One of the ideas that regularly knocks me for six is that animals and humans are equal and deserve the same level of respect as one another. I’ve had this idea put to me on numerous occasions in the past and I’m sure to hear it again in the future. On one level it’s perfectly reasonable. Humans are animals. We all feel pain, emotions, empathy, fear, joy, consciousness and the list goes on. You can’t put forward any unique human quality that marks us out which has not within the last few years or so been shown to, at least possibly, exist within other creatures. It’s only our post Christian world view which defends the concept of ‘human specialness’ within mainstream thought.
Personally I approach it from an angle which most people find abhorrent. I am human. I have a human perspective on things. To deny this is to deny my own humanity. I eat animals and wear their skins because I can’t see things from their point of view. If I could I’d probably stop but I can’t so I don’t. This isn’t much of an argument but moral philosophy isn’t really humanity’s strong point. It never has been. Just try working your way through Kant one evening and you’ll see what I mean.
The interesting thing about this analysis though is that people who are staunch animal rights activists do often end up compromising their own humanity in the pursuit of a higher moral calling. Keep this blog entry in mind next time an animal rights story pops up in the news.