A few weeks ago I was in my “Animals and Society” class at UCF and my professor made a statement to the class before we were getting ready to leave.
She stood in front of the class and said, “Don’t you think if we actually acknowledged how important animals are to the world the world would be a better place? If we acknowledged their value to the Earth, or if we respected their existence; if we treated animals with love and showed them truly that we cared about them, maybe we could save a few lives and maybe learn a few lessons about life?”
I was somewhat stuck in a stupor, baffled with how deep my professor went before sending us off. I sat in my chair, really pondering what she said. The rest of the day, I dramatically made sure I didn’t swat at any honey bees.
The other day during the homily, my priest stood in front of the pews and said, “Imagine what the world would be like if we as people actually showed how much we cared? Do you think the world would be a better place?”
This question hit me like a railroad train going 100mph. I was just amazed by how realistic and how powerfully current that question needed to be asked. I left the church to go see the church farm, and I spent extra time petting the goats, feeding the pig, and talking to the horses--showing them that I cared.
I don’t think it is a coincidence that these two instances happened a week from each other. And I don’t think it is a coincidence that the last male Northern white rhino, named Sudan, past away this month. It is like a bunch of moments came together to form a giant epiphany, and this epiphany I will share with you.
Animals are a part of our every day, whether we notice it or not. They are in our food, they are in our products, and they are in our materials. They are the names of our spirit animals or favorite cars and they are our loving pets, and our amazing zoo friends. They keep the world spinning, they have the power to crush cars, the power to kill us with their bare claws, the ability to fly, and the ability to adapt to a different branch color. They make us laugh, they show us love, they show us respect, they bring fear to your heart, and they bring life to our world.
And yet, we treat them like they are the dirt on the ground. Animals are tested for our drugs and products, shredded for their skin for our jackets and shoes, boiled alive for our bellies that are already over-fed, and they are forced to dance and jump through fire for our entertainment. They are leashed and dragged around, they are chained to cruelty, they are poked and pricked, they are shocked and beaten, they are mocked, and they are killed.
And for what? Because we think they benefit us? That is our species’ biggest flaw. We think everything was made for us. But it wasn’t.
We have no respect for others. Even if we do deep down, we don’t seem to, as a species, as a human race, to show enough that we actually care.
We as humans are the ultimate species; the ultimate animal of our world. We have plenty of power, plenty of knowledge, and plenty of understanding of the meaning of life. So then why do we act so rude and dumb to others and to our world? We know we are chocking the atmosphere, we know how we treat animals is wrong, and we know we are killing the Earth. And yet we just continue to do so for…?
I guess this is my epiphany. I have come to realize that we humans are too smart, too powerful, too capable of love for us to continue the way we have lived. Enough with the animal testing, enough with the animal cruelty, enough with the using animals for entertainment, enough with killing them for no reason. Enough is enough. We as humans are capable of caring, and we should commit to showing that we care not only about the other animals that walk this Earth but to each other as well.