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Respect animals as they are sentient beings

Respect animals as they are sentient beings

Respect for life is a principle that everyone should meditate and above all apply. In Buddhism, animals are sentient beings subject to the same laws. Like humans engaged in samsara, they must be respected and loved.



By Maxwell G. Lee

Why should we respect animals?


We must live on something and it is often suggested that we should go down as low as possible in the food chain for our food. Vegetarians have done a share of the work and vegans and frugivorous even more. The three approaches are based on respect for life and on the opinion that animals should be treated much better by men.

Some do not consider cruel to eat animals and pretend that they are well treated during their lives. Of course, this has become absolutely wrong with the development of factory farming methods and the absence of any consideration for the natural behavior of animals. If calves are born in pens that prevent their access to their mothers, fresh air, green meadows and which are their natural habitat, or if the chickens are cooped up in intensive systems removing their chance to stretch their wings and keep their natural habits, this and many other practices are all based on the lack of consideration and respect for animals.

If such practices are not cruel, then what are they? Some argue that animals do not choose to leave their cage even door open while it is more the result of conditioning than choice. One thing is certain, that choice is not given to the animals! Modern western society has a lot of responsibility by encouraging a meat diet.

Unfortunately, some third world countries look to the West as an attractive model.

They hardly ever pay attention to the treatment of animals and effects of meat on health and the environment. The pressure of public opinion in many developing countries should be an adequate reason to stop and give up power cameo. Waste disposal is expensive and the question is closely related to the increase in meat consumption. Breeders reject waste in the sewage, streams and rivers, polluting and destroying ecosystems that existed for so long. In addition, the intensive nature of farming facilitates the spread of disease: the animals are treated with large amounts of antibiotics, growth promoters and other similar products. Of course, these are concentrated in the meat and cause disorders and diseases in humans. In addition, some of these products are found in sewage and are listed later in the chain of waters where impure water is pumped back to the man. Purification does not remove all of these residues. Modern technology has much to answer for how man treats animals. Recently, the rise of biotechnology and genetic manipulation has led to new ways of using animals to serve man, and morality seems to be little consideration when you think how species can be manipulated so that man exploits even more. If men have rights over animals, we can say that they also have responsibilities.

That means they must consider the animal's welfare and health. Unfortunately, the present situation suggests that these practices are uncommon in the vast majority of people. The only goal that interests them is to maximize the economic report of the animal.

This reign, "lower"

It is often argued that animals are different species of humans, how to treat them is not important. Of course, people who express such views could also not be too concerned with how human societies are treated. Many of us can see a relationship between the two. People who treat other humans with respect are more likely to show respect to other species. More than once, it was suggested that interest in animals should be replaced by interest in humans. People involved in animal rights are usually as concerned about human suffering. We know that animals feel pain, suffering and show distress. We can not completely understand their thought process but there is enough evidence that animals have their societies and their ways of life. Who will say that over time their rights should be lower than expected and wanted by humans? Animals are less intelligent than humans but there is also considerable variation of intelligence among men. If someone claims that the lower intelligence of many animals gives us the right to treat them as we want, without respect, then it could be argued that less intelligent men should be treated similarly. In fact some political philosophies, although very discredited, have advanced such arguments.

We are on this planet for a limited time and how we interact and use the planet will affect future generations, probably until the end of the world as we know it. We can proclaim that it is our interest to minimize the suffering and mistreatment of animals and men, and to move toward a more humane world and at peace with himself. Assuming it is a goal that most people see as desirable, it is therefore necessary to improve our conduct towards men and animals. People generally want to live healthy and vegetarian approach leads in that direction while minimizing the suffering of other animal species. The carnivorious approach is entirely based on hypocrisy. Some people use animals as pets and treat them in a special way. Other animals are often seen as harmful or as food and therefore do not warrant care and protection that pets receive. It is worth remembering that in many countries, if we treated pets the same way as animals in farms, we would be prosecuted. Many wild animals receive no legal protection and are there for hunters and anyone else to track them and treat them as they wish.

It is my belief that the world's future is intertwined with how we treat our weakest creatures and companions. Cruelty and wickedness should no longer have a place in a civilized society. Although we often claim we are civilized, I pretend that we are far from it. Today, we look at slavery with horror and have difficulty understanding how such practices could last so long and still exist in some parts of the world. As we got out of human slavery, we must look at the next step and get out from animal slavery. A vegetarian world without exploitation and cruelty to humans and animals, by morality and interest. If we do not care about us now, the future of all creatures will continue to be dark.

Septembre 2000

Maxwell G. Lee

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