A free reality check from Responsible Policies for Animals, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt educational nonprofit organization. You can download a color three-panel brochure PDF of this document. RPA will provide copies of the three-panel brochure for free on request.
Animal abuse is far more than we’re told. It shapes our daily lives. And if we don’t work to eliminate it, we will never experience peace, justice, health, or other aspects of a fulfilling life.
Just about everyone deplores animal abuse. But what most people mean is cruelty to animals: dog-fighting, setting a cat on fire, allowing a pet to starve, and other unlawful abuses. Animal abuse really encompasses much more than that. It is civilization’s primary policy. Animal abuse provides some human comfort, profit, and enjoyment – but also disease, war, genocide, poverty, sexism, racism, and other persistent evils.
To understand and eliminate animal abuse, we must learn to see it everywhere – in our institutions, systems, and policies and throughout our daily lives.
Animal Abuse Today
Human beings abuse so many nonhuman animals that the number cannot be estimated or imagined. Breeding, slaughtering, trapping, hunting, poisoning, experimenting, and hauling out of oceans, lakes, and rivers harm and kill countless billions each year. And that is only deliberate abuse. Electrical-power plants kill trillions. Automobiles kill millions each day. Felling trees for timber, paper, and agriculture and other “development” drives countless animals from their homes, killing many.
Animal abuse includes using nonhumans for companionship, entertainment, and instruction, which make them easy victims of cruelty.
Humans spread mercury, lead, other toxic metals, radioactive waste, and chemical pollutants throughout Earth, poisoning animals and damaging genes and endocrine systems. Oil, coal, and gas extraction and transport, oil spills, long-distance shipping of materials and merchandise, travel for business and pleasure, war, weapons manufacturing and testing, and other human activities abuse enormous numbers of animals.
Human beings are natural plant-foraging herbivores with a natural affinity for other animals and the living world, an innate conscience, a live-and-let-live attitude toward others, and no need of direct contact with nonhuman animals. Yet trillions of nonhuman animals suffer and die from abuse by humans. The best explanation is that human beings do not live according to their biological nature but according to their imagination. And the human imagination concocts ideologies to rationalize animal abuse.
Human’s predominant ideology, humanism, holds human beings Earth’s master species and only human beings intrinsically worthy of life and fulfillment. It deems all in nature to exist for humans to use or dispense with. By teaching discrimination based on species, humanism promotes discrimination based on sex, race, appearance, and other invidious distinctions.
Humanism rationalizes humans’ rampage over Earth at the expense of all other animals and the genetic engineering through breeding which debases animals, eroding their independence, dignity, and ability to defend themselves. Ironically, we humans suffer from the very ideology that supposedly serves us so well.
Misery to the Max for Humans
Human beings acquired AIDS, bubonic plague, influenza, and countless other infectious diseases from animal abuse, especially unnatural contact with other animals. Using nonhuman animals for food makes heart disease, stroke, many cancers, and food poisoning unnaturally common in humans. And humans suffer terribly from overpopulation, car culture, pollution, and other non-deliberate animal abuse. Global heating, a threat to every nonhuman animal, is killing hundreds of thousands of human beings each year.
When the public started to learn the harm our species does to the living world, the industry-government-university-media complex ramped up its massive, relentless humanist propaganda. Every day we hear that human overpopulation isn’t real, science, technology, work, entertainment, sex, and relaxation can remedy our ever-growing misery, and “voting with our wallets” can implement our just and humane values – as if policy change weren’t necessary.
Prehistoric Origins of Animal Abuse
The early humans who initiated the “march of human progress” by starting to kill off predators were clever and imaginative like people working to “build a better mousetrap” today. But they did not know they were initiating an unnatural and massively destructive way of life. They did not know about viruses, bacteria, nutrition, ecology, or chemistry. Most early humans probably found hunting unnatural and immoral in aggressively harming others. But the weaponed class prevailed, developing into the tyrant class our species still struggles to free itself from today.
Eliminating predators made the world safe for agriculture. Living in one place, growing food strictly for themselves, and living in permanent shelters led humans to demonize and persecute “pests.” A cycle of animal abuse and human misery took hold: The more status the weaponed class acquired, the more human societies came to depend on animal abuse; the more humans depended on animal abuse, the more they suffered from it themselves.
It is not too late to free the living world of humanism and break the tragic cycle. This requires struggle, dedication, and sacrifice by those who desire a just and humane world.
The New Animalism: Everyone’s Best Hope
Responsible Policies for Animals works daily to debunk humanism, teaching the new animalism. What only benefits humans does not suffice: We must make policy comport with the common good of all animals. Through its website, lectures, interviews, literature, and campaigns, RPA explains why promoting equal autonomy, ecology, and dignity rights of all animals is the single best thing humans can do for their families, their nation, their species, other animals, and the living world.
You Can Help – Join RPA!
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Harris, Sam. The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values. New York: Free Press, 2010.
Hart, Donna and Robert W. Sussman. Man the Hunted: Primates, Predators, and Human Evolution, Expanded Edition. Boulder: Westview, 2009.
Karlen, Arlo. Man and Microbes: Disease and Plagues in History and Modern Times. New York: Touchstone, 1996.
Mills, Milton R., M.D. “The Comparative Anatomy of Eating.”
Ponting, Clive. A New Green History of the World: The Environment and the Collapse of Great Civilizations. New York: Penguin, 2007.
Quammen, David. Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic. New York: Norton, 2012.
Schwartz-Nobel, Loretta. Poisoned Nation: Pollution, Greed, and the Rise of Deadly Epidemics. New York: St. Martin’s, 2007.
Responsible Policies for Animals
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