Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Questioning the huge disparity between the value of a human life and of an animal life

This title stems from my thoughts about humans and non-vegetarianism. I sometimes wonder:
  1. Why do we humans value a human life more than the life of any other species?
  2. Why do we pronounce the death punishment for someone who murders another human, but not for a human who kills a horse or a tiger. Why is an animal that attacks humans killed without a second thought, but not vice versa?
  3. Have non-vegetarians seen how the meat they enjoy is prepared? Its entire lifecycle? Do they know that the animal suffers so much pain that even its soul cries? Have they seen a chicken or a goat howl relentlessly when its throat is being cut? Do they ever compare this pain to the pain they feel when a thorn pricks into their finger?
  4. Which celestial entity has given us humans the right to treat animals as property?
  5. Why are we, as a species, so protective of humans but so disregarding of animals?
  6. Are the non-vegetarians weak people? Do they want to hide away from the ugly truth about how the meat they find so delicious is prepared? The story of death behind it?
  7. Why do we kill billions of creatures of non-human species each year, but frown upon cannibalism? Does this disparity stem from some self-protecting genetic code in our DNA? What logic, what reasoning do we have to believe that it's alright (and in most cultures a symbol of celebration and joy) to kill and eat an animal, but not a human?
  8. What meaning do the daily prayers and religious activities of non-vegetarians have? Are they trying to cleanse their sins? Do they never realize that whenever they eat an animal, there's an ugly story of death behind it?
  9. Is it okay to to call a kind human kind, if he or she is a non-vegetarian? What relevance does the kindness (to humans or even to animals) of non-vegetarians have?
  10. When humans celebrate at mortuaries like KFC, do they ever think about those yellow chicks, those babies, who got slaughtered (long before they could grow up and live their lives) only to satiate the tongues of humans who chose to not care?
  11. Doesn't the meaning of the word humane smack of an arrogant self-righteousness of us humans? Shouldn't this word instead signify a negative connotation?
A few pictures to accompany the above questions:
A pig suffers excruciatingly during its slaughter as humans rejoice.

A pin can make us cry. How much pain did this tied animal feel?

Her smile shocks me. Will we ever stop farming of animals?

If nothing else, perhaps we can do some justice to the animals by acknowledging that we're the most selfish species on planet Earth...

11 comments:

  1. I'd say that there are no straight answers for this one, that is unless we begin to understand the meaning of life and it's purpose.

    Generally, three reasons are dished out for the above:
    1. These animals are brought to life for exactly the purpose of consumption by humans.
    2. The earliest humans hunted and ate animals. Why not us then?
    3. Vegetarians eat plants, which are not non-living either. So why the double standards?

    Personally, I feel that these are the glass walls that we have built around ourselves to justify the means and the ends. Perhaps we don't want to see what we know is true but are afraid to see, for it might just leave us with a guilty conscience, the conscience that we have so conveniently extricated from the moral viewpoint.

    PS: I recently attended a seminar by Maneka Gandhi and the got satisfactory answers to the above questions.
    PPS: As would have been evident, I'm a vegetarian.

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  2. @Medhavin

    Agree, there don't seem to be easy answers to these questions (especially because SO MANY people in the world fit these allegations).

    My thoughts, again in the form of questions, on the three reasons:

    1) Would it be acceptable if some humans were brought to life and nurtured only for the purpose of consumption (by other humans)? Does the fact that we arbitrarily declared that we're growing these animals for later 'use' justify that use?

    2) This point brings into question what it means to be a human (a status that stems from our intelligence) and what rights and responsibilities we have by virtue of our intelligence. Virtues such as love, friendship and kindness - we cherish these, we think these are some of the things that make us 'human'. Are we obliged to extend these to non-humans? If not, and if we eat animals just the way earliest humans did, can be continue to trumpet about being humans and about all the virtues that come with it? Crucially, the earliest humans also practiced cannibalism - should it be legalized? Should murders and other crimes be made legal, because there was no concept of justice long back?

    3) There's a crucial difference here. Pain. I recollect that plants don't have a nervous system. No suffering. Unlike the pig in the photo above whose torso is being ripped while he's fully alive and howling.

    Again, I agree with your point about glass walls as well.

    P.S. Needless to say, I'm a vegetarian too.

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  3. Update (20-May-11): I sometimes feel that our species values only intelligent life. The millions of abortions that take place worldwide each year support this feeling - we don't value the life of a fetus, because according to us, it isn't a "proper" human with feelings and thoughts.

    Sounds so similar to the attitude we have towards animals. A fetus, by our definition, is really an "animal" whose life has negligible value.

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  4. I become a great fan of this blog writer and He writes the best answers of Medhavin. We have no right to kill any animals. As if we want to kill some animal firstly we should cut our legs or arms and then feel the pain of this. We are not the God and not any right to kill animals.I salute to the blog writer and the activists as Manka Gandhi India, & other animal protecting agencies.

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  5. I am disgusted with the glee on the faces of debase bllodthirsty humans as they kill (not slaughter) the pig. How low man is in this instance!!!

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  6. This Humans Who Slaughted the poor animals is not a human.
    because they don't have the mercy...

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  7. What's cruel about it? The whole ecosystem is designed this way by the Creator of the Universe. Animals eat other animals and this keeps the system in balance. Does this mean that the Creator is a bloodthirsty cruel being because he created the Universe this way? I don't think so.
    And comparing the slaughtering of animals to slaughtering of other humans is a ridiculous argument I think:
    - You kill animals to eat them.
    - You don't kill other humans to eat them, and if u do u are a sicko cuz the human race (with some expections) isn't a cannibal race, so cannibalism is a taboo in most cultures and communities.

    The only thing I despise is the modern meat industry because it destroys harmony between us and the nature cuz animals kept in modern industrial plants aren't threated as living beings anymore and this desecrates life itself. So I think eating meat is perfectly fine as long as the animals are threated well while they are alive and not kept in some place where they can never see the sunlight, where they can't move and where they are being kept alive with antibiotics and they are all sick because the whole process is so unnatural.

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  8. @Anonymous

    Appreciate your thoughts :)

    "You don't kill other humans to eat them, and if u do u are a sicko..."

    I think this argument is flawed. We're programmed to believe that the very thought of eating humans is "sick", but is it really so? I'm not favoring eating other humans, but I don't a strong distinction between eating animals and eating humans.

    Also, I think animals are not only kept in terrible situation when they're alive, they're also (usually) killed in an extremely cruel/painful manner.

    By the way, I'm a vegetarian :)

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    Replies
    1. I don't know about you but I have seen them kill animals, if it was compared to killing humans it would be like your spine snapping. the proses of death is almost instantaneous. if a chicken dies by having it's head cut off, does it feel the pain? the chicken wouldn't feel any pain due to it's nerves being separated from the body. and if you think the pig and the cow on the blog above suffered on their way to death your looking at a very inhumane way of life. in my opinion, if the animals had food, water some space to roam, and a quick death, nothing about farming animals is inhumane nor is it an act of a desensitized man. all animals on earth get eaten no matter what you do, if you want to stop that you want to stop nature it's self

      P.S. I'm not a vegetarian and I have raised nurtured cared for and killed chickens.

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    2. @Anonymous

      I understand your point. So according to your logic, if someone slits your throat fast-enough so that your nerves get detached instantly so that you don't feel any pain, and then cuts you up, cooks you and eats you, that isn't wrong in any way, isn't it?

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