December 12, 2010 § Leave a comment
I’ll preface this blog with the fact that I’m kind of playing devil’s advocate and know that dolphins and chickens aren’t on the same level.
I don’t really understand why we feel compassion for certain animals but are indifferent to the suffering of others. I have always struggled with why people are so eager to defend certain animals yet have no problem with supporting the mass murder of others. When I was little I read a statistic about how dolphins and cows come from a common ancestor, something to think about. It’s surprising that people are so willing to protest the slaughter of 23,000 dolphins in a year when they gladly support industries that mercilessly kill 35 million cows in the same amount of time and 23 million chickens per day. I think that in order for humans to feel sympathy towards animals they must project human-like qualities onto those animals. In the case of dolphins intelligence (and their ever present smile) plays a huge role in why we relate to them but the source of an animal’s value doesn’t necessarily stem from our perception of their intelligence but greater influenced by factors such as cuteness. I will use the overused statistic favored by vegetarians, pigs are smarter than dogs but they aren’t quite as cute or cuddly. I’m not going to argue against the fact that dolphins are very special animals, it’s just that I think that all animals are valuable.
October 11, 2010 § 5 Comments
Bambi, The Lion King and Call of the Wild share many similarities. In each story there is a strong natural order and a social hierarchy in which one species dominates over another. Each protagonist also has a destiny to fulfill and inner strength that must be recognized. In Bambi, the title character had to mature in order to fill his father’s shoes as Great Prince of the forrest, Simba had to take charge and bring order back to his kingdom, and Buck must recognize the beast within. Another similarities between the three stories was the fact that all of the title characters underwent a transformation and came of age. For me the most striking similarity was a theme of respecting nature and its creatures.
Both of my parents are strict vegetarians. Despite my mother’s own refusal to eat meat she always left the decision up to me. I have never had meat in my life, not one bite (except that one time with my nanny at the grocery store but I spit it out) but my mom actually encouraged it. I of course couldn’t bear the thought of eating a dead animal and I think that these three stories actually led me to remain a vegetarian.
In Bambi, cute, lovable animals are destroyed for sport. As a little girl Bambi made me feverntly opposed to hunting and taught me to respect the natural world.
The Lion King also has some serious animal rights themes. The Lion King reinforced the respect for nature that Bambi introduced me to. It reminded me that just because you are “superior” to something does not mean that you should disrespect it just because you can. All links of the food chain are to be respected as they are all crucial aspects of the circle of life. It’s interesting that Simba ends up living off of bugs. All animals in The Lion King are personified but since the bugs weren’t it’s almost like Simba was living a off of a vegetarian diet.
In Call of the Wild, Buck is tormented by man. The first time I read Call of the Wild I became obsessed with dogs. I would wear those really ugly dog shirts with no intention of being ironic and volunteered at animal shelters with my friend. I would never eat a dog and knew that I could never eat a pig either.
Bambi, Call of the Wild, and The Lion King are kind of like PETA’s wet dream. Man is a source of corruption and a force of evil that exploits and abuses the natural world. Each story personified animals in such a way that they were more than cute they were human. These stories led me to respect nature and teach all children to do the same.