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SPEAKING FOR THOSE WHO CAN’T SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES

SPEAKING FOR THOSE WHO
CAN’T SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES

I Beg to Differ…Yet Again

It was one of those lazy Saturday afternoons when I knew my computer-fried brain couldn’t take another minute of web design formatting codes lest I be locked up for life. I decided to paint a living room wall instead. And I thought it all the more fun if I played the remake of Planet of the Apes on the television (though Charlton Heston and I have extremely differing values, I truly love the original film and have convinced myself it has compelled many a viewer to reconsider the rights of animals; I hoped the latter would as well).

At one point in the remake, our hero shocks the planet’s resident hosts by telling them how humans treat(ed) apes; in particular, how we’ve used and abused them for purposes of scientific research. It was a good narrative (I was pleased) until he destroyed the viewer lesson by adding (paraphrased), “If you think that’s bad… what we’ve done to each other is worse.”

Well, I beg to differ.

I know, I know, we’ve done some pretty awful things to ourselves, things too gruesomely incredulous to imagine, let alone believe. But we’ve also done those very things to animals. And continue to do them.

We’ve sacrificed humans to appease our gods, for example, sometimes offering up still-beating hearts as gifts. But we’ve also done those things to animals. In fact, we still do them. In parts of the world, tens of thousands of animals are brought to killing grounds to have their throats slit, and they are bled into rivers of blood to appease the god of choice. They are used as conduits to rid humans of their sins or evil spirits.

We’ve pitted human-against-human in deadly spectator matches, profiting from such gladiator games, and found pleasure in their spilled blood and agonized deaths. But we’ve also done those things to animals. In fact, we still do them. Cockfighting is legal in parts of the United States. Dog fighting and bear-baiting are practiced throughout the world. During Spanish fiestas, animals are cruelly beaten, tortured, set on fire while they’re still alive, dismembered, and slowly killed. And bullfighting, well, it’s just plain romanticized—despite the painfully slow deaths of its unwilling and innocent victims.

Humans have enslaved other humans—as servants and sex surrogates — separating families, selling them as commodities, and exploiting them in a myriad of unimaginable ways. It is estimated that 27 million people worldwide are still victims of the human slave trade. I’m not belittling the suffering of human slaves, by any means, but I am going to point out that, in this country alone, nearly 10 billion animals are enslaved as servants—as food and “fiber”—and snuffed out merely for the human taste preference. They are deprived of their families, of their basic needs, and used as commodities—from footballs to ice cream and back again.

The Nazis used what they deemed “sub-” human beings in scientific experiments—as gruesome as any still waged against animals in the sterilized laboratories of our nation’s research institutions. Like the victims of Nazi Germany, animals undergo experiments that shock and starve them, irradiate and poison them; we deprive, and terrorize animals in the name of science, inoculate them with deadly diseases, dismember and mutilate them—and all for things like oven cleaner. And lipstick.

We have waged atrocious wars against one another, leveled atomic weapons at each other, wiping out entire cities, families, both directly and indirectly. But we’ve also done that to animals. The weaponry we use against each other is first tested on living creatures (who, further, have no issues with our enemies)—and that includes atomic warfare (the hapless victims of the The Atomic Ark come to mind, as do the pigs who were immobilized and irradiated on the Nevada desert to test nuclear bombs).

We hunt animals into extinction, destroy their habitats, imprison and mock them for our amusement, and the list goes on in such a way I do not have the space here to list them all.

I would be willing to allow our hero in Planet of the Apes to make the claim that humans have treated—and continue to treat—both humans and animals with torturous and deadly consequences, but not that we’ve treated ourselves “worse” than we’ve treated animals, for that is simply an uneducated and misleading lie.

What does, I think, make what we do to animals worse than what we currently do to each other, are the sheer numbers of animals we exploit, torture, and kill for our own amusement and benefit, and the way we defend the atrocities we commit against them. We pass laws to allow ourselves such abuses—as if laws substitute for morals. We justify our speciesist behavior with typical racist views (“animals are less intelligent,” “animals don’t feel pain the way humans do,” and etc.). And we sanction it all under the permission of our gods.

When I finished painting my living room wall, I made an even more concerted effort to reach the public by means of my Internet work, in a personal effort to neutralize the misstatement in the Planet of the Apes remake. And I realized, as I did so, that such “setbacks” ought not to discourage us, but inspire us—to work harder, to expand our reach, to re-focus our “eyes on the prize.”

Keep fighting the good fight—and don’t let them get away with a single thing, not even an uneducated sentence.

If you liked this article Please share it!

I Beg to Differ…Yet Again

It was one of those lazy Saturday afternoons when I knew my computer-fried brain couldn’t take another minute of web design formatting codes lest I be locked up for life. I decided to paint a living room wall instead. And I thought it all the more fun if I played the remake of Planet of the Apes on the television (though Charlton Heston and I have extremely differing values, I truly love the original film and have convinced myself it has compelled many a viewer to reconsider the rights of animals; I hoped the latter would as well).

At one point in the remake, our hero shocks the planet’s resident hosts by telling them how humans treat(ed) apes; in particular, how we’ve used and abused them for purposes of scientific research. It was a good narrative (I was pleased) until he destroyed the viewer lesson by adding (paraphrased), “If you think that’s bad… what we’ve done to each other is worse.”

Well, I beg to differ.

I know, I know, we’ve done some pretty awful things to ourselves, things too gruesomely incredulous to imagine, let alone believe. But we’ve also done those very things to animals. And continue to do them.

We’ve sacrificed humans to appease our gods, for example, sometimes offering up still-beating hearts as gifts. But we’ve also done those things to animals. In fact, we still do them. In parts of the world, tens of thousands of animals are brought to killing grounds to have their throats slit, and they are bled into rivers of blood to appease the god of choice. They are used as conduits to rid humans of their sins or evil spirits.

We’ve pitted human-against-human in deadly spectator matches, profiting from such gladiator games, and found pleasure in their spilled blood and agonized deaths. But we’ve also done those things to animals. In fact, we still do them. Cockfighting is legal in parts of the United States. Dog fighting and bear-baiting are practiced throughout the world. During Spanish fiestas, animals are cruelly beaten, tortured, set on fire while they’re still alive, dismembered, and slowly killed. And bullfighting, well, it’s just plain romanticized—despite the painfully slow deaths of its unwilling and innocent victims.

Humans have enslaved other humans—as servants and sex surrogates — separating families, selling them as commodities, and exploiting them in a myriad of unimaginable ways. It is estimated that 27 million people worldwide are still victims of the human slave trade. I’m not belittling the suffering of human slaves, by any means, but I am going to point out that, in this country alone, nearly 10 billion animals are enslaved as servants—as food and “fiber”—and snuffed out merely for the human taste preference. They are deprived of their families, of their basic needs, and used as commodities—from footballs to ice cream and back again.

The Nazis used what they deemed “sub-” human beings in scientific experiments—as gruesome as any still waged against animals in the sterilized laboratories of our nation’s research institutions. Like the victims of Nazi Germany, animals undergo experiments that shock and starve them, irradiate and poison them; we deprive, and terrorize animals in the name of science, inoculate them with deadly diseases, dismember and mutilate them—and all for things like oven cleaner. And lipstick.

We have waged atrocious wars against one another, leveled atomic weapons at each other, wiping out entire cities, families, both directly and indirectly. But we’ve also done that to animals. The weaponry we use against each other is first tested on living creatures (who, further, have no issues with our enemies)—and that includes atomic warfare (the hapless victims of the The Atomic Ark come to mind, as do the pigs who were immobilized and irradiated on the Nevada desert to test nuclear bombs).

We hunt animals into extinction, destroy their habitats, imprison and mock them for our amusement, and the list goes on in such a way I do not have the space here to list them all.

I would be willing to allow our hero in Planet of the Apes to make the claim that humans have treated—and continue to treat—both humans and animals with torturous and deadly consequences, but not that we’ve treated ourselves “worse” than we’ve treated animals, for that is simply an uneducated and misleading lie.

What does, I think, make what we do to animals worse than what we currently do to each other, are the sheer numbers of animals we exploit, torture, and kill for our own amusement and benefit, and the way we defend the atrocities we commit against them. We pass laws to allow ourselves such abuses—as if laws substitute for morals. We justify our speciesist behavior with typical racist views (“animals are less intelligent,” “animals don’t feel pain the way humans do,” and etc.). And we sanction it all under the permission of our gods.

When I finished painting my living room wall, I made an even more concerted effort to reach the public by means of my Internet work, in a personal effort to neutralize the misstatement in the Planet of the Apes remake. And I realized, as I did so, that such “setbacks” ought not to discourage us, but inspire us—to work harder, to expand our reach, to re-focus our “eyes on the prize.”

Keep fighting the good fight—and don’t let them get away with a single thing, not even an uneducated sentence.

If you liked this article Please share it!