Ending animal suffering

Animals suffer worldwide, largely due to human overpopulation. Human dominance has led to the destruction of many animal habitats. Industrial farming, aimed at feeding more people, exacerbates animal suffering. The available space for animals to live peacefully has drastically diminished. Human overpopulation not only harms the earth but also other sentient beings, ultimately impacting humans themselves. Recent studies indicate that over a quarter of the world’s mammals and over 40 percent of amphibians are on the brink of extinction.

Another significant factor contributing to animal suffering is the rise of speciesism among humans. Speciesism is the belief that all other species are inferior and, therefore, do not deserve moral consideration. Consequently, some individuals harm animals for pleasure without reason. Many parents do not reprimand their children for mistreating helpless stray dogs. Speciesism has been propagated by various thinkers throughout history. Aristotle, the renowned Greek philosopher, considered animals mere ‘brute beasts’ existing solely for the benefit of humans. Descartes even argued that animals are mere automata without souls, incapable of suffering. However, none of these arguments could provide irrefutable evidence in favor of their views.

The question arises: should animals be granted moral consideration? Two arguments exist. The ‘rationality argument’ asserts that only the interests of homo sapiens, the only rational, autonomous, and self-conscious species, should be considered paramount. However, modern science has provided credible evidence of animals exhibiting many qualities previously considered unique to humans, thus challenging this viewpoint. Charles Darwin himself recognised that many animals display emotions such as grief, sympathy, and curiosity. The other argument points out that denying rights to animals based on their perceived lack of intelligence is unjust. Many humans, including those cognitively impaired or infants, are less intelligent than certain animals, yet they are not denied justice and equality of rights. This argument underscores the importance of considering an individual’s capacity to suffer rather than their intelligence level.

Animals, particularly stray dogs, suffer immensely. Humans, who have encroached upon much of the earth’s space, often mistreat them, labeling them as nuisances. Unethical practices such as factory farming and cosmetic testing on animals further exacerbate their suffering. Violence against innocent strays is on the rise due to a lack of consequences for such actions.

The government shares responsibility for the rising stray dog population and suffering. It should enact laws to protect animals and implement measures such as vaccination and sterilisation programs for stray dogs and cats. Additionally, educational reforms are necessary to instill compassion and raise awareness about ethical behavior towards animals. The current curriculum often perpetuates religious bigotry and apathy, failing to promote empathy and compassion.

Despite the prevalence of cruelty towards animals, change is possible. Just as humanity has overcome past atrocities like the global slave trade and the denial of women’s voting rights, we can also address the current horrors faced by animals. Every individual can make a difference through their actions, no matter how small. Those unwilling to actively diminish animal suffering should, at the very least, refrain from being unkind to animals. It costs nothing to show kindness.

HALEEMA SADIA,

Kallar Syedan.

 

 

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