Animal Rights

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Related links:  Animal Rights: An Introduction

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Animal Rights:Factory Farming

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Urge Canada to End Its Shameful Seal Slaughter
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Also see: Why Animals matter: A Religious and Philosophical perspective

Think differently about sheep.com (TDAS) supports animal rights in its strictest meaning which is the abolition of all animal exploitation.

We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.
Immanuel Kant

...the deer, the horse, the great eagle, these are our brothers. The rocky crests, the juices in the meadows, the body heat of the pony and man--all belong to the same family... The White Man must treat the beasts of this land as his brothers.
Chief Seattle (c.1786-1866)

 

Why do animals rights matter. Why should we treat animals differently, with respect and with the recognition that they too have the right to life? Why is it important to review the way we think about the creatures with whom we share this world, particularly the animals which we use and abuse for food, clothing, labour and entertainment. 

The human animal is a very inconsistent creature in many ways and none more so than his attitude to his fellow creatures. Animals do appear to matter to man but sadly only certain animals, pets such as cats and dogs and to a lesser degree rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, caged birds and fish in tanks. Man's most favoured animal, at least here in the west is his dog, a creature less highly favoured and even consumed in other parts of the world. Why is a dog or a cat so well favoured as opposed to a pig, a creature of equal intelligence and in many ways more like us than your dog or cat.  In fact if handled affectionately a adult pig will become just as friendly as your pet dog who has always been with the family.

So why is one animal, the dog, a much loved pet while another animal, the pig, a much despised, abused and exploited creature? Why is one animal, the most favoured of all pets, treated with compassion, invited into our homes, fed and sheltered, cared for and much loved while the other is confined to a cage (which in reality is how most pigs spend their lives on factory farms in pens with no room to turn round) force fed with antibiotics, the sow treated as a breeding machine, her offspring slaughtered at two to four months of age as she herself will be when she has outlived her usefulness, used in experiments and as a source of spare parts.

Both animals are like us, mammals, both are intelligent sentient beings capable of feeling pain and pleasure, both are friendly social animals.  And as already mentioned pigs are very much like us in so many ways,  if this where not so they would not be used as spare parts in heart surgery procedures. So why do we love and respect our dog more than a pig?  Why is it cruel to mistreat a dog yet okay to mistreat a pig?  Both feel pain in the same way as each other as indeed do we. If its cruel to inflict pain or confine your dog in a cage where he cannot turn round and slaughter him for food, why is it not considered cruel to do so to a pig? Can you imagine what  the RSPCA would do if you treated your dog in the same way as a pig or other farm animal is treated? You would not be allowed to confine your dog in a dark shed where he would never see the light of day, in a cage where he could not turn round until he became infected and bleed from sores caused by rubbing against the bars, cried in pain and went mad due to lack of stimulation, and finally herded into a lorry taken many miles in extremes of temperature to be slaughtered quite often fully conscious. Yet this kind of treatment, and even worse, happens to pigs and other farm animals day in and day out.

Sheep, cows and poultry are also similar to dogs and cats in many ways and in the right circumstances can be as social and interactive as your cat or dog as you will see from the story below

Piggy, a pig of course, Audrey and Sybil who where lambs all became close friends, although there was a more close friendship between Audrey and Piggy. However this story concerns Audrey and Sybil. In her book , The secret life of Cows Rosamond Young tells this story of how Audrey rescues Sybil from drowning.

While in the kitchen one day I heard a very loud banging  noise at the back door; a really fierce, repeated relentless rapping. As I rushed to open the door I realised that the banging was accompanied by a strident and persistent baaing. It was Audrey knocking with her foot. When she saw me she baaed even louder and ran to the lawn, stopped, looked at me, ran towards me, calling, ran away agitated, trying  Lassie-like to make me follow.  We ran down the lawn, jumped the stream, scrambled up the back and I found myself standing on the edge of the swimming pool where Sybil was swimming round and round, totally unable to do anything but swim. I jumped straight in to rescue her, put my arms round her and realised that the dry lamb that I could carry now had a sodden fleece and was much too heavy for me to lift up the steep sides of the half full pool.

Rosamond did successfully rescue Sybil but they needed assistance so both she and Audrey cried out both together and in turn. Thanks to the actions of Sybil, Audrey was saved. Doesn't this rather remind you of many similar stories of rescues involving dogs, in the extract above the author compares Audrey's behaviour to that of Lassie.

You would not eat your dog or cat yet few people see any incongruity about eating a pig or a lamb. Yet both pigs and sheep make good pets.  In a village in Sussex where we once lived some years ago there was a lady who had a pet sheep and she interacted with this sheep in the way more conventional pet owners interact with their cat or dog. As is the case of the lamb who was rescued from abandonment in a field and thereafter raised as a pet:
Rescued sheep raised as pet
 My husband and I often feed local sheep in a nearby field who are clearly pets, “much loved” as the owner once explained. These sheep recognise you, they interact with you.

Chickens are great companions.
If only more people knew how smart and lovable they can be.

Celeste Albritton

Many people have birds as pets. What is the difference between a parrot and a turkey or chicken?  You would not dream of roasting your pet budgie would you, so why sit down at Christmas time and eat a roast turkey?  Did you know that a chicken can be just as friendly as your cat or dog if given the chance? Many people keep chickens as pets, turkeys also.

As I sit at my desk this morning, a large white rooster and two sturdy brown hens are traipsing through the grass outside my window. Watching them I agree with chicken keeper Dorothy English of Illinois who says that "People who just have lawn ornaments are really missing out."

People who know chickens would agree. Some grew up with chickens on farms, others got to know them in suburban settings. New York attorney, Barbara Monroe, had never really seen a chicken till her daughter bought a baby white leghorn rooster from a peddler. To her, "The most amazing thing about Lucie is the way he's adapted to suburban life," sitting in a car like a person or on the sofa watching TV with the family. Merry Caplan of Louisiana got a chicken by surprise one day when a neighbor brought her a fuzzy black baby bird who made a beautiful trilling sound. For a while Merry didn't know if she had a rooster or a hen. She carried "Charlie" in her pocket, tucking her into a shoe box at night where "She continued her beautiful song and chirped herself to sleep."

How did Celeste Albritton of Texas meet Cluck Cluck? "I never dreamed of having a companion chicken till one day a dog drug this chicken home. She was hurt, so Mom and I took care of her till she was well. Now she's part of our family." Celeste and Merry both got roosters for their hens. Cluck Cluck has Chick Chick and Charlie has Chuck, who Merry says, "Sits next to her while she lays her egg and announces the event with a series of cock-a-doodle- doos!"

Extract: Chicken Companions by Karen Davis, Ph.D. Please read the complete article: 
United Poultry Concerns Chicken Companions

It is possible to think lambs the cutest things ever and then go and eat a lovely lamb dinner overlooking a field of them
Jo Homer: Observations on the United Kingdom

In spring there are lamb feeding open days in farms where visitors are invited to feed the lambs, and afterwards often the same people will in all probably sit down to a meal lured by the promotional slogan of fresh local lamb in a nearby pub or cafe and think nothing of it. Children, and adults too, love animated TV shows about farm animals for instance Wallace and Grommet and the spin off Shaun the sheep yet sit down to a meal of lamb. Enter sheep or any other farm animal in the search field in Amazon or other on line book retailer and you will notice many cute books for children where the character is a sheep or cow or chicken. Animated films and cartoons such as Bugs Bunny, Donald duck and in more recent years the ever popular animated films about chickens: Chicken little and Chicken run. The later is a humorous story about a group of farm chickens who escape their coop before their owners Mr and Mrs Tweedy plan to turn them into pies because they are not making enough money from the sale of their eggs. I can well imagine that after taking the kids to a showing at the local cinema the whole family stops off at Kentucky Fried Chicken whose establishments are often close by cinemas without any qualms whatsoever as though the incongruity does not exist.

Every year at Easter time Asda sell a cute cuddly soft toy lamb while in the adjacent isle you may buy dead lamb in the form of chops, legs, stew. Yet another incongruity that few appear to notice

“Why does Sea World have a seafood restaurant?? I'm halfway through my fish burger and I realize, Oh my God....I could be eating a slow learner.”

Lynda Montgomery

Shops are crammed with toy sheep such as those below.

In one shop in the Yorkshire dales you can buy soft cuddly toys of sheep right along side decorated lamp shades made from the skins of sheep or cattle as are shoes, handbags, belts, and purses all of which are on sale here. In the dales and similar areas of intensive sheep farming you will find post cards, greetings cards, clothes with sheep designs, cute little cartoon sheep, photos of lambs and calves, all sorts of paraphernalia you can image. You can collect a whole series of ornamental  sheep of many different breeds, along with a sheep dog, a border collie, even a sheep dog feeding a baby lamb holding the  bottle in his mouth. Oh how cute! you can see it in the faces of people who admire, buy and collect these items.

Yet behind this idyllic and incongruous facade is the grim reality of much abuse exploitation and suffering. Sheep live wretched lives, many die of exposure and pneumonia in fields or worse on the hills and mountains in the north without shelter, ram lambs are slaughtered within a couple of weeks after birth, ewe lambs not needed for reproduction are taken from their mothers at four months old, sometimes after only a few weeks to provide lamb for Easter, herded into a lorry and taken to the slaughter house. Of the millions of sheep slaughtered (16 million in 2003 in the UK alone)  4 million stunned before slaughter will regain consciousness.
 

"Viva! estimates that 4 million may regain consciousness each year before they die and we have video footage showing sheep regaining consciousness as they bleed to death. If only one carotid artery is cut, sheep may not be dead after the required 20 second bleed out time and they will therefore be skinned alive." 


Viva! - Vegetarians International Voice for Animals

Concerning sheep farming of course a great inconsistency exists even concerning man's best friend the dog. Here even man exploits his most favoured companion. Border collies often also kept as pets are used as labour to round up sheep. Many may be treated well, but many are not. Entering a farm some years ago to follow a footpath we came across several very bedraggled and depressed looking border collie dogs in a wretched and filthy condition. On another occasion we came upon a collie dog who was tethered outside the gate leading to a farm on a very short leash, his only shelter against the severity of the inclement climate was a tiny lean-too not even as large as a kennel filled with a sparse amount of dirty straw, his drinking bowel was empty and equally filthy. Each time we passed by there was this dog in all weathers and any naive ideas that he was taken in at night, tied here only temporary where soon dispelled. We reported this to the  RSPCA who said that they had had other complaints but who nevertheless took no real action other than to get the owner to construct a slightly bigger "kennel" which had a corrugated roof, imagine when it is raining and when it is hot what this must be like for his unfortunate animal.  I could not understand why this dog was not allowed to roam freely during the daytime as there were no busy roads or any other problem that would necessitate him being tethered. He was a gentle creature, so timid, retreating back into his make shift kennel when approached. I persisted with my request that they take some action to improve this dog's lot but was told that he was a working dog and I got the distinct impression as such would not be considered in quite the same way as if he was someone's pet. What is the difference between a pet collie and a collie who is exploited to round up sheep, both are collies are they not. Does this not strike you as absurd, certainly inconsistent.

Hope you see here what I am getting at. Isn't it bizarre. How can we have such found feeling towards creatures we abuse and or use even those of the same species and breed. Why is it okay to treat a collie dog badly if he is used for labour, exploit him and in my opinion mistreat him, but not okay to treat a similar animal of the same breed in a neglectful manner if he is a pet ? What do you imagine would happen if your neighbour kept a collie dog in plain view outside his home in all weathers only unleashing him when his services where required. I doubt very much if there RSPCA would refuse to take action. The RSPCA are an excellent charity for the protection and welfare of animals but still they are only human and like any other human, they may fail to see such incongruities. In the above incident I got the distinct impression that the person I spoke to agreed with me on the matter, but of course was restricted by law from taking further action. The RSPCA can only act within the remit of the law. You will find that there are many antiquated laws concerning animal welfare here in the UK. It is only recently that here fox hunting has been banned, yet other types of hunting still take place. Millions of peasants are reared each year simply as targets for those warped individuals who think it is entertaining to kill another creature.

If you love animals called pets, why do you eat animals called dinner?
As seen on a shirt at veganstore.com

Why is one animal more important than another ? Why do we love our cats, dogs and our budgie in some cases as much or even more than another human being but care nothing for other animals, eating their flesh, using them as a commodity, as entertainment or labour or to conduct experiments upon ? I would imagine that many RSPCA and other members of animal rescue organisations, vets and others involved in animal welfare go home at the end of the day to eat a meal comprised of meat, possibly a pig, an animal more intelligent than most of the animals that they have tried to rescue, and will not see any incongruity. Likewise many scientists who experiment on animals, and yes here dogs are included in such cruel painful experiments, have a pet dog who they consider as sentient, a friend, a family member. Yet when it comes to their work they mistreat a similar creature and cause him extreme suffering.

I do not see why we should not be as just to an ant as to a human being.
Charles Kingsley

To my mind all animals are equal, all creatures are important, all have a right to life and to be treated with respect as thinking feeling sentient beings.

Those who wish to pet and baby wild animals "love" them.  But those who respect their natures and wish to let them live normal lives, love them more. 
Edwin Way Teale, Circle of the Seasons,

So why is animal rights important for all animals not simply those that man takes into his home as pets for reasons mostly of a selfish nature. Certainly the lot of a pet is better than that of a farm animal but often his or her life is not without difficulty. Many dogs are trapped indoors all day unable to perform natural bodily functions while owners go to work. Still others suffer rough handing from young and even older children, some may be deliberately neglected.  It's getting increasingly common to hear the term house cat in much the same way as one would say house plant. I know two people who have so called house cats, the animal is provided with a litter, his entire existence consists of confinement in the house, he is never allowed out of doors, never feels the warmth of the sun or enjoys any other activity that is natural to the behaviours of a cat, even a domesticated cat who was once allowed to freely roam. People confine their cat fearing harm coming to their so called  beloved pets such as traffic accidents, animal cruelty, or even capture for experimentation.  But consider would we do this to our children because we loved them and do not want harm to come to them, of course not.

One day, we would like an end to pet shops and the breeding of animals. [Dogs] would pursue their natural lives in the wild ... they would have full lives, not wasting at home for someone to come home in the evening and pet them and then sit there and watch TV.
Ingrid Newkirk

Why are there so many inconsistencies in our attitudes and behaviours towards our fellow creatures? The main problem is that plain and simply we do not think, few people analyse the situation. By force of habit the same atrocities towards our fellow creatures continue questioned only by the relative few, who see past cultural upbringing. Adherence to the force of habit without questioning it, let alone breaking it is the greatest impediment to change, to leaving behind barbarous behaviours which we cannot condone or allow to continue if we wish to really be described as a humane and civilised society. Indeed there are many independent thinkers, who, rather like I, began to feel unease and began to question beliefs that have been drummed into us for generations and which are promoted by the meat and dairy industry whose only motivation of course is profit, the rearing of animals for meat and other products has nothing to do with providing food to the world’s vast populations.

We need to question question question both our habits and our thinking.

Reasons to treat animals differently - more humanely

While we ourselves are the living graves of murdered beasts, how can we expect any ideal conditions on this earth?
George Bernard Shaw

Why do all animals matter without discrimination as all humans matter without discrimination? Why should we treat all animals with whom we share this world differently than we do at the present time, in a more respectful humane manner allowing them to live out the natural duration of their lives without detrimental interference? I believe that we should provide medical care and other aid to animals in much the same was as we do, or should do, with our fellow human beings, although sadly in the case of our own species this is not always so. Having the capabilities and resources, we have a moral and ethical duty to do so.

What needs to be done to improve the way we see animals and the way we behave towards them? How can we begin to treat animals better than we do now, in a more compassionate way allowing them to live out the natural extent of their lives? Why should we stop eating the flesh of other sentient beings or exploiting them in other ways for labour, entertainment and for use in experimentation? Why is it unethical? Ask yourself why you eat meat, drink milk, consume eggs.

Here I will tempt to focus on the reasons why we need to treat animals more humanly and what may be done to bring this about.

Animal rights, why?

Animals are sentient in a similar way to humans: animals fear death, like you or I they wish to live, and animals experience pain; both emotional and physical. Furthermore we should treat animals more humanely because it is ethical to do so, for instance harming animals encourages violence and cruelty towards humans also.

Lets look at these issues in turn

Sentience

People must have renounced, it seems to me, all natural intelligence to dare to advance that animals are but animated machines.... It appears to me, besides, that [such people] can never have observed with attention the character of animals, not to have distinguished among them the different voices of need, of suffering, of joy, of pain, of love, of anger, and of all their affections. It would be very strange that they should express so well what they could not feel. Voltaire, Traité sur la tolerance

Firstly and most importantly in our consideration of why we should treat animals more humanely is that animals are sentient.

So what exactly is sentience and how do we know that a creature is sentient, why does this matter and how does this effect how we think about animals and why we should think about them differently. Basically sentience means awareness, consciousness, the ability to feel pain and suffering or conversely pleasure and so on, for a full explanation of sentience and how it presents in farm animals please refer to Sentience in Farm Animals

When challenged those in favour of farming and other exploitative practices often justify such by saying that animals have no feelings and that they are not aware. We as human beings experience the world through feelings and sensations, we are aware of these feelings and perceptions, we are aware of the existence of ourselves and others. Sentience is defined as the ability to experience such sensations and perceptions. A sentient being is aware of his surroundings and is capable of both pain and pleasure. It is becoming increasingly apparent that animals have more complex and emotional lives than people have previously realised, there is now much research into the cognitive abilities of animals including farm animals, fish, crustaceans and insects. Research shows that farm animals have a whole range of emotions and a keen in intelligence far beyond that which was previously thought.

An awareness concerning farm animal sentence is becoming more recognised generally, though surely the fact that farm animals are sentient should really be a matter of observation and plain simple common sense. Anyone who has any association with farm animals most certainly know that these creatures are sentient, thinking and feeling beings. Yet despite such observations many human beings often treat animals as though they where simply things, inanimate, unfeeling, impervious to the range of emotions that we experience. Often considered nothing more than resources for our use they are often treated in much the same as way as people treat a lump of wood or a stone or other imamate object

The soul is the same in all living creatures, although the body of each is different.
Hippocrates


We need to treat animals more humanely simply because they are living beings. I and many others including scientists believe that  animals are sentient beings, they are conscious, aware of themselves, others and their environment. And this as already stated applies also to farm animals. As already mentioned most people will agree that their pet dog or cat is sentient. Consider that both a dog and a pig are mammals, if a dog is sentient it is likely a pig is also. So why do we feel its okay to eat a pig but not our dog. Pigs are so like dogs to the extent they can be house trained just like your dog.  Often you hear of a dog rescuing someone or getting help.

Well here is a story about a pig who saved a boy from drowning.

“A young pig in the UK was being taken for a walk by her caregiver. During the walk the voice of a small boy was heard screaming for help in a nearby river. Immediately the pig pulled free from her guardian, leash trailing, and dove into the river. She swam out to the boy and continued to circle him until he grabbed the leash. The boys weight dragged both him and the pig under water, and the crowd on shore gasped with horror. But sure enough a few seconds later both their heads popped above the surface as the little pig swam furiously towards shore towing the boy behind her. Exhausted, both the boy and the pig made it safely to shore where waiting onlookers wept with joy.

And to think that this little pig was slated for the slaughter house.”

Extract from Canada Earth Saver article: Farm Animals not so different
http://www.earthsave.ca/

Many people have observed that their dog or cat has different moods and that he or she may be depressed as the dog described in the section on
Animal Sentience . Pigs, like your cat or dog, have similar moods and are indeed very susceptible to depression

Pigs feel depressed, Owners concerned over mourning pig

(UK) Owners of an animal centre in Hertfordshire are worried about a mourning pig. Poddington the Peruvian Pygmy stopped eating and started picking fights with other animals after her sister died. Wendy and John Scudamore have even tried a herbal remedy similar to Prozac without success. The herbal remedy Aconite, which is similar to Prozac, has failed to make her feel better. Mrs Scudamore, who runs the centre in Kentchurch, said: “Poddington was devastated when her sister died. We left the body with her for a day so she could mourn then took it away. “But she never moved from the spot. I even put a bed in her shed and slept with her for comfort.”
Dr Nick Neave, an animal psychologist at the University of Northumbria, told the Sunday People: “It sounds like she is severely depressed. ”He says pigs are intelligent and have the same emotions as humans but cannot communicate them as well.

Extract From sentient beings org 

Please note Sentient Beings Org is now no longer available

Sheep also are similar to humans. When one of their family goes missing sheep will actively seek him or her out just as we do. Sheep bleat in distress when they cannot find a friend or when a ewe loses a lamb other members of the flock come to give comfort. The same behaviour is common in cattle and pigs. And indeed poultry, a goose who loses a partner will pine for days and become depressed just like a human being.

Animals wish to live.

We need to behave humanly to animals because they like us wish to live.

In all animals including ourselves of course the instinct for survival is strong. Abraham Lincoln once said concerning the killing of ants that the life of an ant is as precious to the ant as the life of a human being is to him or her.

Buddha said and he refers to all animals including man

All beings tremble before violence.
All fear death.
All love life.
See yourself in others.
Then whom can you hurt?
What harm can you do?

Shakyamuni Buddha– Dhammapada 129-130

Now the wisdom of this statement or others like it has nothing to do with religion so please do not be put off if you are not religiously inclined, with or without a religious context such observations are reasonable and most relevant concerning our attitude towards animals . We should treat animals with respect and not harm them in any way because they are like us, and like us they simply wish to live.

All animals fear death, if they did not they would not survive for long, all creatures fear pain and avoid contact with situations and things in their environment that bring about pain. The avoidance of both death and pain are instinctive in all animals including man. All animals feel pain, all experience the flight or fight response, a survival mechanism triggered by fear.

Our treatment of animals will someday be considered barbarous. There cannot be perfect civilisation until man realises that the rights of every living creature are as sacred as his own.
Dr David Starr Jordan

Animals feel  pain both physical and emotional

Thankfully it is recognised that animals experience pain and this is the reason that in most countries there are laws to protect animals from basic blatant cruelty. Sadly though these laws do no go far enough and often farm animals are excluded. The recent EU protocol which recognises that animals are sentient may result in some modification concerning the treatment of farm animals, improving conditions for them and treating them more humanely, however it does not go far enough. This is yet another example of our inconsistency, while this recognition is of course a good beginning, it appears incongruous that having recognised that farm animals are sentient to than continue to breed and slaughter them for food ! To my way of thinking breeding animals for slaughter is cruel, inhumane, an atrocity; there is nothing humane about causing the death of another creature, it is the ultimate act of profound cruelty to rob a creature of his existence however "humanely" this act is carried out, moreover there is no way to kill any animal without causing him pain and distress. Even if factory farming was abolished, and despite the EU protocol there is no indication of this happening, it is still cruel to confine animals, steal their eggs or the milk that is meant for their calves, determine their lives, when the will conceive and when they will die or enslave them in a life of labour for instance to round up sheep, or to provide us with entertainment such as race horses and racing dogs or for use in experiments. No the only humane treatment of animals is to allow them to live out their lives the way nature intended without detrimental interference.

It is at the very least accepted in scientific circles that all creatures man, dogs, pigs, sheep, cows, poultry, all feel pain both physical and emotional as do fish and indeed invertebrates often not equated with sentience or even the capacity to feel pain; crustaceans for example are capable of feeling pain, experience distress and fear.

Read about how animals experience stress and fear: Animal rights

We need to treat animals as we would treat each other because animals like us feel pain

“Never believe that animals suffer less than humans. Pain is the same for them that it is for us. Even worse, because they cannot help themselves.”
Dr. Louis J. Camuti

Ethics

"The person who kills for fun is announcing that, could he get away with it, he'd kill you for fun. Your...life may be of no consequence to anyone else but is invaluable to you because it's the only one you've got. Exactly the same is true of each individual deer, hare, rabbit, fox, fish, pheasant and butterfly. Humans should enjoy their own lives, not take others."
Brigid Brophy

It is my personal belief independent of any religious consideration that harming any creature brings you one step closer to harming another human being.

I recall during a discussion with a Buddhist I remarked that I did not kill even an ant and that killing any creature was one step closer to killing a human being. This statement was met with complete agreement. However one does not have to be religious to know this, it is common sense surely. Violence, killing, cruelty on any level all becomes easier the more it is practised; the more a person kills another being whether man or animal the easier it is to kill another time. To kill thousands of animals day after day becomes a callous act which breeds other callous acts. How can we expect a peaceful harmonious world while we kill other creatures who have as much right as do we to their lives.

Killing taints the soul for want of a better word. This is not a religious discussion or consideration for indeed many religions advocate the killing and eating of other creatures, no this is an animal rights issue, a matter of conscience which is independent of religious belief or otherwise, a simple matter of right and wrong which in my opinion is not dependent on religious belief. I am agnostic so this is not a religious issue for me although many religious ideas may be relevant as mentioned earlier. The word soul is used here for want of a more appropriate word, we could say instead the killing of thousands of creatures everyday causes psychological damage for a less religious connotation. The point is violence breeds violence it taints you as a person. I can't image associating with anyone who quite readily day after day works in a slaughter house, sees the innocent face of a tiny timid lamb for example and goes on to take his or her life with out a tinge of guilt or regret and with callus disregard.

Animals should be treated differently than they are at present, treated with humanity and compassion as one would treat another human being because it is ethical to do so.

There cannot be peace in this world as long as we exploit animals. To reiterate, killing a non human animal is one step closer to killing a human being.

"Love of animals is a universal impulse, a common ground on which all of us may meet. By loving and understanding animals, perhaps we humans shall come to understand each other."
Louis J. Camuti, D.V.M.

Know that violence is the root cause of
all miseries in the world.
Violence, in fact, is the knot of bondage.
"Do not injure any living being."

Jain Prayer

"I could not have slept tonight if I had left that helpless little creature to perish on the ground." (Reply to friends who chided him for delaying them by stopping to return a fledgling to its nest.)
Abraham Lincoln.

Until we have the courage to recognize cruelty for what it is - whether its victim is human or animal - we cannot expect things to be much better in this world... We cannot have peace among men whose hearts delight in killing any living creature. By every act that glorifies or even tolerates such moronic delight in killing we set back the progress of humanity.
Rachel Carson


How can we bring about a more humane treatment of animals.

Here I will focus on farm animals, in time in a separate article I will discuss the plight of other types of animal abuse such as animals used for labour and entertainment and experimentation.

Concerning farm animals, we need to examine our behaviours and our thinking, we need to think differently about creatures we have designated as sources of food, food which we no longer need and which causes the destruction of the rain forest and contributes to world hunger all to provide the richer countries with meat. We need to examine the idyllic imagine that many people have of farms and to see the reality.

Again question, question, question, educate yourself, find out how the food you eat at arrives on your table

For information on the atrocities of factory farming and animal slaughter please go to Animal Rights, where you will also find external links to other informative websites.

Ask yourself can a so called civilised country condone such cruelty to sentience beings, creatures who experience pain and fear.

All creature know when the are going to die.

Please read this account, it is horrifying, shocking; but if you eat meat you should know the extent of the suffering involved for these sentient, sensitive and intelligent creatures:

"What’s that noise?” asked John, the high-screech pitch too unimaginable to ignore. We were on the offside of a slaughter plant wall. He cupped his hands over his ears to give himself an impossible reprieve.

Pigs!” I yelled back.

I could tell he didn’t understand. I hadn’t understood the first time I’d heard them, either.

We climbed on lidded barrels to peer over the wall: in every direction, as far as the eye could see, there were pigs: pigs on top of pigs, crammed into cross-fenced pens by the thousands, like dead sardines in tin cans. The odor they emitted was almost unbearable, of feces and urine; from the dark-walled interior building, the pungent stench of blood invaded our nostrils.

And the pigs were screaming—bloody murder...

...“In a moment,” I explained, “they’ll kill a pig.” I pointed to where the warehouse opened like the hull of a giant ship. “When the pig screams, it will send a shock wave through the pigs out here; they’ll all scream.”

Right on cue, from the depth of the building’s interior, a screaming pig could be heard and I could see the animal, the way I once had: pushed onto a moving conveyor belt that would take it to the stunning tongs. Once there, the plant man would grab the pig’s head in the giant vice the way one would lift lettuce from a salad bowl. A painful current of electricity would surge through the animal’s body, stunning it just enough — or so it is hoped — to render it unconscious before the pig reaches the throat-cutting blade.."

Extract from In the Leaving by Laura Moretti

To finish reading the rest of this story
The Animals Voice: Laura Moretti   Found at  The Animals Voice: Home

You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity.
Ralph Waldo Emerson


Ask yourself why you eat meat, drink milk, and consume eggs.

There are many reasons why people consume meat and other animal products.

Many people will argue that eating meat is natural and that we  ourselves are an animal and therefore like any other animal we consume meat; this notion is a fallacy, I will discuss this issue in more detail later. Despite evidence that eating meat is not healthy the erroneous belief persists that without meat it is not possible to be adequately nourished, yet another misconception. Many people eat meat because of religious belief that God created animals for us to eat. Many people simply eat meat or consume dairy products and eggs because they have always done so simply without thinking from force of habit. The consumption of animals foods often continues because of ignorance concerning how animals are treated.

Lets look more closely at some of these reasons why people eat animal products

As already stated we consume animal products from a force of habit and because the notion that it is healthy to do so has become so entrenched in our thinking that we do not question it despite more information to the contrary.

Consider for instance why we drink milk, after weaning all mammals stop drinking milk, that is with the exception of human beings who continue to drink milk and moreover the milk of another species. How many other animals except the cat whom we give milk, drinks the milk of another species or drinks any kind of milk after weaning. Is it unnatural? Of course it is. Milk is meant to feed a baby animal until he or she is able to take solids. The milk of each animal has evolved to meet the needs of that particular creature. Cows milk for instance is meant to support the growth of a large muscular creature not a relatively weak, and in comparison to cattle, frail animal, man. No wonder obesity flourishes in the west, overweight is not the problem in Asian countries where dairy products are not part of the diet.

The world's entire population could be adequately fed on vegetables. But we are told that meat, milk and eggs are essential to our diet, that we would be nutritionally deficit without them. One mother I know of who is vegetarian but nevertheless due to cultural upbringing she continues to include milk and meat in her children’s diets. She believes that meat, eggs and milk are essential to maintain health in growing children, so despite her concerns about animals, still trapped in the erroneous belief that her children will be nutritionally deficient, she feeds them meat. She says if she feeds them a vegan diet they have had no choice. Surely she can see that the same applies to a meat diet, yet somehow she does not question this notion, never recognising the fallacy never mind the inconsistency in such a concept. There are many like her. Question the facts and you will see that far from anyone being nutritionally deficient, a vegan diet will in fact prove more nutritional and healthy. Recently an insurance provider offered discounts on life insurance to vegans.

They eat a diet high in wild hunted meats and have the worst life expectancy in the modern world. Life expectancy is 45 years for women and 42 years for men. African researchers report that historically Maasai rarely lived beyond age 60. Adult mortality figures on the Kenyan Maasai show that they have a 50% chance of dying before the age of 59.2
Joel Fuhrman MD Reffering to the high meat-consuming Maasa in Kenya.

We are told that man is an omnivore. I learnt this in "o" level biology and believed it! but consider, do we really have the anatomy of an omnivore, moreover an omnivore whose diet is predominately carnivorous, do we have sharp teeth or claws to shred meat. A carnivore such as a lion has sharp claws and teeth to shred meat and she is equipped with such to catch and kill her own meat and needs no tool or implement to do so such as a gun or spear. Could you tear meat with your smooth even teeth, raw meat that is ? Could you kill an animal with your bear hands and shred his flesh to eat ? No of course not because evolution did not design our bodies to be either carnivores or omnivores. Consider can you eat meat without cooking it? Most certainly not. If it was natural for us to eat meat would we need to cook it first? Man is the only animal who cooks his meat. We have not evolved to eat meat. After all we evolved from herbivores did we not, more about this further down, it is difficult to imagine that evolution would have developed our organism from that of an herbivore towards that of a carnivore.

Such obvious facts, at least in retrospect, are rarely considered, yet Plutarch the first centaury Greek historian, biographer and essayist commenting on the argument that the eating of meat was not natural wrote: 

...its is absurd for them to say that the practice of flesh eating is based on nature. For that man is not naturally carnivorous is, in the first place, obvious from the structure of his body. A man's frame is in no way similar to those creatures who were made for flesh eating: he has no hooked beak or sharp nails or jagged teeth, no strong stomach or warmth of vital fluids able to digest and assimilate a heavy diet of flesh. It is from this very fact, the evenness of our teeth, the smallness of our mouths, the softness of our tongues, our possession of vital fluids too inert to digest meat that Nature disavows our eating of flesh. If you declare that you are naturally designed for such a diet, than first kill for yourself what you want to eat. Do it, however, only though your own resources, unaided by cleaver or cudgel of any kind or axe. Rather just as wolves and bears and lions themselves slay what they want to eat, so you are to fell an ox with your fangs or a boar with your jaws, or tear a lamb or hare to bits. Fall upon it, and eat it still living as animals do. But if you wait for what you eat to be dead, if you have qualms about enjoying the flesh while life is still present, why do you continue, contrary to nature, to eat what possesses life? Even when it is lifeless and dead, however, no one eats the flesh just as it is ; men boil it and roast it, altering it by fire and drugs, recasting and diverting and smothering with countless condiments the taste of gore so that the palate may be deceived and accept what is foreign to it.

The extract above from Plutarch's essay On the Eating of Flesh was quoted in: Ethical Vegetarianism From Pythagoras to Peter Singer, Edited by Kerry. S Walker and Lisa Portmess.

So why did humans go from a herbivorous diet to an omnivorous diet, the main component of which is carnivorous, the consumption of meat?

One theory which we may consider is that humans began to eat meat not through any natural impulse but because of a necessity. Famines may well have been responsible for man becoming omnivorous, which for example may well have been responsible for the varied diet of the Chinese. At periods throughout the history of China, including the 1950s, millions died of starvation. Trees where stripped bare of leaves and not a blade of grass could be seen so severe was the shortage of food. From sheer necessity some of the varied, and to our concept, unusual food consumed in China may well have been introduced this way, such as tiny birds similar to those you see in your garden, insects, including caterpillars and grasshoppers, and even dogs. I consider that scarcity of food was perhaps the most likely reason man went from an herbivore to an omnivore and in Palaeolithic times most likely during the winter months man became entirely carnivorous perhaps eating meat due to the absence of anything else. It is now widely accepted that man evolved in Africa and migrated to other regions. During the winter in cooler climes before man took up cultivation and farming there would not have been the vegetation to sustain them.

Another theory as to why man changed his natural diet may simply be from choice, observing that other creatures consumed meat man may have thought to do likewise much like we today introduce new foods into our diet. Here in the UK in the last few decades our eating habits have changed due to cultural influences particularly from India and other places from where there has been a significant number of immigrants.

Now this time has passed, and man is able to provide enough plant based food to feed the entire world and the need to eat meat is no longer necessary, and it is a fact that doing so now actually results in other humans starving to death. Again it is all a matter of thinking differently and considering that in basic terms many people simply consume animal products from an habit of extremely long standing, one most likely only undertaken in the very distant past to stop starvation but which now helps to cause it.

Moreover the erroneous concept that man is a natural meat eater may well have become entrenched in our culture as a result of religious influences. Generally accepted in the theory of evolution is the concept of man the hunter, yet this idea may well have arisen from Judeo-Christian beliefs.

"It developed from a basic  ideology of man being inherently evil, aggressive and a natural killer. In fact, when you really examine the fossil and living non-human primate evidence, that is just not the case."

Robert W. Sussman, Ph.D Quoted in  the article
'Man the Hunter' theory is debunked in new book

You wouldn't know it by current world events, but humans actually evolved to be peaceful, cooperative and social animals.
In his latest book, an anthropologist at Washington University in St. Louis goes against the prevailing view and argues that primates, including early humans, evolved not as hunters but as prey of many predators, including wild dogs and cats, hyenas, eagles and crocodiles...

It was not possible for early humans to consume a large amount of meat until fire was controlled and cooking was possible. Sussman points out that the first tools didn't appear until two million years ago. And there wasn't good evidence of fire until after 800,000 years ago. "In fact, some archaeologists and palaeontologists don't think we had a modern, systematic method of hunting until as recently as 60,000 years ago," he says.
 
The above is an extract from the aforementioned article by Neil Schoenherr and is an informative review of the book 'Man the Hunter' by
Robert W. Sussman and Donna L. Hart well worth reading.

It is often argued that other primates eat meat. But consider the diet of a chimpanzee which is about 95-99 percent vegetables. No, the other small non vegetable percentage is not meat, its termites. Yes a termite is an animal and I am not implying that termites are not animals, or that they are not sentient or intelligent. I am simply saying that a termite is not meat in quite the same way as a pig or a sheep and cannot therefore constitute an omnivorous diet in itself.

Primates are intelligent creatures able to make choices much as we are and the addition of termites in their diet rather like the addition of meat in ours may simply have been included from necessity of food shortage or simply choice, but is not necessarily natural.  It is in any case a great leap to say that because chimpanzees eat termites that they are omnivorous.

The issue relating to why man is not naturally omnivorous is a huge subject and requires an article of its own. It seems rather superfluous for me to write more on this matter as you can read an excellent in-depth article about this subject. Here is an extract from the  article: Eating meat isn't natural Why humans are primarily plant-eaters by design by Michael Bluejay.

Concerning the arguments that are often presented to justify the consumption of meat as a natural food source for man:

"A fair look at the evidence shows that humans are optimized for eating plant foods, and not meat.
Consider:

  • Human anatomy: We're most similar to other herbivores, and drastically different from carnivores.

  • Longevity & health: The more meat we eat, the sicker we get. Meat is poison to us. It's the primary reason we get heart disease, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, and every other major degenerative disease. If eating meat were natural, it wouldn't destroy our health.

  • Physical performance: People have much better endurance when they don't eat meat -- whether they're professional athletes or not.

We'll look at these in more detail later, but for now here's a preview:

  • Our early ancestors from at least four million years ago were almost exclusively vegetarian.

  • The animals most similar to us, the other primates, eat an almost exclusively vegetarian diet (and their main non-plant food often isn't meat, it's termites).

  • Our teeth, saliva, stomach acid, and intestines are most similar to other plant-eaters, and dissimilar to carnivores.

  • Plant-eaters have the longest lifespans, and humans are in that category (and yes, this was true even before modern medicine).

  • We sleep about the same amount of time as other herbivores, and less than carnivores and true omnivores.

  • The most common cause of choking deaths is eating meat. Real carnivores and omnivores don't have that problem."

Please read the complete article it will change your thinking about the common misconception concerning our assumed need to eat meat.

Eating meat isn't natural -- in-depth article

Also read :Veg.ca - Were early humans vegetarian?

Consider whenever you are advised about healthy eating that much of the dietary advice is published by those with an interest other than your health, this interest of course is mostly profit. Recall the advertising in the sixties, if you are the appropriate age you may recall here in the UK the slogan "Go to walk on an Egg" the implication that eggs are healthy. And also the promotion of milk and the advice to drink a pint a day. Can't imagine such an advertising campaign now can you with the connection between high cholesterol and eggs. But still the notion that diary and meat are important to an healthy diet continues, its has become so entrenched in our culture that still the majority never question it, particularly here in the Northeast UK, where still many people use lard to cook their meals and where obesity is the highest in the country.

Also consider that even if we had evolved to become omnivorous this does not mean we have to continue to be so nor does it give us license to factory farm sentient beings. People live healthy lives without eating meat. The promotion of health and its dependence up eating meat and other animal products is the most tired excuse of them all that people present to justify including meat in their diet and one that really is no longer valid as all the proteins, minerals and other nutrients are so easily available in a variety of alternative food.

For more information about a vegetarian or vegan diet :
Think Differently go Vegi/Vegan

It is mostly only people in the west and other affluent countries who consume meat, the production of which is not only at the expense of the lives of other creatures  but also at the expense of other people in poorer countries. Read the thought provoking article: Meat = Death The insanity of the 'traditional' diet

Meat = Death

Ignorance is one of the root causes that perpetuate the inhumane treatment of Animals:  Educate yourself

The indifference, callousness and contempt that so many people exhibit toward animals is evil first because it results in great suffering in animals, and second because it results in an incalculably great impoverishment of the human spirit. All education should be directed toward the refinement of the individual's sensibilities in relation not only to one's fellow humans everywhere, but to all things whatsoever.
Ashley Montague

One reason why the inhumane treatment of animals is allowed to continue is ignorance. Although less prevalent today it is in my opinion a major factor in the continuance of such abuse. As a child in the fifties and sixties I was taught by my parents and also in school that cows needed to be milked otherwise they would suffer pain. I did not question this of course and neither, or so it seems, did my parents whom I am sure where not promoting the dairy industry. No indeed not, their information came from ignorance. As amazing as it now seems it was not until my mid thirties that I realised of course the absurdity of this explanation. The same circumstance exist concerning the erroneous idea that sheep need us to shear them and my sister in her forties had not questioned this fallacy. Yes indeed sheep now mostly need to be sheared to remove their wool, but this is not a natural occurrence in the evolution of sheep but rather the result of selective breeding as indeed is the existence of woolly sheep: before man's intervention sheep had mostly hair or kemp intermixed with wool.

Failure to question general absence of cattle in fields, the odd proportion or rams to ewes, bulls to cows. Rarely do you see pigs in fields or chickens or turkeys. Yet many people are genuinely surprised when they learn that pigs are confined in tiny pens throughout their short wretched lives, as are most cows, chickens, turkeys and other poultry. And there is a growing trend in many parts of the world to confine sheep in a similar manner. Refer to  Animal rights

Educate yourself concerning the attitude of the factory farming industry which has led to shocking abuse and cruelty, cruelty far beyond that which many people would imagine, not only here in the UK and in similar western countries but throughout the entire world. The industry does not consider these animals as sentient feeling beings who experience pain both emotional and physical.

Here are statements made by those in the factory farming industry made about animals:

Forget the pig is an animal. Treat him just like a machine in a factory. Schedule treatments like you would lubrication. Breeding season like the first step in an assembly line. And marketing like the delivery of finished goods.

J. Byrnes, “Raising Pigs by the Calendar at Maplewood Farm,” Hog Farm Management, 1976

pigs
The breeding sow should be thought of, and treated as, a valuable piece of machinery whose function is to pump out baby pigs like a sausage machine.”

L. J. Taylor, export development manager for the Wall’s Meat Company, Ltd., National Hog Farmer, 1978

Poultry

“At higher egg prices, crowding always resulted in greater profits.”
— Robert Brown, “Toe-Clipping May Help Hens Improve Returns in Crowded Cages,” Feedstuffs, 1985

Sheep

“Sheep farming, like most agriculture, has become agribusiness and not just a way of life. We must be concerned with the amount and quality of the saleable product produced from our basic production units. In sheep farming, the basic production units are the ewes. . . . We don’t need large beautiful fat happy ewes that only produce one lamb a year. We need ewes that will provide us an adequate gross income to cover all our costs and then some.”
— D. E. Hogue, Animal Scientist

Cattle

“I believe it’s completely feasible to specifically design an animal for hamburger.”
— Bob Rust, Iowa State University meat specialist, quoted in “Hamburger Cattle,” Successful Farming, 1977

Quotations are from SentientBeings.org - Industry's Attitude.

One of the most ludicrous objections is the argument when considering animal sentience, which in turn leads to the consideration of animal rights, is that animals are all alike. Despite the fact that this is most certainly not true - similar statements when applied to humans is considered racism, and this argument has been used also to justify the suppression of humans - this kind of reasoning to my mind is utterly irrelevant. Even if animals or a race of humans where all alike what is the relevance to sentience or animal rights?

The argument that a group of individuals is ‘all alike’ has been used throughout human history as a justification for the oppression of that group. If all the individuals are alike, then they become impersonal and killing them seems less wrong or horrendous. Chickens, whether intelligent or stupid, individual or identical, are sentient beings. They feel pain and experience fear. This, in itself, is enough to make it wrong to cause them pain and suffering. 
Jennifer Raymond

Another argument that is often presented when the rights of animals are considered is connected with the religious concept of a soul. Religions including the Abrahamic religions, Christianity, Judaism and Islam generally but not exclusively believe that animals have no souls.

Eastern religions however have a different concept of animals as beings with souls who may progress throughout many incarnations to be born as humans and that humans where once animals. For example Hindus believe in reincarnation, with animals being part of the progression of the soul. Often followers will not step on an insect in fear of harming the reincarnation of a potential human. Many native American and other tribal people also believe that animals possess spirits.

The following quotations are extracts from Animal rights activist Edward Byron Nicholson's essay The Rights of an Animal: A New Essay In Ethics

Edward Byron Nicholson born 1849 was an English scholar and librarian,  in 1873 he became librarian of the London Institution.  He published commentaries on the Gospel according to the Hebrews (1879) and St. Matthew (1881) and papers on philology.

In the extracts below he addresses two common objections which are often put forward in the consideration of animal rights.

Animal-Reason


The time which they have for living and learning is but short: wild, their life is in some cases all fear and struggle; tame, they are under the rule of one who is often a bad master and seldom a good schoolmaster—man. Even thus we are driven to see in them, despite our contempt, and to acknowledge in them, despite our pride, numberless proofs of the same mental and moral faculties to which we ourselves lay claim often (though not always) different in degree, but not so in kind. Nay, if we are pressed we must admit that many animals are wiser and better than many men and some entire races, of men. And, since we cannot put down these faculties to instinct, ought we not rather to admire and cultivate than disparage and slight the animal-mind ? can we do less than forbear henceforth to bring forward the supposed defects of that mind as a ground for refusing to the animal what would otherwise be its rights as a feeling creature?

The Animal-Soul

The other common objection to allowing animals rights is that they 'have no soul,'…This objection [is no more to the point than the former [that they have no reason]. For put it thus—Animals will have no after life : that is a reason why they should be denied what would otherwise be their rights in the present one'—and its absurdity is plain. Nay, if animals have no chance of happiness in another life we should be the more careful to ensure their happiness in this.…But were the objection ever so much to the point it would still be a bad one. For in the first place it is not capable of proof and therefor cannot be used to bar a natural right. And in the second place, we allow souls to men, I cannot see how we are to deny them to animals.
Edward Nicholson, The Rights of an Animal

animalrightshistory.org/animal-rights-c1837-1901/victorian-n/nic-edward-byron-nicholson/1879-rights-of-an-animal/c05-animal-soul.htm

Visit the home page of the above website for a wealth of information concerning the history of animal rights.  Here you will find links to Primary Source Historical Literature which provides a more in-depth insight into the ideologies of humanity against cruelty to animals and additional historical perspective on the continuing struggle for animal rights, animal welfare and protection of animals.

Whether or not animals including man have a soul is irrelevant, animals including ourselves suffer in the here and now and as the above quote suggests, if animals do not have souls then that is more reason to treat animals more humanely and to allow them the enjoyment of whatever life they have.

Even amongst the religions that do not believe that animals have souls most of these religions advocate that animals should be treated humanely. I cannot imagine that the teaching of any religion that believes in a compassionate deity could possibly condone factory farming and the general mistreatment of animals that prevails the world over. I think that it is unreasonable to use the excuse, most prevalent amongst Christians, that God created animals for our use in order to justify factory farming. I rather doubt that those who belong to religions that believe that animals are here for our benefit can honestly think this gives mankind the license to mistreat animals in factory farms, or to hunt them for sport, or use them for  experimentation or for entertainment. All of these religions teach against animal cruelty

For example Judaism

"Although it is not well known, Judaism has very powerful teachings about the proper treatment of animals. If Jews took these teachings seriously, they would be among the strongest protesters of many current practices related to animals."

Judaism and Animal Rights

Surely the methods used in factory farming, and the experimentation upon animals for example, constitutes dreadful cruelty and therefore cannot be condoned by any religion that teaches against cruelty to animals.

Moreover members of the Abrahamic religions for the most part if asked the question do animals have souls will reply in the affirmative. Furthermore according to my understanding there are no references in any of the literature of these faiths that states in so many words that animals do not have souls.

Jainism is probably the only religion to consistently teach against harming any creature including the tiniest of insects, you will find references admonishing against cruelty to animals in many ancient and modern religions including, Buddhism and Hinduism. Many of these religions adhere to a vegetarian or vegan diet even some sects of the Abrahamic religions.  For example St Francis was a vegetarian and in times passed Christian monks mostly adhered to a vegetarian diet.

Here is a selection of links to vegetarian associations established and supported by members of the Abrahamic religions:

Vegetarian News - Islamic vegetarians

Judaism and Vegetarianism

Christian Vegetarian Association

Also of interest

The only diet for a peacemaker is a vegetarian diet

I do not wish to go too deeply into the religious view of animal rights here or comment further on the issue of animal souls as in due course I hope to include an in-depth article on this subject. Personally I do not know if man or other animals have a soul. I rather think that if man does have a soul then so do animals, conversely if animals do not have souls then neither does man, for man is an animal like any other. Moreover what is a soul? Is a soul the same as a spirit, the mind, or is this a concept that has come into being that actually refers to sentience? The part of us that makes us who we are, an aspect of our existence that I strongly believe that other animals, including farm animals, fish and invertebrates, in fact all living things, possess. This is a huge subject which I hope to tackle in an unbiased way in the near future. For now here is a selection of quotes from religion and philosophy stating that animals have souls and that animals should be treated humanely, with kindness and compassion.

Wherever there is the evolution of living beings, let people cherish the thought of kinship with them, and, thinking that all beings are [to be loved as if they were] an only child, let them refrain from eating meat.
Buddha, The Lankavatara Sutra, "On Meat Eating*

For profit sentient beings are destroyed, for flesh money is paid out, they are both evil-doers.
Buddha, The Lankavatara Sutra, "On Meat Eating*

Pythagoras taught that …all animated beings were kin, and should be considered as belonging to one great family.

O human race! Do not, I beg you, and concentrate your minds on my admonitions! When you place the flesh of slaughtered cattle in your mouths, know and feel, that you are devouring your fellow-creature. Pythagoras's Teachings: Vegetarianism 8th c. BCE in Ovid's Metamorphoses

For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love.
Pythagoras

Not to hurt our humble brethren (the animals) is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission--to be of service to them whenever they require it... If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men
St. Francis of Assisi

Life is life - whether in a cat, or dog or man.  There is no difference there between a cat or a man.  The idea of difference is a human conception for man's own advantage. 
Sri Aurobindo

A righteous man has regard for the life of his beast.
Proverbs 12:10

There is not an animal that lives on the Earth, nor a being that flies on its wings, but forms part of communities like you. Nothing have we omitted from the Book, and they all shall be gathered to their Lord in the end.
Al-Qur’an

Whoever is kind to the creatures of God is kind to himself.
Prophet Muhammad

I just love this delightful quote from the Islamic tradition:

When you hear the crowing of cocks, ask for Allah's Blessings for (their crowing indicates that) they have seen an angel...

Hadith 4:522

Maybe not the intent of this passage but it does imply sentience

There is not an animal on the earth, nor a flying creature on two wings, but they are people like unto you.
Qur'an

Ways to bring about a humane treatment of animals

Here I will discuss ways in which we may bring about changes in the way we think about animals and how we treat them

Education

Challenge the habit. Find out how your food gets to your table. Learn about the cruelties of factory farming : Animal Rights

Also information concerning factory farming and other abuse may be found on the following external websites:

Viva! - Vegetarians International Voice for Animals

"Eating meat; fish and dairy causes environmental destruction, damages human health, contributes to global hunger and inflicts immense suffering on billions of animals across the world. Viva! believes that the solution to all these problems is in our own hands: the best way to stop the destruction and the cruelty is to stop eating animals now – go vegetarian, or better still, vegan. "

Campaigns, information, recipes

Viva! USA

"Viva! is a dynamic organization campaigning on behalf of animals killed for food. We do investigations of factory farms and then produce campaign materials for students and activists, helping people change to a veggie diet! We are an international organization, registered in the USA as a 501(c)(3) non-profit."

Also VIVA Poland
Viva! Walczymy o konie i inne zwierzeta : .

PETA UK: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals UK

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA): The animal rights organization   USA

"PETA US formed in 1980 in the United States and has more than 2 million members and supporters, making it the largest animal rights organisation in the world.

PETA US and PETA Europe are dedicated to establishing and protecting the rights of all animals. Like humans, animals are capable of suffering and have interests in leading their own lives; therefore, they are not ours to use – for food, clothing, entertainment, experimentation or any other reason. PETA-named affiliates around the world educate policymakers and the public about cruelty to animals and promote an understanding of the right of all animals to be treated with respect."
 

I have no said much concerning other matters of animal abuse such as experimentation. I hope to include a separate article in the near future about this and other areas of animal abuse such as animals used in entertainment.

Please check out the website below for information about a number of issue concerning animal cruelty .

Uncaged Campaigns: Against animal testing and experiments

An organisation campaign against animals experimentation.

Uncaged campaigns
"We are a peaceful international animal protection organisation based in Sheffield, England. Our main campaigns are against animal experiments (vivisection); against xenotransplantation (animal to human transplants); the global boycott of Procter & Gamble; for animal rights and for democratic action on animal issues through the political system."

 

Go Veggie /vegan

The most effective way to put an end to the atrocities of factory farming is to go vegetarian or preferably vegan.

For information about becoming a vegetarian or Vegan click the links below.

Information on this website:

Think Differently Go Veggi/Vegan and  So you want to go Vegan/Vegi

More advice about changing your diet to vegetarian or vegan can be found on the following external websites:

VIVA have advice on how to go veggi or vegan.

Viva! - Vegetarians International Voice for Animals Going Vegan

Viva! - Vegetarians International Voice for Animals Going Veggi

Includes recipes

PETA's Vegetarian and Vegan Starter Kit

Includes information, advice, recipes and free vegetarian starter kit
http://features.peta.org/VegetarianStarterKit/

What Vegans Eat - Vegan Society

Campaigns

Another way to bring about change is to participate in campaigns such as signing or initiating  petitions, writing letters to government officials and to food producers and peaceful protests.

Viva! - Vegetarians International Voice for Animals campaigns

Campaigns

"Every year in Britain, more than 7 billion animals face the barbarity of slaughter - many fully conscious. Most spend their short, brutal lives in confinement, pain and misery. Viva! launches regular, hard-hitting campaigns and has forced the vegetarian and vegan debate back on to the agenda - on TV, radio and in the press."

VIVA have wide range of campaigns again animal cruelty for you to participate in and provides a supporter pack

 

peta.org.uk/

PETA and PETA Europe are dedicated to establishing and protecting the rights of all animals. Like us, animals are capable of suffering, and they have an interest in leading their own lives; therefore, they are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment or use in any other way. PETA and PETA Europe work through public education, research, legislation, special events, celebrity involvement and protest campaigns.

A wide range of campaigns in which you may become involved, plenty of help and advice to help you take action against cruelty to animals

uncaged.co.uk/

Campaigns and action in which you may become involved to help stop experimentation and other forms of cruelty

"The UK Government annual statistics 2007 reveal that over 3.2 million animals suffer and die in British laboratories in experiments that "may cause pain, suffering, distress and lasting harm" (experiments that are considered unlikely to cause pain do not need to be licensed and are therefore not included in the annual statistics). An estimated additional 8 million animals are bred and then destroyed as surplus to requirements. As well as mice, rats, hamsters, gerbils and guinea pigs (the bulk of experiments involve rodents), other animals such as rabbits, dogs, cats, monkeys, horses, cows, pigs, sheep, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and even insects are used - in fact there's hardly a species that are not experimented on."

PETA UK > Campaigns : Cruel Science

origin.www.peta.org.uk/issues/animals-are-not-ours-to-experiment-on/

In the above website you will find information about the shocking film below and action you can take.

 

Think Differently About sheep is a new website and went on-line in March 2009. I hope to provide more information about the above topics including links to information, campaigns and dietary advice as such becomes available.

The information on this webpage is on going and the content will be revised and new additions included as more information becomes available.

Other links of interest

The declaration of animal rights


"Inasmuch as there is ample evidence that many animal species are capable of feeling, we condemn totally the infliction of suffering upon our fellow creatures and the curtailment of their behavioural and other needs save where this is necessary for their own individual benefit.

We do not accept that a difference in species alone (any more than a difference in race) can justify wanton exploitation or oppression in the name of science or sport, or for use as food, for commercial profit or for other human gain.

We believe in the evolutionary and moral kinship of all animals and declare our belief that all sentient creatures have rights to life, liberty and natural enjoyment."

 

Read More:
The universal declaration of animal rights

IMPACT Press: Article: "Gestation Crates: No Way To Treat A Pig" -- Aug.-Sep.

Truely man is the king of beasts, for his brutality exceeds theirs. We live by the death of others: we are burial places! I have from an early age abjured the use of meat, and the time will come when men such as I will look on the murder of animals as they now look on the murder of men.
 
Leonardo da Vinci

As often as Herman had witnessed the slaughter of animals and fish, he always had the same thought: in their behaviour toward creatures, all men were Nazis. The smugness with which man could do with other species as he pleased exemplified the most extreme racist theories, the principle that might is right. 

Isaac Bashevis Singer

  End Cruelty