When we were just youngsters, our parents helped most of us learn the difference between right and wrong. We learned that “right” was generally in accord with morality, justice, law, propriety, and the common good, for example.
On the other hand, our parents also taught us that “wrong” was about immorality, injustice, illegality, impropriety, and the common bad (to coin a phrase). In short, we learned as kids that we should be mindful not to do what we knew to be wrong and instead do what we knew to be right.
As adults, many of us consider ourselves to be humanitarians. When we act humanely, we are seen as having the good qualities of humans, including compassion, kindness, benevolence, and mercy. In an ideal world, each one of us would be humane-and collectively, all of humanity would exhibit the qualities that flow out of the word “humane.”
The Golden Rule comes to mind, whereby we are taught that we should behave toward others as we would have others behave toward us. In the case of this rule, “others” is most commonly taken to mean other humans-other people-regardless of their ethnic background or religious beliefs. I propose that we take a big step forward as “humane humans” and include ALL members of what we call the animal kingdom—not just the human component of that kingdom.
Having made this quantum leap in recognition and understanding, we can see that just as humans have what we call human rights, animals have what we call animal rights. It’s also important to see that these two sets of rights are compatible and essentially one and the same. If you support one set, you must logically support the other.
Check back next week for part 2 of this post.
This article was written by Craig Cline of Salem, Oregon. Cline is an animal issues advocate who is continuing to evolve toward becoming a “humane-itarian” and helping to right “animal wrongs” as part of that evolution.