This morning, I saw several videos of dogs who were abused by their owners. They were absolutely horrendous. Did you know there are brothels where clients abuse and rape dogs? That got me to thinking. Why does this type of thing happen in the first place? What is the root cause of animal abuse? Where does it begin? While there are many answers to why each particular incident occurs, there is a common thread and it's surprisingly simple.
We think and speak of other animals as just plain animals, forgetting that we ourselves are animals too. Not only that, we have the audacity to think of ourselves as their owners. In fact, we've done it so long that we don't even think twice about it. We're not their owners, of course. They have lives, feelings and families that reach far beyond our relationships with them. That makes them beings of their own accord. But even if you don't believe that, here's the thing that cannot be denied....
We treat other animals as property, buying and selling them. We treat them like slaves for all intents and purposes. We use them for whatever need they fulfill for us, completely disregarding their right to exist on their own. We treat them as possessions, rather than fellow beings. We think of them as our property. We refer to them as “MY dog” “MY cat” “MY livestock” etc. We lock them up in zoos and use them in circuses to entertain us. And then, we have the nerve to say that we love them. That's a hell of a way to show our love, isn't it?
In the natural world, other animals run free until they are needed for food by carnivores. On the other hand, what we humans do to them is a bit like Hansel and Gretel. We lock them up until they are fattened up enough to eat. We also “cage” them in our homes as pets. Some people even “crate” their pets as discipline or to teach them certain behaviors.
Imagine our reaction if that were done to a human animal. Remember how you felt seeing humans corralled in the first “Planet of the Apes” movie? What we do to other animals is no different at all. But somehow, we have gotten this idea in our heads that we are superior to other animals and have a right to own them. We don't.
Nature never intended for us to own other animals. We are not superior to them. That's just an illusion we created to make us feel comfortable about using them. They have some skills that “top” ours and we have some that “top” theirs. But the truth is, those skills were never meant to compete with one another. They were meant to compliment each other.
We can't live without them. Nature is delicately balanced and by claiming ownership over other sentient beings, we are not just upsetting the balance, we are tipping the entire cart over and ensuring our own demise. But, now, back to that abuse....
If we did not look at other animals as our property.... In other words, if we treated them as the equals they are, the abuse would never happen. Because superiority, or the illusion of superiority is the main catalyst for all abuse, whether it's the abuse of other animals or of human animals. Having that right to lord it over someone is what makes us feel we have a right to use or abuse them as we please.
So, what is the root cause of animal abuse? It's our false sense of superiority, of course. We have obtained that sense through tradition, religion or simply observing it as common practice throughout our lives. But that doesn't make it right. So, isn't it time to address animal abuse at the root? Because as long as we keep treating other animals as inferior possessions, it's just going to keep happening.