Great essay I found:
I cannot for the life of me remember where it is this was found but all I can say is FUCKING BRILLIANT:
Bottom line: the only reason we humans capture, manipulate, harm, commoditize, and destroy animals (and plants, and all non-human life forms for that matter) is because people can. Because people have the power to do so without fear of consequences. Because our laws do not protect animals or plants or trees. Because our laws prohibiting animal cruelty are astonishingly weak. Because the punishments for animal cruelty are horribly lenient. Because a deer can’t pick up a rifle and shoot back at the hunter. Because a tree can’t grab the chainsaw away from the lumberjack and cut his arm off. Bottom line: people dominate other living things because there are no consequences in doing so.
Every other answer is merely a hollow justification. I’ve heard them all. “People are superior.” (We aren’t) “God made man dominant over all other living things.” (He didn’t — if even a God exists) “People control animals to control their population.” (No, we control them primarily for our benefit — controlling their population is an ancillary concern) “Animals and plants don’t have feelings.” (Irrelevant — a creature’s right to live free from human intervention isn’t predicated on whether it has feelings) The list of absurd justifications goes on and on. None are satisfactory.
Undoubtedly, humans owe much of their physical and intellectual evolution to controlling, dominating, and ultimately consuming other life forms. Evolution as a function of survival of the fittest — which I accept as a maxim.
However, inferential to Darwin’s theory of evolution is the notion of ethical evolution as well. That a species would one day evolve to such a point that it would create a system of laws to govern itself. That such a species would transcend “survival of the fittest” by internalizing its role as a good global citizen. That for humans, being a good global citizen means devoting our time, energy, capital, technology, and other resources to limiting human interference on other living creatures, and the resources upon which they depend.
Human beings are at such a stage in our evolutionary development. Ethics are a huge part of our social structure. We do govern ourselves. We do have a sense of right and wrong. But where we fall short is that we limit our ethics to that which is convenient to us.
Convenient ethics is not enough. Right and wrong do not recognize what is the path of least resistance. Capturing, dominating, manipulating, harming, displacing, destroying other living creatures — and the resources upon which they depend — is wrong. Period. Always has been, and always will be. But unlike humans of the past, modern-day man possesses the ethical self-awareness and the technological capability to change — to be that good global citizen. That should be our collective imperative.
I’m sure someone here will comment, “Maybe you should live in a cave.” or offer up some other absurd remark. Many will not understand or appreciate what I’ve written above. Many will react defensively, as they often do, when confronted by vegans, animal rights advocates, plant and tree advocates, etc. Many among them react dismissively, calling us “tree huggers” or “PETA-files” etc.
But regardless of what the naysayers offer, they know right from wrong. In their hearts, they know its wrong to capture, harm, manipulate, destroy, or otherwise interfere with other living things. And they know that the right thing to do would be to demand our legislators to invest in technologies aimed at mitigating human interference. That goal won’t happen today, but if we demand to start on that road, and see it through, then one day, humans will be able to call themselves good global citizens.
Eat Yer Veggies,
PS: if you see this and you wrote it or know who wrote it have them comment back so we can get some dialogue going. I really love this post.