Are you an animal?

My friend asked me how I came up with the name “i’m an animal too”. I could not recall how I first arrived at the name, but my choice of name represents a realization. I’m into science, and it’s a scientific fact, I’m an animal, and you are an animal too, all humans are. The word “animal” comes from the Latin word animalis, meaning “having breath”.[1]

Animals, like humans, have a variety of emotions, such as love (for example, the love between a mother and her offspring), sadness and fear. They, like us, can also feel pain. I’m sure you’ll agree that you do not need to be a human being to hurt, you can be a dog or a pig, a fish or a bird. (For now, I will not elaborate on the philosophical arguments and scientific evidence, but I will in a future post, I promise.)

None of us want to feel pain, or experience fear. Most of us do not wish to cause suffering and misery to others through our actions. That’s where it started for me – try to minimize, or better, end the suffering I’m causing to others, and by others I mean non-human animals.

Here is just one example, I did not stop eating meat, nor did I stop consuming cheese or eggs because I did not like eating those type of foods, but because I did not want to cause suffering to cows or chickens. I did not want other creatures to suffer and die for my pleasure.

Human and non-human animals, we are all sentient beings who can feel, regardless of our cognitive abilities. As such, we all have the right to be free of exploitation and suffering. My actions and interactions with all animals, human and non-human, stem from this realization and deeply held belief.

I’d like to prevail upon you to spend a few minutes today thinking about one non-human animal that is used in our food industry. It could be a cow who just had a baby calf, or a chick that was just born. It does not have to be their suffering you think about, but perhaps their look, their sounds, their colors, their movements, their beauty, their desire to live.

“The question is not, ‘can they reason?’ nor ‘can they talk?’ but ‘can they suffer?’”
Jeremy Bentham, 1789

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6 Responses

  1. Rita Anderson says:

    This is absolutely true. If you really think deeply about it and try to think like an individual non-human animal, you have to realize how they suffer day after day for however long or short their lives may be. Put yourself into their minds and experience who they are and what they are thinking about their treatment at the hands of humans.

  2. Mitzie Eien says:

    I sure see the depth of emotion when my elderly dogs die and the one left behind sits at the door, eats less and generally mourns. When my little poodle Nory died, Gracie his little friend went with us for the procedure. They rubbed noses, then, when Nory breathed his last, Gracie stood on him, wrapped her paws around his body and rocked back and forth. No human grief could have been more intense. I love your website.

  3. Netiva says:

    What if euthanasia was an accepted form for dying? Would more people choose to die even if they are not sick or suffering physically?
    I may be going on a tangent here just exploring a hypothetical different reality where canabalism was also accepted and some people would eat other people who wouldn’t mind giving up their lives.
    Then we would be like animals who may not mind dying. The difference is that we do not know if they mind or not. Pain is not so much an issue as we learned to kill without causing pain. It’s really the question if we want to live and if they want to also. What do you think?

  4. Rita Anderson says:

    Netiva, I would like to respectfully respond to your post with my thoughts. First of all, your comment that “The difference is that we do not know if they mind or not” is clear and true. Since we do not know, I feel that we do not have the right to make that very personal decision for them unless they are obviously suffering. If a human decided to give up his/her life so someone else could live from their remains, that seems to me to be acceptable because the human is giving permission.

    That said, pain and suffering is definitely an issue when it comes to animals raised for human consumption, even so-called “humane farms” (http://www.farmsanctuary.org/learn/factory-farming/the-truth-behind-humane-labels/.) On factory farms, animals suffer many abuses and much physical and mental suffering (http://www.farmsanctuary.org/learn/factory-farming/.) These animals are not only severely abused in the confines of the farms, they are then trucked to slaughter houses by being crowded into trucks where they continue to suffer, and some even die. In the slaughter houses, they are sometimes hung on hooks before they are even dead. This causes untold levels of fear, suffering and pain. This is not the same as the euthanasia practices at a vet’s office for sick or injured animals.

    We must question how we can ever hope to have a peaceful planet when these atrocities continue at the hands of humans.

  5. robin says:

    This post so beautifully captures what all sentient beings—thinking and feeling animals—crave: living our lives fully and richly and with a purpose very much our own. Animals raised for human consumption are subjected to the most unimaginable agony until their last breath. Their misery for a meal. In Southeast Asia, animals also pay with their lives for professed health tonics. “There is no fundamental difference between man and the higher animals in their mental faculties.… The lower animals, like man, manifestly feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery.
”—Charles Darwin

  6. Jenn says:

    I just found you via Facebook (the comment in “My Vegan Dreams”), and I already loves you 🙂 I found this name very touching, as it shows a lot of compassion . I am vegan and this is not by taste, but by compassion, and for my health, ’cause we human are obviously not designed to be carnivores and I think that all the harm we do to other beings turns against us and it result in a lot of diseases and pain. Animals are our equals. We have to share this planet peacefully… This is the only sustainable way so nobody would be harm, everybody would eat enough, and the environment can stop decrease. I’m sorry, my ideas are scattered … There’s so much to say, and I’m so passionate about this topic, that I mixed it up. Anyway, I’m sure you’ll find great words to speak it all !

    Thank for your caring