Under Microscope

It's another world under the microscope.

The Arrogant Animal

We are living beings. We are animals and more specifically, we are mammals. Evolutionary research shows that we are also part of the Great Apes family. The way we understand and imagine who we are must be in harmony with these facts. We cannot pretend that we are above the animal kingdom or the rest of the living world. We are just another species of animal on this planet. Our claim to superiority is certainly not as solid as we would like to believe. It may be argued that we are not even the best at survival. Certainly, there were species that could not compete with us in the past and went extinct. However, an equally clear fact is that many living beings are performing much better than us in surviving as a species; microbiological organisms are particularly interesting in this regard.
Whether we like it or not, we are still part of the food chain. We have to eat other living beings to survive. No matter what the dietary preference of a person is — an omnivore, a vegetarian, or a vegan — it is impossible to survive without consuming other living beings as food. After all, plants are also living beings. One can argue that vegetarianism and veganism are ideals that are impossible to achieve. Simply because of the existence of microscopic organisms and microscale animals that are ever present on plants. We are even part of the food chain from the other side of the pyramid. We are all eaten after we die, maybe with the exception of the cremated minority. A fringe minority is eaten even before death.
For some unknown reason, modern people still tend to believe that we humans are overseers of the planet and its ecosystems. The truth of the matter is that we are neither able to enforce such global rules and regulations on the planet nor are we needed in such a manner. What we need to do is to understand our place on the planet. When we start acting accordingly, the planet will continue to remain resilient.
Death is the only outcome of life. Therefore, only the circumstances of death and the conditions that are endured during life is what matters. All animals kill before they die. This is not only a carnivore behavior since herbivore animals kill plants to survive instead. Species of bacteria will attack the host animal or plant and exploit it until it dies. Yet we do not question the legitimacy or the ethics of bacterial infections. In a world where the ideas of justice and ethics are human constructions, animals and other living beings stay exclusively outside of these standards. Only in rare cases, animal behavioral patterns can be considered akin to what we call justice. Not surprisingly, these patterns are observed amongst our closest relatives.
The only logical solution to the ethical dilemma of killing is to approach the problem with measure. If a person kills a small bird in a park for no reason, we immediately condemn this action and certainly there are valid reasons for doing so. However, if an antibiotic kills millions of bacteria in a child’s body — essentially a mass murder of the specific species — all humans join their voices in unison when they celebrate this success. This is also quite understandable as we will always care more about our offspring than microorganisms that have no social relationship with us. Understanding both of these statements, we need to establish a consistent rule that creates a hierarchy of living beings. For instance, if ticks attach to a cat, we feel no remorse in suffocating the arachnids to provide comfort to the mammal. We certainly feel closer to mammals than arthropods. A closer inspection of this pattern reveals that we, more or less, favor living beings closer to us on the evolutionary tree over the ones farther than us. This might be a consistent and intuitive rule for human beings. Next time we are presented with an ethical dilemma about a gorilla and a child, this rule can provide an easier decision.
No matter what we say or want to believe, we exploit other living beings, and it appears that we will continue to do so. At this point it is up to us to regulate this exploitation. We have to test some of our drugs on animals to ensure we do not kill people while performing these tests and quickly develop the drugs so we can ultimately save even more people. To ensure proper nutrition for ourselves, it is quite likely that we will continue to eat meat, eggs, milk, etc.
Thinking positively about the issue allows us to see what can be improved about our relationship with every other living being on the planet. We cannot stop cancer research for the sake of laboratory chimpanzees, but we can stop every research project that can be categorized as recreational, such as cosmetic product testing. We cannot immediately stop killing chickens and still assume that we can provide the necessary nutrients to humanity in an efficient way, but we can certainly stop recreational captivity of animals immediately. After just a handful of generations, all captive animals can be forced into extinction. This would remove the tremendous amount of pressure these animals put on the ecosystems around them and improve the lives of millions of people. Instead of taking care of animals that neither appreciate nor need our help, we can start improving our relationship with each other and our planet. It might be smart to remember that domestic recreational animals are neutered or spayed on a regular basis. Only an intensification of this effort could solve the recreational animal problem for good.
Most recreational animals are genetically manipulated mainly to meet visual specifications of humans. Ultimately, these genetically altered animals are prone to diseases. Many of them live low quality lives as a result of their genetic shortcomings. If we come to peace with the fact that we are just another species of animal, we can see that we should not get to captivate another animal just for entertainment. Humans practically torture animals and call this training, while it is never justified why these animals have to abide by the rules set by these so-called owners. Humans, with no justification or proof, declare some animals homeless and force them into captivity, while the truth could not be father from this. Obviously, animals do not live in human homes and the species that need shelter build these shelters themselves. Many humans who treat animals as toys project unrealistic and unfair human traits on them. Many people who have a misplaced love for animals pretend like animals are their children, or they are their parents. The truth is again very clear on this matter. All animals have parents, but they are separated from their parents to satisfy the illogical needs of some humans. Frankly, most pets are adults and would prefer living an exciting but shorter life where they get to reproduce as they should. However, members of another species regularly make life changing decisions on their behalf. Neutering and spaying are ironically considered responsible pet ownership. Anyone who considers this issue with an open mind and a positive perspective can see that captivating, mutilating, and genetically manipulating animals for entertainment is neither just, nor ethical and it must be abolished as soon as possible.