecting the rights of those who cannot protect it themselves..not violating them.