Do animals have souls? Yes, every living being, from the animals down to the insects and tiny organisms, possesses souls. Like humans, they are also beings subject to the laws of Nature and the cycle of births and deaths. We may consider them ignorant, but they have their own language and intelligence. They also perform an important duty in creation and occupy an important place in the manifestation and evolution of life in fact, humans exist on a continuum with the rest of life and that we are not completely separated from other animals. Animals have their own life, their own interests and their own ability to feel pain – we should therefore not harm them or kill them.
Female animals suffer some of the worst cruelty inflicted by humans.
To animal industries, the ability to have babies is a valuable commodity. As a result, mothers of many species suffer physical and psychological stress that few of us can imagine.
Whilst every woman is different, we all value our right to decide what happens to our bodies. Human rights organisations and activists the world over are working hard to see all women afforded this respect.
For many female animals, her own body, and with it most of her freedoms, are taken from her the moment she’s born. In industries that trade lives for profit, all animals suffer. But because only females can reproduce, the suffering they experience is often uniquely cruel.
The good news is that while she isn’t given the freedom to choose her fate or the fate of her body, we can. Every day, we have the power to make a profound difference in the lives of these animals with the choices we make in our own lives.
For a mother, there is no greater fear than to lose a child. For dairy cows, this nightmare is a reality, repeated year on year. To keep them producing milk, farmers forcibly impregnate female cows yearly, often involving inserting an arm inside her during insemination. Then, within days of her calf being born, her baby is taken from her, so that the milk she is producing can be bottled for human consumption. Cows can be seen chasing after their calves and both mother and calf can be heard calling out for one another as they’re separated. Newborn males, called ‘bobbies’, will usually be sent to slaughter within a few days. For a female calf … her future is likely in the same system of cruelty as her mother, valued only for the milk she can produce.
Cows are sensitive and social animals. Mother and calf form a strong bond from the moment her baby is born. You can spare mother cows from the cycle of being impregnated and having their baby taken from them, by choosing dairy-free milks, cheeses, ice cream and yoghurt.
Dogs – In her lifetime, she will give birth to many litters of pups. Her puppies will go on to live in homes where their days will be filled with long walks, belly rubs, squeaky toys and treats. But she will never know love.
Treated as nothing more than puppy breeding machines, dogs in puppy factories live in conditions that would shock dog lovers. Investigations have found animals living in filthy wire-fenced cells, with no access to the outdoors and nothing to lie on except a wooden crate or concrete floor. Dogs have earned the title of “man’s best friend” because of their affectionate and loyal nature. But these dogs are deprived of the very thing they crave the most — love.
Many ‘breeding’ dogs will be killed when their ‘productive’ life is over. Those lucky enough to be rescued often suffer severe mental distress for years. Whilst the demand for puppies continues, dogs are at risk of suffering in cruel puppy factories
Chickens – Hens – Because it is only hens who can lay eggs, every single chicken trapped in a cage is female. She can’t stretch her wings, she doesn’t get to feel the sun’s warmth, she’ll never get to fulfil her natural desires to dust bathe or lay her eggs in private. She has all her freedoms taken from her, so that the egg industry can make a bigger profit on her eggs.
Anyone who has known hens will tell you that they each have a unique personality. Some are curious and social, others are reserved and keep selected company, and like us, they each have their own likes and dislikes. Free these intelligent animals from cages by refusing to buy cage eggs, reducing your egg consumption or leaving eggs off your plate altogether
Ever wondered what happens to all the roosters? When a new flock of chickens are hatched for egg production, the girls are sorted from the boys on their first day of life. Since roosters can’t lay eggs, they have no value to the egg industry. Still chirping, and trying to stand, newborn male chicks are thrown into giant grinding machines or gassed to death. This happens in all egg production systems — cage, barn, free range and organic.
Prawns-Shrimp – Even prawns in prawn farms have their bodies harmed to force them to reproduce. Female prawns have a hormonal gland behind their eye that regulates when they breed. Rather than provide the right conditions and wait for her to breed naturally, prawn farmers destroy this gland by cutting off her eye, usually with a pair of heated forceps. This traumatic procedure forces female prawns to reproduce more quickly — all so that prawn farms can maximise their profits. Prawns who have their eye cut off become disoriented and can be seen rubbing the wound for relief. No animal deserves this.
Pigs – Like dairy cows and breeding dogs in puppy factories, female pigs in the food industry are repeatedly impregnated — their bodies and their piglets used for the profit of humans. Pregnant female pigs in factory farms are forced to give birth in ‘farrowing crates’, which are essentially a metal cage too small for her to even turn around. Her piglets are born into a world devoid of any of the comforts a new mother craves for herself and her young. The crate provides enough room for them to suckle from her as she lays there, but little else.
Due to a high demand for animal products, and an industry motivated by profit, animals have become victims of extreme suffering
Take the first step to creating a kinder world for all mothers and animals by becoming a vegetarian.
Everyone deserves freedom, love, comfort, kindness, respect, compassion, choice … and the choices that we make have the power to shape the world of tomorrow, both for animals and for humans.
Throughout history individuals have condemned various practices that they considered to be cruel to animals.
Renaissance polymath Leonardo da Vinci, for example, was troubled by the sight of birds in captivity, and (according to biographer Giorgio Vasari) once purchased caged birds in order to set them free. He also expressed anger within his notebooks with the fact that humans use their strength and power to raise animals for slaughter.
René Descartes contrarily believed that non-humans are automata, complex machines with no soul, mind, or reason. In Cartesian dualism, consciousness was unique to human among all other animals and linked to physical matter by divine grace. However, close analysis shows that many human features such as complex sign usage, tool use, and self-consciousness can be found in some animals.
Charles Darwin, by presenting the theory of evolution, revolutionized the way that humans viewed their relationship with other species. Darwin believed that not only did human beings have a direct kinship with other animals, but the latter had social, mental and moral lives too. Later, in The Descent of Man (1871), he wrote: “There is no fundamental difference between man and the higher mammals in their mental faculties.”
Some philosophers and intellectuals, such as Peter Singer and Tom Regan, have argued that animals’ ability to feel pain as humans do does make their well-being worthy of equal consideration. There are many precursors of this train of thought. Jeremy Bentham, the founder of utilitarianism, famously wrote in his An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation (1789):
“The question is not, can they reason nor can they talk? but, can they suffer?”
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