Are Animals More Human Than Humans?

I consider myself an animal rights activist. Though I do not carry signs and march alongside PETA, I support animal rights both financially and in my writing.  Frankly, today I think animal rights are probably a much worthier cause than human rights, since animals are more pure of spirit and, as I am given to understand, inhabited the earth long before humans.  I do not wish to write tonight of Trump, the disastrous health care bill, Tillerson, Sessions, or any of the other ugly aspects of our daily life.  Instead, I wish to write about … pigs.

The headline that piqued my curiosity read …

Woman who helps thirsty pigs evades jail

Of course, I first thought the pigs were jail-bound, but upon closer reading (with a magnifying glass), I determined the woman who was helping the poor, thirsty pigs, was for some reason, jail-bound.

The story, as told by BBC, goes like this:

An Ontario judge dismissed mischief charges against Anita Krajnc, ending a legal battle that captured the global attention of animal rights activists.

Judge David Harris said he was not convinced that Ms Krajnc obstructed the use of property when she gave water to pigs headed to slaughter.

Ms Krajnc said it confirms “compassion is not a crime”.

Mischief to property is a criminal offence in Canada related to the wilful destruction or damage of property.

Justice Harris wrote in his decision that he is satisfied that Ms Krajnc “did not obstruct, interrupt or interfere with the lawful use, enjoyment or operation of any property” when in July 2015, she gave water to a few animals being carried in a tractor trailer filled with 190 pigs going to a slaughterhouse outside Toronto.

Ms Krajnc, who co-founded an organisation called Toronto Pig Save in 2011, regularly gathered with other activists on a traffic island at an intersection near a large slaughterhouse to pet the animals and give them water.

But this time, the truck driver confronted Ms Krajnc and police were called. A video of the tense encounter was posted online by the activists.

During her trial, supporters crammed into the courtroom, many sitting on the floor. Members of the media sat in the prisoner’s box.

Despite her win on Thursday, Ms Krajnc told the BBC she has “mixed feelings” about the decision.

“We were hoping for recognition in the legal system that pigs and other animals are simply not property – that they are sentient beings, that they have basic rights,” she said.

pigs-1

So, doesn’t that raise a number of questions in your mind?  It doesn’t, you say?  Awwww … c’mon … play along here and don’t force me back into the world of … well, you know … just yet.  Filosofa is trying to de-stress here, and the least you can do is play along …

So, (for those of you still reading) the first question is:  Should animals have the same rights as humans? Well, in a case in New York in 2015, two chimps, Leo and Hercules, went to court.  Their lawyers wanted them removed from an animal testing facility to an animal sanctuary.  The judge, one Barbara Jaffe, suggested the chimps had the right of habeas corpus – the ancient legal principle under which the state has an obligation to produce missing individuals before a court.

pigs-2-chimp

But later, the judge changed the wording and suggested that the court does not consider the animals to be legal persons. Awwwwww …. This story was supposed to DE-stress me …  😥

The year before, there was the story of another chimp named Tommy, in which case a judge said a chimp was not entitled to the same rights as people.

pigs-3-Tommy

And this led to the term speciesism, defined as: “the idea that being human is a good enough reason for human animals to have greater moral rights than non-human animals. …a prejudice or bias in favour of the interests of members of one’s own species and against those of members of other species.”

Now, folks … look around you at the world today.  Do ‘human animals’ ACT like they have ‘greater moral’ rights?  Do they even act like they have morals? If humans are to be considered “superior”, then does it not follow that they have a moral obligation to care for those who fall beneath them in the … um … food chain?

If you made it this far, thank you for putting up with this rambling-of-the-mind post, but the mind was rather like a rubber band wound too tight and needed to be let off the leash for just a bit.  I shall return in a bit with more of my usual fare.  Meanwhile, if you see a thirsty pig today … give him a bit of water.

48 thoughts on “Are Animals More Human Than Humans?

  1. Many animals that could be considered habituated to domestication can definitely show affection to humans so I believe compassion towards humans is present in those animals. An animal (perhaps wild, but not always) who has been hunted or terrorised in some way by humans, is not going to show the same consideration.

    What I do see in all animals, is a tremendous capacity to ‘feel’ emotions. I have even seen bees try to help each other, so size does not matter.

    Are animals more human? Wrong question really, because some humans are monstrous psychopaths without empathy of any kind.

    Perhaps a better question could be ‘Should animals have the same rights as humans to access to habitat, food, life, and safety?’ Animals have the same needs as us for basic survival.

    Are animals intellectual? We think that they may be. Until we can understand their languages, we can only guess at what they know. Most wild animals will avoid us because they have all learned that humans are very dangerous creatures indeed!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for your thoughtful comment! I agree with what you say … especially the part about some humans being “monstrous psychopaths without empathy of any kind.” I am a fierce defender of animal rights, as I sense you are too. It is unjustified and arrogant to believe, as many do, that animals were put on earth for the benefit of man. I find that unconscionable. Thanks again … I checked your blog and like what I see there, so I am now following it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Many thanks (especially for the follow). Yes, I too wish to see animal rights defended. It would be great if everyone could watch the documentary ‘Earthlings’ narrated by Joachim Phoenix, then they would see the vast injustice and harm we do to animals. That movie made me cry for hours. But it was the interaction with abused elephants in a rescue sanctuary that made me choose a vegan lifestyle. The capacity of the elephants to love and care for each other and even humans after terrible lives, was absolutely extraordinary. And yes much more human, than human. 💕

        Liked by 1 person

        • I had never heard of that documentary, but since you mentioned it, I Googled it and plan to watch it this weekend. Unlike you, I am not vegan, but … I could probably easily become so if I let myself think much about it. I do not believe that animals were put here for our pleasure and absolutely despise those hunters who hunt for sport and then show off their trophy kills. It breaks my heart …

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          • I only became vegan two years ago, so I’m no expert, but I do eat well.

            Funny thing about my experience with the elephants was that very suddenly (and without warning), I found the smell of raw meat and fish gut wrenching. I no longer smelled the aroma of food, but abject death instead. For months I couldn’t even go near the meat counters in supermarkets because they would make me heave.

            You could call it a life changing experience that I so thank the ele’s for showing to me.
            🙏

            Liked by 1 person

            • Many years … a few decades actually … my daughter was in college and was vegan. I will never forget the time she came home from college on holiday and we went to Burger King, whereby she ordered a “Whopper, hold the meat, hold the cheese”. I paid full price for a bun with a slice of tomato and a bit of lettuce! 🙂 But to your point, yes, I understand. The only two animals I eat are beef and chicken, and little enough of those, but when I read an article recently about how chickens are treated, it broke my heart and nearly turned me against eating chicken ever again.

              Liked by 1 person

              • I imagine you weren’t well pleased about paying full price at Burger King. 😀 Fast food places are only now beginning to sit up and take notice of the correct nutrition required by Vegan customers. I certainly don’t eat bread and lettuce as a meal. 😂😂

                When you do watch ‘Earthlings,’ I do recommend an empty stomach and a box of tissues at the ready. It is pretty full on graphic. And what you see, is pretty much the same across the US. Even abattoirs across the globe will not let any members of the public see the kill rooms. Most of the footage is shot by undercover employees.

                I, like most people thought it was a fairly swift (and kind as possible process), but few processing plants have the time for worrying about how the animal feels. Workers in the kill rooms have to be those psychopathic types that we talked about above. This sort of work requires a distinct lack of empathy.

                It is difficult for many people to end their love affair with eating meat, but perhaps they aren’t aware that many top athletes (including the current strongest man in the world), follow a vegan lifestyle. At the very least though, all meat eaters should be totally aware of what has to be done in order to have their economically priced food.

                Thanks for all your interaction. It is good to chat with like minded people. 😊

                Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, there are ways in which animals are smarter, though I don’t know whether it is instinct or intellect. My furry family members know when somebody is coming to the door a full 30 seconds before there is a knock. They know when it is Friday (their brushing day), and I swear they can tell time without a clock!

        I briefly checked out your blog, by the way … I like what I see and am now following it. Many thanks for your comments!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Nature in the raw is pretty ugly. Basically no sentiment. No notion of ‘rights’. And as true wild life professionals will tell you when commentating on footage of a one adult creature killing the young of another species ‘she has young to feed’
    That said we have been gifted with perceptions of compassion. Unless you show that to a vulnerable creature, then the chances are you will not show it to another human, because the gap between the two is small.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, rather like the saying that you can judge the character of a man by whether dogs like him! Note: this doesn’t work with cats, however, because they like basically nobody! Since whenever I go walking, people’s dogs always come to ‘talk’ to me, take my measure with a friendly snif or two, then ask for pets, I must not be too evil. 🙂

      And, not to be argumentative, but I still would argue that when animals kill, they do so for a reason, whereas some (not all) humans just like to kill, whether animals or other humans. For those people, I will go to the other side of the street to avoid them.

      And, I would also argue that animals have been gifted with compassion also, although perhaps not to the extent that most humans have. Evidence? I once had a dog who could sense when I was sad and would come curl up in my lap and give me kisses … only problem was that he weighed 130+ pounds! 😀 And at least one of the significant seven does the same … so I think they sense when we need love and try to provide it.

      I’m always amazed at how many comments a disjointed post about animals gets! I was truly just letting my brain run free for a bit 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • This is all true Jill, I guess those animals which live with us are trying to look after us like we were their great big offspring.
        I am a fan of wildlife programmes, but have to watch them by myself as my wife is not a great fan of the ‘tooth & claw’ sections….some people have their preconceptions shattered when they see the wildlife behaviour of some animals they previously thought cute…….
        Yes indeed… animals are a great talking point.
        One great segment of observational comedy was on the series ‘Mom’ (I was never sure if as a man I should have been laughing at some of the humour)…anyhow.
        As part of one episode there was a backstory that the house in the episode has been the scene of a ghastly murder where a couple and their teenage son and the family dog had been killed. This story was related to several characters and each time the dog was mentioned they’d say emotionally “And the dog? Awww!”….I thought that truly summed ‘us’ up.

        Liked by 1 person

        • That is so true!!! Though I am always saddened when I hear of people killed in, say, a house fire, I am heartbroken when I hear the family pet also died! I think the explanation lies in fur. Animals are cuter than even the cutest human because … they have fur. If our brain is more complex than that of an animal (and this point is some days arguable), then perhaps we were given an option and we couldn’t have our fur and our brain too, so we chose the brain. If humans had fur ….

          I side with your wife on the animal programmes. I actually enjoy learning about various species, their habits and habitats, but am not a fan of seeing them tear a young gazelle to shreds. 😥

          And yes, to those animals with which we shar our home, I think we are ‘pack’ and they take care of us. I take great pleasure from our family members who walk on all fours, and they often make me laugh when I am not feeling otherwise humorous. I cannot imagine a home without furry family members! 😀

          Liked by 2 people

          • We have often talked about having a dog or a cat, but considering how we felt when our son’s hamster died (buried in the garden with cage and all his toys, and my wife said a lovely piece) we never quite summon up the nerve.
            So we invested in metaphysical ones (some call them furry toys, but that’s just being picky) 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

            • Ah, I completely understand! In the past two years, three of our cats have died, and it is always tough. We have another now who will not last through the summer, I fear, but he has lived a very happy life for 17 years now. It IS hard watching them grow old, knowing that they will soon be gone. But for me, the love and memories are worth it, and since all ours are rescue kitties, we take comfort in knowing that we were able to give them years they would not have otherwise had.

              That said, I also have a number of metaphysical pets myself! 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Jill,
    I am on the side of decent treatment to all living life. Humans don’t treat fellow humans well as exemplified by the U.S. House republicans recent passage of their AHCA bill.

    I have often wondered if Mitt Romney lost his chance for the WH because of the story about him putting the pet dog on top oh his vehicle because there wasn’t enough room in his vehicle as the family headed out on a vacation.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 1 person

    • That story certainly did not help him any. We all, I think, have a soft spot for animals. I was so appalled at the picture of the Trump sons and the cheetah they had killed, that if I hadn’t already despised Trump, that would have done it for me. 😥

      Many hugs!

      Liked by 2 people

      • The day a ‘hunter’ goes out in naught be the barest of clothes, armed with a sharpened stick, a rock and a sling to hunt down and kill an animal for meat or clothing, I might say ‘Yeh. I guess that’s your choice’…..otherwise…Pffft!

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  4. Absolutely we have a responsibility to treat animals humanely and with respect, and I’m not just saying that because I have kittens watching over me while I type this reply. However, I am on the fence about some humans, …especially (these days) those with an R- in front of their names.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. So according to the logic of the above person, a child who “cannot acknowledge their responsibility has no rights?” They do of course. A seniles elderly person? A person with brain damage? A mentally ill person? On an on. All creatures have a right to be treated humanely and anyone who tries to deny this cannot acknowledge their responsibilities, but this does not of course, deprive them of their rights.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hmmmm … interesting perspectives! Humans were rather a late addition to the earth, as I understand, and we are likely the only species that even ponders these things, but I think it may all boil down to the definition of ‘rights’. Okay, back to animals for just a sec … when I say they have ‘rights’, I am not saying they have all the rights given to humans, for example the right to vote, or to own property. But I certainly believe they have the right to be protected and have their habitats protected. Same, I guess, with children … they have the right to be well cared-for, but not necessarily to own a gun, drive a car …

      Yes, I am grasping here … rambling, as it were, because both you and Hugh bring up valid, although opposing, points. I am out of my element on this one … my degrees are in political science and accounting, not philosophy! 😀

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  6. Good post — and a breath of fresh air in the political stench. But, to be a bit picky, I don’t think animals have rights, strictly speaking. They cannot acknowledge their responsibilities (so far as we know) and cannot therefore be said to have rights. We have responsibilities to ourselves to treat animals humanely, and that amounts to the same thing. But talk about “animal rights” is misleading — and leads to absurdities like “the rights of trees and rocks.” 🤔

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Hugh! Yes, I just couldn’t do political last night … my mind was spinning at mach speed and I was in danger of throwing something!

      To your point about animals and rights … I was pretty sure that would be your take, as we had this discussion once before. The reason I see animals as more pure than humans is because an animal will kill mainly only for two reasons: a) they need food, or b) they sense a threat to either themselves, their pack, or their young. Whereas humans will kill because they do not like the colour of your skin, your religion, or something you said.

      The other point I would make is that animals actually do, to some extent, take responsibilities. Animals in a pack tend to organize into a society of sorts, some protecting the pack, while others go out to hunt and bring back the food for the pack. And adult animals take care of their young … that, to me, is accepting responsiblity.

      Just my view on it all … you are the philosopher, and know far more about such things than I, so I am not really disagreeing with you, just expressing my thoughts. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. while animals do actually prey upon lesser animals, to…. um, eat them, in many cases….it doesn’t appear that animals become bullies just for the fun of it, or because it makes them important. My cats have never been known to step aside so another cat can drink first, or access the dinner bowl. However, having said that, I have with my own eyes witnessed neighborhood cats gathering to assist in an emergency, such as some very small kittens lost in tall grass during a thunder storm. The mother cat, Fluffy, (I kid you not_) had in fact several adopted kittens, in addition to her own…..Fluffy was obliged to stay “at home” with a group of kitten youngsters, but other cats actually found the lost kittens and delivered them to Fluffy, who was unable to personally go out and search for them. There are frequently reports of all sorts of wild animals adopting the young of other wild creatures and caring for them as their own.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I LOVE the story about Fluffy! And actually, my cats … well, certain ones anyway … will step aside from the food or water dishes to let another eat first. Sometimes I’m not sure if it’s a matter of politeness or bullying 😀

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      • probably some of both…there is a cat that comes around looking for girl cats, and everybody runs when he steps up to the food dish. On the other hand, my inside cats will defer to Baby, our little handicapped cat, and let her eat or drink first and not chastise her when she jumps on them by mistake.

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    • The activists were giving the pigs water while the truck was stopped at a red light. The driver, apparently having a “male PMS” day, got out of the truck, threatened the women, and called police. First, he said the pigs were private property and he had a right to transport them without food or water for up to 36 hours. Then, when pushed for further explanation by … I believe it was the Independent … he said he didn’t like the women “touching his truck.” Make any sense to you?

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  8. At the risk of sounding cynical, one can easily submit that animals are more human…than humans are human…whatever that may mean – especially when one perceives the way in which some ‘humans’ behave towards other ‘humans’. 😉 Hugs!

    Liked by 2 people

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