How many animals were killed, killed or killed in the last day, last month or last year? Worldwide at least 150 billion ‘consumption’ animals on an annual basis, 1.8 million animals per day in Dutch slaughterhouses and more than 1 billion animals in recent forest fires in Australia.
Most people don’t even dizzy anymore. To be honest, it makes little sense to call them. After all, the animal remains the object of our thinking, man is the center of existence. Political and social discussions rarely or never concern fundamental questions in the human-animal relationship. What can humans use the other animal for, what does it mean that animals have self-esteem, does the animal have rights and what interests must we weigh against each other?
In 2020 people are still unreasonable, activists are desperate and animals are unreasonable. The debate about the intrinsic value of the animal, the integrity and rights of animals can finally be held. If not, let’s be honest and definitively record that animals are simply goods forever and ever. The uncivilized occupation of the earth by humans is then the realistic reality in which slavery, exploitation and destruction of animals is the prevailing standard.
However, it is good not only to remove stone historical statues from their pedestal, but to raise living man from the height and to descend within the nature of which he is and remains a part.
Farewell to anthropocentrism
We still live in the collective delusion that actions towards animals have no moral consequences. (Western) society has not come much further than criminalizing individual animal abuse and establishing what welfare rules are. Institutional, cultural, religious and scientific atrocities against animals are commonplace. You could even call it a universal cultural heritage. Slaughterhouses are the largest places where blood flows from young animals, those who love bullfighting go to Spain, to see a cock on a pole for three days there is an island to be found, we allow the knife to be cut into a prayer without anesthesia and testing white bunnies to see if batteries are toxic is no moral problem. The dull person who is alienated from living nature and only moves within the walls of a created cruel cultural world where human interests are concerned.
Where nature comes into the picture, it is there for humans. Debates about whether or not to eat meat are mainly related to the climate crisis. Even with regard to climate, environmental and nature issues, there is the pitfall of the anthropocentric paradigm. Let us tackle the crises for us, humanity, to give the children a future. The non-human animals are additional damage. The farewell to anthropocentrism is too painful for modern people. God has been declared dead in the West, alive and kicking out there, rational science has been embraced, but animals still act in our minds based on their instincts. People have freed themselves from their gods, started to behave like a new god with dominion over all the biological results of evolution. Man is seen by man himself as a supernatural creative force with « reason » and « free will. »
What do we not want to know and why not?
Animals are not machines and people are not gods – perhaps with the exception of Pele, Maradona, Cruijff and Messi – because it is certain that many other « higher » animals have an urge to explore and are eager to learn in a way that goes far beyond their instinct. The animal is a feeling, knowing and willing creature. Your human is less unique than you think. Animals other than you feel pain, experience stress and anxiety. An animal has knowledge about its environment and acts to investigate and find. The animal also has an intrinsic value.
This means that animals, irrespective of their usefulness for humans, have an self-esteem that is not automatically subordinate to human interests. This legal recognition means that the interest of the animal must be made transparent and must be weighed against other relevant interests.
Even if animals do not suffer, the question is whether everything is allowed by what humans want. It is about respect and integrity. Integrity means that the wholeness and integrity of an animal must be respected. Respect the uniqueness of the animal to prevent it from being a parts factory for the purposes of humans. And not to mention the species-specific behavior of the animal: being able to move, play, reproduce, investigate and so on. Everything animals cannot or hardly do in intensive livestock farming. It is about more than just the meat. About the entire relationship between humans and other animals.
Can it be about more than one ounce of meat?
In this first 20 years of the new century, the terms intrinsic value, integrity, species-specific behavior have shifted to the distant background and have been forgotten. Not to mention the echo of animal rights, what is that again? Health and well-being are sometimes discussed, but it is mainly about saving the planet so that people can go to amusement and nature parks in a reasonable climate in 2050 and afterwards probably eat cultured meat, 3D-printed meat or vegetable meat substitutes with the taste and bite of meat.
The debate about the self-esteem of animals, their integrity, the rights of animals and the trade-offs between interests must be conducted. Back in the west and of course the earth keeps on saving and fighting the climate crises is important, but don’t do it only for your own species. What do we miss within the social movement?
In the Netherlands there are a number of excellent animal interest organizations. Encourage animal protection and Wakker Dier that encourage people to consume more consciously. Yes, we know, animal-friendly meat does not exist, but you also do not believe in mirror fairy tales that everyone will become vegan? Only calling « Go Vegan » does not save the planet and few animals. There are many organizations that enter the field of animal suffering in many ways to bring about a change. Because there are many types of consumers and therefore many strategies are also desperately needed.
But the social movement is missing something. There is a political branch, the PvdD, but something is needed outside of it. An (inter) national organization that puts animal rights on the agenda and achieves more successes. A well-known man or woman who, with the help of many, in a professional structure and open culture, loosens the discussion from the anthropocentric old classical view. I don’t care much who jumps in the gap within the social movement. Although I hear a song in my head: Go, Go, Marianne, lead us, deliver the animals, now from the tyrants and set us free! And make us free! Perhaps a new non-parliamentary association or foundation, with an already familiar face, achieves much more than fairly repetitive discussions with positions taken within a political system.
Man, God, Darwin and Animal. In 2020 people can start again with the downing of stuck human placards that we will be ashamed of 100 years later. Life is worth everything and life is about the quality of life for people and for all other animals.
Let’s tear away a tear from all animal suffering and then decide that we will do it differently, better and above all more morally. The animal is entitled to it. It is about more than one ounce of meat or a slice of vega sausage.