Every day, millions of our brother non-human animals are kept as slaves under unbearable conditions in intensive farms. Every day they are slaughtered in slaughterhouses, they are used in vivisection experiments and they are deprived of their dignity. They are humiliated and tortured in circuses or locked up in concentration camps known as bioparks for a great variety of reasons based on money making. They are also used as guinea pigs for scientific experiments that serve no purpose except that of making money for pharmaceutical companies or the various moguls of medicine.
They are used as hunting trophies for human entertainment. Entertainment sold as sport, while the only motive for participation is the depravity of thirst for blood and the subjugation of other species. Or again, there is a range of Palios or local festivals that claim innocent victims every year among non-humans, right down to the devastating spectacle of the bullfight, which use the reason of “folklore” or “tradition” as an excuse for unmentionable suffering and torture.
All of this has a name: SPECIESISM.
Speciesism leads to dangerous consequences and not only in terms of discrimination against animals. It leads to discriminating one animal from another, but also one man from another, to discriminate against a race or a people.
Humanity has had to fight epochal battles, such as the fight for abolition of slavery or for equality between sexes. These were battles that arose from the same principles.
Idealists through the ages have rebelled against the status quo established by ideologies which hypnotise people and lead them to consider it normal to overwhelm the weak. A lot of blood has been spilt in reaching a minimum goal of social equality.
Yet, the battle which will inevitably be fought in the near future is of a far greater dimension and the foretaste of what is to come is already being seen. An ever increasing number of people are becoming aware of the immense horror that is being perpetrated against our kin, our non-human brothers, and they are finding it unacceptable. Every minute of every day, millions of “people”, sentient beings like ourselves, capable of joy and suffering, are subjected to all kinds of heinous acts and torture for the pleasure of humans. A degrading, cruel enterprise of extermination, the like of which has never been seen in human history.
It is a never-ending perverse world-wide organisation, a large, planet-wide factory that incessantly generates new slaves, for the sole purpose of exploiting them, torturing them and killing them.
When this situation finally becomes clear and when the collective hypnosis loses its effect, then society will find itself facing a radical upheaval and abuse of animals will be recalled as one of the greatest abominations of all time.
Fortunately, animalism is spreading increasingly and today there are more and more people who are sensitive enough to try and help animals in various ways. Sensitivity towards animals can be felt and it no longer makes those who feel it ashamed, as was the case until a few years ago. The deeds of the numerous volunteers who have chosen this battle of civilised behaviour give some relief to the weaker level among the weak. Their valuable help, though, is not sufficient to change the situation and there is the risk that these same volunteers, genuine guardian angels of the least fortunate ones, might begin to feel powerless and demotivated in the face of a battle that seems to become more difficult day by day.
The disease has to be cured at its roots. If the mentality doesn’t change, it will never be possible to give genuine help to our different brothers, whose only fault was to be born at the wrong time and on the wrong planet. The way of thinking that allows this status quo and presents it to us as “normality” must change radically. There has to be a shift in the underlying presuppositions that support this abominable situation.
Sensitivity towards other species often leads to an attitude of groundless annoyance and illogical reactions.
The commonplaces of those who do not consider animals as our brothers places animal rights supporters in the ranks of lonely, frustrated people who have difficulty with human relationships. There are those who complain about the amount of attention paid to animals, as if this meant that it was taken away from humans.
We do not believe that someone who loves animals therefore does not love his neighbour. Quite the contrary: often someone who loves animals is much more sensitive and caring towards other individuals, compared to someone who doesn’t love animals.
Sensitivity towards living creatures, whether they be humans or animals, undeniably leads to being more attentive to the problems of others. Pity and sympathy towards the weak, the suffering and the needy should be extended to all, human or non-human animals.
What good does it do to set a scale of priority for the type of help to be given to someone who is suffering, or to set up a hierarchy of suffering? Suffering is suffering, whether it is experienced by a human or a non-human being. Unfortunately, these commonplaces lead to impeding the help, which is not then transformed into any other kind of actions.
To save the myriad of other animals left defenceless, we have to reach the hearts of the multitude of humans who treat them as slaves. It is pointless protecting a cat with all your might, when it nevertheless remains at the mercy of someone just around the corner who will give it a kicking or even kill it.
Therefore the work of safeguarding also has to be allied to an operation of sensitisation to respect for other living species. The mentality has to make a leap. Animal rights is not enough, there has to be a leap in mentality, towards antispeciesism.
Animals are sentient beings, capable of feeling joy, pain and emotions, just like humans. We are all children of Mother Earth and it cannot be tolerated that our kin are used as “things”, with no soul, treated as a “common good”, which human society may use as it wishes, rather than as our brothers, who co-habitat with us on the same planet.
It is easy to be horrified when we hear of a dog or cat being tortured, because they are the animals we know best and who arouse a form of empathy in us. But, generally speaking, we are not horrified by what so-called “productive” animals are subjected to. Yet cows, calves, lambs, pigs, chickens and rabbits are all sentient beings, obliged to live a life of unspeakable suffering, before meeting their destiny, in other words, death. It is no consolation, either, that a limited number of them (compared to the large number of animals kept in intensive farms) live a life in freedom, because they are in any case destined to die, to become food for humans.
All sentient beings, irrespective of the species they belong to, have to be included in the circle of moral consideration.
This wretched system of exploitation of other species for the benefit of a human minority can only produce an imminent catastrophe that will soon involve the human race too.
Every year 27,000 living species become extinct, meaning 74 per day or one every 20 minutes. This means that considering the other species as a “common good” in favour of the human animals will anyway lead to the destruction of the resources themselves. Devastation of the natural environment will soon create a threat to our survival. It will become an inevitable process, in the interests of all, to escape from this anthropocentric view, which is contrary to Nature, and progress towards an anti-speciesist idea, to safeguard life on the planet. Both that of humans and that of the other species.
From the book "All children of Mother Earth" by Rosalba Nattero and Giancarlo Barbadoro – Edizioni Triskel