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NOV 23, 2012: Why animals? (revisited, yet again)

Originally posted on this blog.

Despite having written about this before, I still sometimes get asked why I choose to focus on helping animals when there is so much else wrong with the world. Itís funny that in most cases, this question is asked by people who do absolutely nothing to help anyone beyond their immediate family, if that. Iím pretty sure that anyone who truly helps to make the world a better place will not ask silly questions about my priorities. This is because they will realize the importance of helping in and of itself, and will most likely be too busy helping to ask these types of questions. Still, here are some things to keep in mind if the ďwhy animals?Ē question does perplex you:

The first thing is that when it comes to how we mistreat other animals, the scale of the problem is enormous. Millions upon millions of animals suffer and die daily because of us. Anyone who truly respects the life of other animals will realize the magnitude of the problem, and will not need to be convinced. The people who are befuddled by people helping animals are those that simply havenít yet realized the importance of respecting other animalsí right to live and not suffer. To put things in perspective, letís pretend for a second that itís human beings that are in the position of these animals. Imagine slaughterhouses full of humans, humans chained up on short chains, forced to perform and be killed for sport and entertainment, hunted, humans abandoned when they are no longer cute. Yes, of course some of these things still do happen to us, but, for the most part they happen a lot less than they do to animals, and there isnít as much blatant exploitation mixed with a total lack of respect involved.

The second thing is that animals are innocent beings. Animals, much like small children, cannot defend themselves, and even if they could, they would be no match for our technology and our intelligence. Unfortunately, instead of using our intelligence to create a better world for everyone, weíve been using it to exploit, abuse, and bully other species for our benefit. What about children, one might say, or sweatshop workers? Arenít they innocent victims as well? Of course they are. This is a serious problem, and every conscious individual should be concerned about it. What is true, however, is that more and more countries are taking steps to remedy the problems of child exploitation and workplace injustices, and there are many more people in the world who at least recognize that these things are a problem. This is often not the case with issues of animal abuse. Most people unfortunately still cling to the idea that we are somehow justified in causing all this suffering and death, and that we have a right, as a higher form of life, to do whatever we want to other animals.

I believe animal rights issues to be pretty important, and I devote a lot of time to trying to improve the way we interact with other animals. Having said that, I also recognize the importance of helping in and of itself, and I will not question someoneís choices if they happen to feel passionate about something different from what Iím passionate about. Judging someone on the basis of whom they choose to help is just plain silly. There are many injustices out there, and plenty of room for all of us to chip in and help. We Effaists focus on our relationship with other animals because we truly believe that the current one is dragging the world down and causing a lot of negative consequences for us all. Others will choose to get involved in other issues, important issues they are equally passionate about or feel a personal connection to. So letís not waste our energy on silly questions, but rather do our best to try to improve the world that we live in. This will benefit all of us much more in the long run.

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