Thread: Animal Cruelty
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Old May 15th, 2013 (09:59 AM). Edited May 15th, 2013 by EGKangaroo.
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EGKangaroo
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Honestly, with arbitrary inflation or deflation of the us-group vs a them-group, we can make any measure we take beneficial for our selected we-group. As long as we only care about our us-group, we won't feel guilty about what we do to the them-group, and really, the human species is still having difficulties allowing every kind of human in existence into their us-groups. Whether we choose that us-group to be entirely discriminant on human species alone, whether we take dogs, cats, ferrets, goldfish, and other animals we've domesticated and accepted into our society into the equation, or whether we want the best for animals in general, comes down to how much we want to inflate or deflate what our us-group is. In the case of Fenneking, he draws an exact line at where our human species ends. Anything else is a them-group, and their benefits are not part of the benefits of the us-group in many cases. If we can use a them-group to benefit an us-group, only then is it okay to protect. So therefore, we shouldn't be obliged to care about the extinction of pandas, or of some animal that plays a minimal role in the ecosystem. Every line we draw between an us and a them will be arbitrary, even drawing no line will be arbitrary. And you can draw lines within lines. Celebi drew an us-group around not just humans, but around all animal life, and so would I. It's just as arbitrary as any other line to draw. So to establish this, any us-group, whatever you feel personally connected to, be it in essence or in your values, is valid. That's not an arguable point, but a personal question of ethics.

Calling the protection of an animal that does not benefit mankind a waste of resources isn't just logical thinking. It is sheer evangelism of what boundaries we have to set on what we do accept in the us-group and what not. We can be selfish, and say that human survival is our only duty, and the rest can suck it, but that is just as arbitrary as saying we have duty for the survival of our race, language, religion, city, neighbourhood, nation, genus, phylum, family, class, order, individual, whatever, that takes precedence over a them. In most cases, that's what politics like to do to us. We have several animals we are okay with accepting in the us-group. Dogs and cats are a good example. We can't say that the extinction of the chihuahua would damage our chances of survival, but it's acceptable to not want to let the breed die out, because people love them and we've long let them into the us-group, into society.

So why should it be acceptable to protect things we love? Empathy. The trait in human beings to empathise helped glue together society, and has taught us to watch for one another. We long to find something in common with each other, and we want to safeguard what we love. Our altruism has brought people together to strive towards a common goal. Heck, the entire project to keep pandas from going extinct is a classic example of how it brought international co-operation into motion. It binds people to share in their empathy. It has come to symbolise the ideal for why we should care about animals, like we care for each other, and not say "Who cares? It's not our problem." Of course, it doesn't have to be a problem of ours, if you define what you do care to protect and what you don't with a thick border, and say that this is what everyone should follow. But wherever we set boundaries does not matter. We protect because we have passion, and please let's never let an arbitrary choice of boundary get in our ways to live passionately.

To care, or not to care, that is the question.
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