Friday, 21 May 2010

Animals, Why Should We Care?

Hello !

I hope you are very well !!!

This blog explores eating animals, commonly known as meat. I want to talk about the issue in a slightly different way, so it is not about why we eat meat in terms of evolution or anatomy or preference, rather looking at how our behaviour towards animals relates to how we treat each other and our dominant animal position in the world.

Okay, so here we go....

We have talked a lot about victims, what makes a victim and the reasons why people victimise others.The reasons always involve a gain for the victimiser. He/she gains power, off-loads guilt, unburdens feelings of inadequacy and provides group bonding, safety, well-being for his family, friends or colleagues. The common denominator for the ennoblement of victimisation/bullying is that the person who becomes the victim has to be in some way, shape or form, weaker than the perpetrator. We explored many examples of people, or groups of people, who inherently carry weakness, vulnerability or inadequacy in my earlier blogs.......................................................................

Of course the fact that some people have negative power over others is a fact of life, a basic facet of our biological/animal motivations, but in simple terms those who exploit weakness in others do so because they are able to. A shy child, a child with some inadequacy, becomes the victim to bullies in school and bullies know instinctively which child they can bully. If they try to bully the child who is not victimisable they soon have to lay off him !!! This pattern is repeated throughout society up and down the hierarchy. If a person has relatively greater power there will be always someone who will have more power and a need to diminish him. Holding onto one`s position requires no fight where people do not take advantage, but where there is someone who needs a victim, one`s presentation, one`s perceived ability to "fight back" is either an open door to victimisation or a deterrent to it.

The moment we see someone, in the street or at work, we instantly assess whether they are powerful or not, whether they represent a threat to us and where we are in terms of animal structures in relation to them.

So let`s get onto animals... I am going to come straight out and say that we use and abuse animals simply because we can, just as we bully the vulnerable because we can. Because there is no fight back.When we take advantage of people there is always present in them a diminished capacity to respond and this is no less the case with animals. We can use our intelligence to catch, trap, shoot, kill and experiment upon animals and they do not have the capacity to organise themselves in resistance to us. This is exactly the same "where there is opportunity" , for exactly the same reasons as why we will abuse the mentally ill or the elderly, children, or any person or group we choose to.

But it`s not just killing and eating animals... Just as we experiment on animals, with the compartmental conscience enabling us to do so, we experiment upon people. The experiments carried out on our populations in modern times, not least to mention such abuses as the eugenically motivated experiments of the Nazi`s, show us that we are just as prepared to do this to humans as we are to animals, it`s all part of the same thing. The plain fact is that if animals were able to think together as a group, organise themselves, make plans for self-defence, our unchallenged power would be countered, not assumed.

Where there is momentum in the world to make oursleves more compassionate towards each other, to control with legislation our animal impulses, to try to make a more humane world, these imperatives engendered by our higher nature are compartmentalised motivations that dissuade our cruelty in one domain, yet allow it in another. We struggle with our animals selves, searching for a higher order more in accordance with our better nature, yet our intelligence is so often recruited by our animal selves to allow us escape from higher values.

There are many instances in our history where an apparent milestone is reached, whereby we strive to treat animals in a better way. In biblical times Jewish laws for slaughtering animals were directed at raising the act of killing above that of a merely barbarous act. Many Jewish dietary laws, too, arise from a desire to show respect to animals., thereby raising our spiritual level. Today such organisations as Compassion in World Farming seek to make the rearing and consumption of animals more conscience-able, so as to diminish our guilt. But we don`t advance beyond these various attempts to make spiritual progress by upgrading our treatment of animals, we don`t quite want to let go and ascend to our highest potential.

It is a sobering fact that our maltreatment of our fellow humans and our treatment of animals parallel each other. We have eaten humans in our history, we have slaughtered them, tortured them, enslaved them, just as we do animals. Just as we sink to our basest nature when we victimise our fellows, so we do in relation to animals. Treating animals humanely, rearing them in good conditions, has the same basis for guilt elevation as when we are humane to our slaves or our prisoners of war. Allowing ourselves to commit acts that bring guilt is evidenced by the very fact that we are seen to use guilt avoidance strategies. Whilst we might be the kindest most compassionate of people in terms of our care for humans, we may still eat animals and find reasons to justify it. The problem with this, though, is that we know that we are guilty. Why else compartmentalise in regard to our justifications for eating them?

Back on this topic soon...........................

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