<$BlogRSDUrl$> The Cyberactivist

Behind the scenes of the fight for the protection of animals and workers and the preservation of the environment - my experiences as a Tyson slaughterhouse hanger/killer turned activist. Exposing the evils of factory farming, by Virgil Butler. If you have arrived here looking for the Tyson stories, view the early archives. Some of them are now featured on the sidebar for easy searching.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Animals have feelings and rights 

There was a very well-written article
in the Guardian by Jeremy Rifkin entitled
"Man and Other Animals
Our fellow creatures have feelings -
so we should give them rights too"

He brings to light some important points:


Pressured by animal rights activists
and by growing public support for
the humane treatment of animals,
these companies have financed
research into, among other things,
the emotional, mental and behavioural
states of our fellow creatures. What
the researchers are finding is unsettling.
It appears that many of our fellow
creatures are more like us than we had
ever imagined. They feel pain, suffer,
experience stress, affection, excitement -
and even love.

Studies on pigs' social behaviour at
Purdue University in the US, for example,
have found that they crave affection
and are easily depressed if isolated or
denied playtime with each other. The
lack of mental and physical stimuli can
result in deterioration of health and
increased incidence of diseases.

He goes on to point out that crows can
use and make tools and a parrot can
identify more than 40 objects and
seven colours, and can add and separate
objects into categories.

Equally impressive is Koko, a gorilla who
was taught sign language, has mastered
more than 1,000 signs and understands
several thousand English words. On
human IQ tests, she scores between 70
and 95, putting her in the slow learner -
but not retarded - category.

He cites examples of displays of self-
awareness and grief. He points out that
animals at play release dopamine just
like we do, indicating that they feel
happiness and joy.

One of the best things that he refers to
is this:

Noting the striking similarities in brain
anatomy and chemistry of humans and
other animals, Steven Siviy, a behavioural
scientist at Gettysburg College in
Pennsylvania, asks a question increasingly
on the minds of other researchers: "If
you believe in evolution by natural selection,
how can you believe that feelings suddenly
appeared, out of the blue, with human beings?"

I have seen the look in a man's eyes when
he knows that he is going to die. It looks
suspiciously like the look I saw every night
at the slaughter plant in the eyes of the
helpless chickens when they looked into mine.
The man put himself into the situation willingly.
The chickens had no choice.

I, along with many others, made that choice
for them. I have since made a very different
choice. We all make this choice every day.
Not just in what we do, but also in what we
don't do. I truly believe that if you are not
part of the solution you are indeed part of
the problem.

I think we have known all along in our hearts
that animals have feelings. But, as long as we
were able to convince our brains otherwise
we would not feel guilty about the way we
treat them.

We are going to have to look deep within
ourselves to examine the truth of our barbaric
nature toward other creatures. We have to
quit defending and justifying our inexcusable
actions toward other animals.

"Dominion" over the animals is not about
dominating them or exploiting them. It is
about showing responsibility for and toward
them. It is about concern for their welfare.

It is about respecting their rights.

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