- Publish in The Rising Nepal
Deepak Raj Joshi
“The animals of the world exist for their reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for white, or women created for men.” – Alice Walker
The entire Earth is considered as a family in Hindu culture, which gives a message of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, and this family not only includes humans but also animals, flora, fauna, water bodies, and pilgrims. Being a member of a family, all of us have been given a place in our Vedas to live by love, adhere to the principle of coexistence, and respect the right to a mutual life.
Respecting animals, obeying their rights is our responsibility. Animals are neither anyone’s property nor anyone’s resources.
They are not for our service, and to give them their rights, we have to understand how to deal with them.
It is our responsibility not to exploit animals. The rights are neither human nor animal. They are universal. We do not have the right to give or take their life as anyone born into this world that we live in brings with them ‘freedom’ as their birthright.
In the world in which we live there is much discrimination. So what is discrimination? Discrimination is when one thinks one is superior to others, and thus, should be respected. But when discrimination is made in favor of one species, usually the human species, over another, especially in the exploitation or mistreatment of animals by humans, it gives rise to a new type of discrimination- Speciesism.
Speciesism is an attitude that has existed in our society for a long time and is firmly anchored in our thoughts. The unequal treatment of humans and animals has a long tradition, hus considered socially normal and therefore, justified. Humans are not the only beings on this planet. We share the world with millions of other animals that have their conscience and interests. However, we try to dominate other animals and treat them as mere objects that exist for our benefit. This is due to the prejudice of speciesism. It is not far that speciesism will someday be seen in the same way as we see racism.
The term ‘speciesism’ was originally coined in the year 1970 by the British psychologist, Richard Ryder to describe the prejudice made against other species. Speciesism is a type of moral discrimination as well as others
such as racism (discrimination based on race) or sexism (discrimination based on sex), which are unfair as they exclude consideration or provide a disadvantageous consideration determined by arbitrary reasons. Racism and speciesism are two branches of the same tree.
Based on the taxonomic ranking, Science shows that biologically, humans are animals. Therefore, there is no scientific argument that supports the idea that we should consider ourselves essentially “superior” to other animals. Superiority does not even exist as such in reality. It’s just a concept invented by us.
What right do we have to treat other living things so contemptuously? Many would say that because we are superior. In reality, we are not superior, we are different. Moreover, we are truly a superior race that kills its planet, poisons its rivers, and oceans, cuts trees uncontrollably, sets forest fires for economic purposes, or exterminates other species just because they are different. Whenever you see a bird in a cage, a fish in an aquarium, or an animal tied to a chain, or if you believe that bees or frogs have fewer rights to life and freedom than a chimpanzee or man, or you think people are superior to other animals, then that means you practice and promote ‘speciesism’.
Cruelty Against Animals
Currently, it is very common to hear about acts of violence at all social levels. It is worrying to observe more and more cruelty against animals, which can be a trigger for violent behavior towards other human beings. Discrimination is an intentional act to hurt or control others, generally, it is exercised by the strongest or the one that holds a situation of power over the weakest. As we humans are also part of the animal species, human rights are, therefore, one form of animal rights.
All this happens because we give importance to other animals depending on what we want them to be and not simply for what they are. They are not food, they are not cloth, they are not for entertainment, and neither are their pets. They are important just the way they are.
As virtuous beings, humans are equipped with what is called ‘conscience’ and our conscience knows that cruelty is not justifiable. Most people who enjoy animal meat have a conscience that does not allow them to kill the animals with their own hands. That is why we pay other people to do cruel practices. Disconnecting from reality and turning a blind eye to the tragic process that happens behind the scenes, just to produce a piece of meat, eggs, or milk is wrong. We have a moral obligation to stop the abuse of other animals.
Now the choice is in our hands. Should we pursue the old habit of being unfriendly to ourselves and our planet Earth? Or, will we take a wise choice to make a constructive change, to protect ourselves, our brothers and future generations of our descendants?
Creation of God
Man is the supreme creation of God- most gracious, most merciful, most righteous. It is our duty as God’s highest creation on earth to recognize divine attributes within us and manifest it in our daily life, expand our love to our other human brothers, animals, and planet Earth. Remember, nothing happens by accident. We were created and designed for a specific purpose and it is solely up to us to realize that purpose- whether is it to kill or to save?
We are morally responsible to our Creator, and His Word has given us clear guidelines on how we should behave and not behave. An evolutionary view of humanity and morality leads to inconsistency and confusion. Sticking to your habits feels safe and comfortable, but sometimes we need to take a moment to change habits and create new habits. If you change nothing, nothing will change. Is it ethically correct to exploit and kill animals because they are not human? speciesism arbitrary discrimination is wrong.
Remember, whatever you give, you will get back! So give this world love, respect compassion, sensitivity and humanity, get happiness, prosperity, and good health.
(The author is a lecturer and IT, consultant. He also writes fiction under the name of Kapeed Joshi. He can be reached by email at [email protected].