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The following is an essay that I wrote several months ago because I wanted to finally detail all my thoughts and observations about Animals, their goodness, and their rights to life and freedom from suffering of all kinds. I posted it on a few other web sites as well and sent it to the NY Times and SF Chronicle as a guest editorial, but they chose not to publish it, unfortunately. So with all that said, here it is:<br><br><br><br>
I write this piece with perhaps a vain hope that it may change peoples minds. I intend to show everyone that our justifications for separating ourselves from the rest of creation are no longer sufficient. Even if a few people are enlightened, it is a foundation, a starting point for further evolution. These people can then utilize their gift of willpower to help life wherever they can. Very real personal transformation and contribution requires a feeling of selflessness, a passion, a motive that very few people can achieve. At the same time, nearly anyone can recognize the problems with our current animal exploitation system and the arguments that sustain it.<br><br>
First, Id like to clear up the issue of whether animals are capable of feeling pain or fear. They are. From the safety, comfort, and isolation of ones home, it is easier to assert that a sheep doesnt bleed red blood when its ear is punctured, that a mother cow does not lick her young, that a chimpanzee does not cherish her babies (Affection is clearly not an act based on instinct.), that a suffering animals yelp means it is not in pain.<br><br>
How do we know that animals can feel pain? All humans capable of complex thought know that they can feel pain themselves. But we cannot feel others pain, much less emotions, thoughts, and other mental and physical phenomena. We recognize that other people suffer by the physical indications that are given, such as crying, screaming, attempts to avoid the source of pain, and facial contortions. Further, physical pain can be reflected in brain scans, perspiration, dilation of pupils, blood pressure shifts, and the like. It is known that our nervous systems are what allow us to feel pain.<br><br>
I have not said anything about animals in the above paragraph, but I will now. Everything stated above holds true for animals, and one must be delusional to believe otherwise. Tell yourself that animals cannot feel pain the same way humans can and see what happens. If you are a complete fool, oblivious to reality, you wont have any second thoughts. If youre not, you will. The human course from far-off origins has many paths branching off from it. Therefore, the resulting animals nervous systems do not vary much fundamentally from our own. The fact that humans have a more developed cerebral cortex than other animals does not mean that they are more capable of physical pain, because this portion of the brain is primarily associated with thought. The portion of the brain labeled the diencephalon is considerably developed in most other animals, especially birds and mammals. This area is the main center in the brain charged with processing sensation and basic feeling and emotion.<br><br>
The evidence is indisputable: humans and other animals nervous systems are relatively analogous. Therefore, they are more or less equally capable of producing feelings of pain. A bit of study shows that humans path did not diverge from other animals before the basic characteristics of our respective nervous systems became virtually the same. Even if it is true that all animals are less capable of thought than humans, this still does not preclude the simple reality that animals are forced by their bodies, in conjunction with undesirable circumstances, to feel physical pain. That animals are not capable of descriptive speech and complex reflection does not entail that no feelings can be present in their bodies. Even if pain is not described in an established fashion, it is still there, whether experienced by animal, mentally-deficient human, or infant. And only a sociopath would wish such a horrible thing on anyone or anything.<br><br>
As disarming it may be, there was a recent genetics study that showed a certain kind of rice may have more genes than humans do. It has repeatedly been shown that humans share most, and in some cases, nearly all, their genes with everything else in the mammalian order alone. In all issues commonly encountered by the common human, ninety-nine percent of something is enough to secure a certainty of whatever is at issue. When it comes to animal-human similarities, that ninety-nine point-eight percent of the genes in any chimpanzees genome are identical to ours is not good enough. We torture these creatures in labs, deprive them of their natural habitat, and kill them, all because we want to continue our destructive lifestyle. That animals cant speak, that they dont think much, that they cant walk the way we do, that their brain-body proportion is different, that they look different, that some dont appear to experience love, simply does not make it okay to hurt, inflict pain, on them. There are people that are incapable of at least one of the above mentioned abilities and we rarely victimize them or deem them unworthy of respect or life. Furthermore, racism occurs because there are people in the world that look significantly different than us, speak a different language than us (one that we cannot understand), think differently than us, and live a different lifestyle than us here in the States. There is now a general consensus that differences such as these are not reasons to harm other people or think poorly of them. Now we have to see this about our relationship to animals, that there is no logical way out of this reality.<br><br>
There is frequently raised the notion of dominion granted to humans over all animal life by God. This naturally presents an inconsistency. Human parents tend to have dominion over their children, but very rarely do they shoot, eat, trap, otherwise exploit, and/or abuse them. People that do these things tend to be labeled as demented. In many ways, children are like animals, and animals are like children. They both need to be cared for, they both are easily excitable, they both feel no emotions of malice, greed, hate, spite, any of that. They are purely innocent. Human babies, in all ways besides their visual appearance and some internal anatomical features, are no different than the family pet or the cow whose flesh rests on the dinner table. We must see this. Humans deserve to be treated well; animals deserve to be treated well.<br><br>
A bold example of the idea of dominion comes in the hunting and trapping of wild animals. For hunters, its only a game. Their very objective (which they view as harmless) is to maim and kill. To the person behind the gun barrel, the hunted animal has no family, has no dignity in the way it lives its unobtrusive life, no value but as a means to an end. He or she may achieve momentary happiness, satisfaction, maybe exhilaration. But it comes at a terrible price. An animal has suffered and died prematurely for this. Trying to deal with people who are oblivious to the realities of death is extremely difficult. But hunters seem to be more than aware of the atrocity of perpetrated human death, unknowingly subverting their own arguments.<br><br>
With highly developed brains come the potential for great angst and a pervasive feeling that the world is not the friendly place it should be. Most Americans, after the events of September 11th, 2001 saw much more clearly than before their capacity for fear, discomfort, feelings of insecurity, confusion and, perhaps most of all, hate. They chose to take the path of revenge by taking out all of our unpleasant feelings on the living beings of an innocent country, humans and animals alike. When they saw how good it made them feel to release these pressing burdens, they craved more of this twisted satisfaction. As I write this, the destruction continues abroad in another nation comprised of people and animals just as innocent as in the first assaulted nation.<br><br>
Anyone should be willing to admit that animals can outdo us in many areas, running, jumping, flying. People say that it is acceptable to step on ants because they are so small, asking What good can an ant possibly serve? People do that because they can. But they do not tend to notice that any human being would not be much of a match for a hungry male lion, at least without a high-powered rifle or other artificial technology. Most of us may be better at reading or writing or driving a car safely but, like it or not, animals are better at many more things than us. What is important is not that we see the things we have that they dont and the things they have that we dont, but more our distinct similarities and, to be sure, they are there. The capacity to experience pain most importantly, but also the desire to continue living, affection, and similar internal anatomies top the list. And at our very deepest origin, we are completely alike. Animals are made of organic molecules, we are made of organic molecules. The Big Bang theory also affirms this. Everything on this Earth and throughout the entire Universe was together as one at one time. The great span of years between the creation of the Universe and our present time makes no difference. We were the same, we are the same.<br><br>
When will respect for all life come? Will it ever come? No one can know. But we can all know that if humanity takes this huge step soon, the end of all that we as humans loathe in life is just around the corner.<br><br>
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Very nice! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"> You certainly have a knack for writing. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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Very well put! Please post it on famousveggie.com on the message board as there are lots of people there who would love to read it!
 
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