An animals worth should not be based on its usefulness to humans. With abundant scientific evidence demonstrating that animals do feel pain and stress, it goes without saying that we are morally obligated to ensure animals are free from suffering and exploitation. We should be kind to others whether they are from the same species or not. Jeremy Bentham once said:
We all have a built in capacity for empathy and compassion however, disappointingly some of us do not extend this from pets to wildlife or the animals that are sadly farmed for food. There is no logical reason why we should treat these animals any differently since they have the same capacity to experience joy, pain and fear. Studies have even shown that pigs are cognitively smarter than dogs!
Although many people say change will never happen, we have proof all around us that it does! Racism, sexism, homaphobia, human slavery and child labour are all struggles that we have seen strides of improvement in and recognising the rights of animals is the next step to a fairer and more compassionate world.
It will take time for us as a society to outgrow the unethical mindset that animals are here for us to do with as we please but providing we speak out, educate and don’t give up – we will get there!