The treatment of commercially and industrially used animals, held against their will and acted upon by human beings who wield power under the banner of Biblically assigned dominion has perpetuated a society in which nearly all of us by are in fact complicit in their suffering., How? Through our habitual consumption of products that rely on animals for testing or through our engagement in activities I which animals are used for our entertainment. This is not the place debate the consumption of meat vs. Thanksgiving Tofurkey It’s believed that for some people animal protein is necessary, and when that is the case, people with conscience follow the traditions of indigenous tribes by thanking and blessing the animals who provides their sustenance. The issue here is much larger than such this.
Who among us has never taken a pharmaceutical drug for a physical condition? Is there a woman in the room who has never used mascara? Animal rights groups coined the term speciesism to identify negligence and abuse of animals bred and held captive to serve human need . However, be aware. While placing animals at the core of their mission, they have actually declared war on domestic animals, pursuing an anti-pet agenda to the point of killing animals rather than placing them in shelters for adoption into loving homes (do yourself a favor and conduct some research on this –you’ll be appalled). Many of these organizations view animals in the same clinical way as their enemies, denying them not only reason and consciousness but compassion and soul. We know differently. For this reason, the spiritually-directed animal advocates who love sharing life with our very conscious and intelligent four and two legged companions, should develop a Divinely aligned ethic of higher standards in our treatment of those companions we so love.
Where to Seek Change
Medical research: Medical experimentation uses animals ranging from mice and rats to domestic dogs. I just watched a heartbreaking video about captive beagles in a medical facility; they had never seen natural light or walked on grass. Animals are injected with chemicals, fed poisons, raised in completely unnatural conditions, wired, surgically altered, severely restricted, all in the name of science. Despite growing public protest, animal experimentation has increased in neuroscience departments and some predict new uses for animal research will continue to grow.
Product testing: Household Despite the large number of companies that have suspended animal testing, a surprising number of prominent manufacturers still retain the practice, Clorox, Unilever, Clairol, Dial, Johnson & Johnson, L’Oreal, Max Factor, Olay, Pantene, Ponds, and Arm & Hammer S.C. Johnson, makers of Pledge, Off, Glade, Raid, Windex, and Drano. Check this site for an update: What Companies are Still Testing Products on Animals?” http://www.thegoodhuman.com/
Agriculture: Factory farming routinely involves a number of practices harmful to livestock but beneficial to the consumer because they produce tastier meat: overfeeding, starvation, unnatural diet, chemical and hormonal injections, and severely restricted movement. The Facebook phenomenon has enabled faster-than-light sharing of deeply disturbing conditions in factory farms, particularly pigs. But words matter: Candace Croney identifies the industry doublespeak: such as using the term “euthanasia,…. to describe the killing of piglets by slamming their heads against facility floors or ...” The animal production industry “ has adopted the use of the term harvested) rather than murdered and dismembered.”
Wildlife tracking and domesticated animal security: In the interests of preserving wildlife, scientists routinely tag and monitor samples of species such as wolves, whales, dolphins. This involves invading the animals’ natural habitat and traumatizing the animals. Physically invasive electronic tagging permanently alters the animals. Microchipping domestic has been linked to cancers at the insertion site with fatal metastasis. There have been many reports of the microchip itself found at the core of the cancerous tumor.
Commercial breeding: Puppy mills commodify dogs and bred them until they are left ragged and near death, forcing one breeding after another. Rescue organizations receive, nurture, rehab, and hopefully adopt both the physically compromised breeding stock and the often frail puppies resulting from inbreeding and over-breeding. “Pet stores” often sell these dogs for thousands of dollars. Then there’s the designer breed industry....
Territorial displacement: An activity as seemingly harmless as choosing a place to live displaces animals because we have stolen their natural habitat. Clearing land, building roads, invading the wilderness to accommodate suburban sprawl leaves many species homeless and unable to survive. In other cases it produces feral populations that depend on human handouts. Just look at South Florida west of the turnpike: multimillion dollar gated homes in what once was The Everglades.
Entertainment: Zoos, circuses, sporting venues (paritcularly parimutuels) and theme parks such as Lion Country Safari, Sea World, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom contain animals in a manner contrary to their nature. Under the guise of species conservation or preservation, such facilities take form animals not just habitat but the natural characteristics, abilities, and behaviors that are tied to their natural habitat such as roaming and foraging for food. In their confinement and dependency on humans for living space and sustenance, they often become physically and psychologically disturbed. Recent examples are the white tiger in Metro Zoo, who, without the thick canopy of Asian jungle, developed eye cancer, and Tilikum, the orca at Sea World who aggressively drowned his trainer in 2010 and who had been involved in two previous deaths.
In spite of our best intentions to lovingly live with and care for our animals, we do participate in practices that are institutionally harmful to them. Is it easier to turn a blind eye and claim ignorance than it is to make a small change? David DeGrazia, who has researched and reported on this, is correct in labeling us complicit in their mistreatment. It’s time to rethink our choices.
For more information, see
Croney, Candace C. “Words Matter: Implications of Semantics and Imagery in Framing Animal- Welfare Issues, Journal of Veterinary Medical Education 37:1 (2010), 102.
Degrazia, David. “Animal Ethics Around the turn of the 21st Century.” Journal of Agricultural and
Environmental Ethics 11 (1999), 17.
Lisa Shaw is an animal communicator, intuitive counselor, Reiki master, writer, and teacher. Her book Illumination: Life Lessons from our Animal Companions is available as a Kindle book on Amazon.