Humans. We are an interesting species. We really on animals for food and company, yet we treat them so poorly as if they are as disposable as a bit of garbage. We treat them like a tool; they are just there to be used until broken.
Animals are an intricate part of our everyday lives. They are found in our art, marketing, media and backyards. Imagine the abundance of animals that used to occupy the earth before we started to build and farm the land.
One of the main reasons animals are so prevalent in our media now is because they are physically disappearing from our everyday lives. In order to cherish and ensure that animals don’t leave us too soon we embed them in our media. We even label products after them such as Red Bull and Panda Cheese. They are symbols of strength and warmth.
Speciesism is essentially humans thinking they have the greater moral rights over non-human animals. This is why we have seen so much damage done to animals over the last couple of centuries.
However, now to counter the Speciesism ideology we have the introduction of veganism questioning the idea of “Enjoyment v. justification of suffering”. We use and kill animals just so we can eat them and enjoy their tasty meat. Is this really ethical?
Dairy Farmers as a brand got done for animal cruelty in 2013 for the mistreatment and malnourished of cows. The cows starved to death as the farmer couldn’t afford to pay for food for the cows. The farmer needed the money so instead of selling the cows he still used them for milk until they died. There have been many cases of this same issue all around the globe. However, Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) claim that they feed their cows and treat them well.
Additionally, Eggs used to be a luxury, now they are a common food. Hence, the demand for eggs has resulted in the mistreatment of chickens. The hens are shoved inside a shed and are forced to live on top of each other whilst they produce eggs for or enjoyment. There has been a big push to stop this cruelty by promoting free-range eggs. Free-range eggs are made by chickens that are not caged up but able to roam around a paddock. It comes back to the notion of respect. We should be respecting these animals as they respect us. This way we can all work together in this world and look after each other.
Another issue regarding animals in human society is Anthropomorphism, “the attribution of human characteristics or behaviour to a god, animal, or object.”. We tend to give animals human characteristics in order to show that animals are no so different from us and they should indeed be cared about as equal to humans. However this is problematic because it implies that the only animals worth saving and helping are ones closest to humans. When animals are portrayed in movies they are given anthropomorphic characteristics; the animals shown are those most similar to humans meaning that they have fur (note: not scales or feathers) and they can usually stand upright, e.g. chimpanzee, panda, etc. This inherently damages them because people get the wrong idea about animals and they try to approach them and something terrible happens. Take Harambe, for example, people see gorillas as friendly creatures in Tarzan but in real life they are wild and they live in their own way.
The fact is, Anthropomorphism is making animals disappear and if we don’t act now, we risk losing them forever.