Humans and other Animals

Posted: February 8, 2012 in Paleo Vegan
Tags: , , , , , ,

Humans are animals.  That’s a given.  Humans keep pets.  That too is a given.

“The human being is the only animal that keeps members of other species for extended periods of time purely for enjoyment.”

 

Is this what makes us human?  Or, at least, one of the things that makes us human?  That we have compassion for other animals?

 

“I believe that a defining trait of the human species has been a connection with animals that has intensified in importance since at least the onset of stone toolmaking 2.6 million years ago. Defining traits are what makes humans human, what makes us different from all other animals, and they are partially or wholly encoded in our genes. I don’t claim that the animal connection is the only defining trait.. / ..but I do claim that our connection to animals is so deep, so old and so fundamental that you really can’t understand human evolution and nature without taking it into account.”

 

This is not a comment on veganism .. nothing here to make meat-eaters feel bad or vegans to feel ethically superior.  Its a post about evolution and who we are – or have become – as humans.

 

The bottom line on both links above is that the human empathy for animals can be dated back some 6-7 million years.  This means that our love of animals is innate, or simply one of the most human of all character traits.

 

Caring for, loving, having empathy for animals is human nature. Having sympathy for suffering is human nature.  Being soft-hearted when it comes to animals is human nature.  Considering animals as our ‘friends’ is human nature.

 

And that’s not some moral high ground, or an ethical argument .. its simple science.

 

Now, if you are one of those vegans who always feels ‘cornered’ to ‘defend’ yourself, your thinking is all wrong.  The burden of proof does not fall on veganism, but on those who contend that factory farming is ‘ok’, even ‘necessary’.  In fact, justifying such activity is a lie .. one that denies our very existence.  Why?  Because all animals feel empathy, caring and compassion:

“All tetrapod vertebrates (amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals) have brains that – despite enormous differences in outer appearance, overall size and relative size of major parts of the brain – are very similar in general organization and even in many details.  /  This means that all structures required for declarative memory [such as] emotions, motivation, guidance of voluntary actions and evaluation of actions are present in the tetrapod brain.”

 

 

This means that animals – other than the human type – feel sympathy and cruelty, joy and sorrow, fighting and fleeing, interest and curiosity, surprise and indifference, gratitude and anger, generosity and avarice, love and hate.  This means, all those things we consider ‘uniquely human’, are not.

 

So next time you feel a need to defend your diet, or otherwise get defensive about what you eat, simply dismiss the counter-point.  When people say animals ‘don’t think’, ‘don’t suffer’, ‘don’t feel’, simply point out the facts.

 

Don’t raise your voice.  Improve your argument.

 

Live Deliberately!

Yogini Valarie

 

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