Archive for the ‘Society’ Category

Today,   July 24th 2010, marks the first annual Animal Freedom Day to be celebrated this day every year by giving something you can to aid in the freedom of the billions of enslaved creatures throughout the world. Sometimes it is difficult to figure out what to do with oneself on the “first annual day” of anything, which is totally understandable, but consider that only a few decades ago the first annual Earth Day took place and at one time there was a first 4th of July and even a first Christmas. It has to start sometime for it to one day become obvious what one should do to commemorate it. If you missed it today do so tomorrow, last I checked animals are not keeping any calendars.

Animals indeed are the last remaining oppressed creatures in our society as their struggle is unique to all the others. This is not to say the struggles for Civil Rights, Classism, Gender Equality, or Sexual Equality are by any means complete. However, it can be said that the struggle for the animal is unique to the struggle for any other cause related to freedom, equality, moral rights and justice. Human beings struggle to be included equally into society whereas the struggle for animals is that they be left out of it.

An animal that is included in our society for any reason (even as a pet)  is in a position of subservience and is viewed as a lesser living being than their human “masters”. You may argue that an animal that is your pet is in fact treated as “a member of the family” or accorded the same value as “if they are people,” but that is simply not the case and we all know it. Humans are still the ‘master’. In fact that very word once used in a relationship between people separating them whether it was through class in serfdom, through race in slavery, or through gender in domestic sexual inequality; now is comfortably and without any question still accorded in the relationship between humans and animals, which would be considered unconscionable nowadays with any of the former three relationships.

Humans are still the ‘master’ or even worse the ‘owner’ of this last segment of living, feeling and yes, thinking, entities. The animal is not considered as equally worthy of existing than the ‘master’ species and that species when accorded the added role of ‘owning’ an animal is allowed to do with it as he or she pleases and feel perfectly morally justified in doing so. Any laws designed to prevent cruelty to animals is merely lip service and beholden to the sensibilities of the ‘master’ species and not the ‘subservient’ one.

Consider that a pet species the only few ‘lucky’ animals that are given the luxury of respect and decency and even love from an overwhelming majority of humans are still at the mercy of  their ‘owner’ to be allowed to live or to die. The moment that animal is found owner-less or abandoned or even if an owner is ‘kind’ enough to take them to a facility themselves, when they can no longer ‘master’ them, that animal is then ‘humanely’ murdered by lethal injection or some other worse form of execution. They are still afforded no rights and no rules of conduct are given to them that states their persecution is not morally excusable.

These are the lucky ones who’s birthright allowed them to be viewed as attractive to the ‘master’ species due to their cuteness or convenience or genetically endowed broken spirit. These animals are ‘worth’ allowing to live around us in our homes only when we say its allowed and under strict rules of obedience and domination.

The next class of species is the ones who are perhaps the most horribly treated living thing to ever have had the misfortune of being born. The edible and experiment-able species. In this master/slave relationship there is not even the shred of decency accorded the pet species and cruelty laws have been litigated away so that chickens, cows, pig, and other ‘domesticated’ species have no rights at all when it comes to their treatment. I wont go too far into this exploitation here as literally this could take thousands of words to describe and chances are pretty high for many it is unimaginable or simply too difficult to accept. There is a great movie link called “Earthlings” at the bottom of this screen that will show you everything you need to see about this class of animal and I recommend it highly.

Finally there are the so-called ‘wild’ species who are the only remaining animals left that are given the decency to be somewhat left in peace by humans, provided they are not aquatic in nature and they stay out of the way of progress. Although a certain noble dignity is afforded these animals especially if they are accepted as a symbol or popularized in metaphor or film, that is only a surface luxury that is more romantic than reality. The wild species are still no more viewed with any respect or esteem than the ‘master’ species with respect to that latter species’ desire to get whatever it wants from the habitats of these species.

Even the bald eagle or the wild mustang, which are the national symbols of the most powerful nation on earth, are viewed as ‘in the way’ when that nation wants its contracts for mountain top coal removal for the former and oil drilling contracts for the latter. Wild mustangs are currently being rounded up and exterminated in the thousands because their ranges happened to be in the way of BP oil drilling contracts.

So clearly even those animals such as dolphins, whales, wild horses, eagles, and the other species, which are viewed as most enjoyable when they are left to live in relative peace and freedom, are not immune to the role as a slave species with respect to the ‘master’ of the earth.

Consider this today and consider if you still eat any flesh whatsoever that you are torturing and murdering a living and suffering creature when you do so. There is no such thing as humane slaughter. In fact those words are mutually exclusive. Ask yourself if someone asked you if they could put down your best friend to provide food for lions if it would matter to you if your friend had a good life or if the murder happened quickly.

In conclusion lets take this day if no other day is available to you to be an equal with animals.  Treat them not as a burden to us or as a thing we own that ‘gets’ to receive our attention,  but as a fellow passenger in life and as a fellow sentient life-form with consciousness behind their eyes, which can be shared with, provided you look into them with the right mindset.

Ask an animal if they would like anything from you, chances are pretty good it won’t be much. Chances are good they simply want you to acknowledge them as an equal and when you do you will be surprised what will happen.  A slave only gives you the minimum of what they have because you demanded it, a free entity will give you what you didn’t even know you needed. Peace.

It is becoming clear that the various religious lobbies have petitioned their congressmen and senators to dismiss the first clause of the 1st Amendment to the constitution. Often called the Establishment Clause, it is these ten words which attempt to separate the church from the state. In most cases the second clause called the Free Exercise clause protecting religion from the state is more often considered the most important portion of this amendment. However, protecting the state and public policy from religion is becoming far more necessary as scientific achievement brings forth advances which religious leaders feel are an affront to their God.

Whether it is the ability of stem cells to cure disease, the homosexual’s right to enter civil unions and bare cloned offspring, or any other manipulation of the human genome, to something as simple as teaching evolutionary theory in the classroom; it would seem religious doctrine in this country is forcing a stunting of scientific and arguably human progress itself. If it is determined that these scientific achievements could bring changes which are beneficial to the species as a whole and allow us to better survive, wouldn’t this stunting allow the church to harm human progress and in fact human evolution overall? The debate of creation versus evolution is indeed more important then Darwin could have ever imagined. The hundreds of millions of years it took life to evolve the intelligence found in human beings may lead to a dead end if we allow the church to deny ourselves the next step.

Based upon an arbitrary declaration that the the entirety of existence was poofed into being six thousand years ago and all living beings were perfected then with no ability to change over time, the church has posited that mankind (and I use the gender specificity purposefully) is the pinnacle of creation and the people of two, three, and four thousand years ago were no less capable to decide what is right for human beings than those of today. This belief is set against the miles of impartial evidence which tracks fossil remains and planetary objects to millions of years ago; evidence which was unknown to those same archaic societies. There are declarations for instance that dinosaurs in fact lived six thousand years ago in the garden of eden with Adam and Eve. Apparently they all must have done something to piss off God because they were not allowed to survive the flood. Or maybe it was because they were just too big to fit on Noah’s arc.

Interestingly the most religiously centered portion of our society, the rural farmer of the so called bible belt has been the most capable of witnessing evolution. Breeding practices of horses, dogs, cattle, and pretty much every other farm animal shows that sexual selection, in this case done by the farmer, allows desirable traits in the animals to be passed down to their offspring. What Johnny doesn’t learn in third grade will be comprehended intuitively if he dropped out to tend the family farm.

The question of whether the theory of evolution challenges religious doctrine is obviously biased. The famous chihuahua in television commercials, and the dairy cow are products of this so called “theory” and did not exist at the time when the scripture said they couldn’t. What prevents this theory from becoming a law like that of gravity or the conservation of energy, is not its evidence and replicablility as is the case with the latter two, but the sensibilities of dogmatic individuals who have based their ethical and spiritual lives upon a philosophy that is out dated and thousands of years old.

Science can not nor does not wish to disprove the existence of God with its technological progress. Technology is not a spiritual matter nor should it be. If something as simple as a means to heal the sick forces one to challenge their beliefs than perhaps their beliefs were not that firm in the first place. What is at stake is not the existence of God but the existence of one particular church. Those religious leaders are attempting to stifle the destiny of the human intellect to ensure that their coffers remain full. I for one couldn’t think of a more heinous sin to this thoroughly magnificent creation however old it is.