23 March 2012

Animal Rights - Human Wrongs

I have been meaning to write about this for some time, and since I have been affected and brought down by so many animal-related stories this week, I thought that now must be the perfect time. Although this has nothing to do with design, or art, it is to do with a great passion of mine, and therefore, a great passion of Leaff's.

I want you all to know just how difficult it is for me to write this post. I have so much emotion tied up in this subject, that I think I could spend my entire life writing about it - in the desperate attempt to make a difference. However, in order to get my point heard, I need to keep control, and deliver this concisely. On that note, I shall begin.

I care deeply about animal rights and I feel strongly that all animals should be treated with equal amounts of respect - as should all living things - yet I feel that it is a major misunderstanding among us as human beings.

I recently stumbled upon an article in the Mail Online, that demonstrates the point that I want to make in this post, perfectly. The article was on A bill of rights for dolphins, and the revelation from scientists that 'They're so smart that they must be treated as non-human persons'.  You can read the article here.

The Article

The article discusses the bill, which presents scientific evidence that supports the claim that dolphins are like humans, in the sense that they are self-aware, intelligent, emotional and have personality. Based on these findings, scientists, philosophers and animal welfare groups, have come up with a declaration of rights for dolphins.

These rights would also apply to whales, who - and I quote - 'would also be elevated above other animals by the list of rules, leading to whalers being classed as murderers'. Within these rights, whale watching trips would be regulated to respect the animals' privacy, and developers along with oil companies would be made to change the way they work, to consider the affects of their actions on these animals.

Not only does the bill state that dolphins should be 'valued as individuals' but that 'every individual member of the cetacean order - whales, dolphins and porpoises - has a right to life'.

The Point

You might ask what the negative is with this bill - from an animal lovers point of view - and there isn't any as far as these creatures go... I think the bill is spot on. What I find astounding, and what really riled me about this bill, is that to me, this should be the way that all animals are regarded.

While I understand that this bill has been focussed on this one group of animals - and that should it go through, it may open doors for lots more animals to be acknowledged - I still find it amazing that this bill is so dependant on intelligence. Why does it matter? To me, this says that animals with less intelligence should be treated with less respect - how stupid that idea is.

Perhaps my biggest gripe of all, lies in the statement that they 'have a right to life'. While I think that what these people are doing with this bill is wonderful, and should be looked up to, I am also outraged by the fact that this is just so suggestive that nothing - without our own level of intelligence, as human beings - is entitled to have a life.

If I am completely honest, I genuinely feel disgusted to be a human being, when I read things like this. I am more than angry with the stupidity and arrogance of our existence on this earth, and I am utterly fed up with the way that we think we own everything.

The Consequence

It is easy to think that these thoughts and actions just affect animals, but morally, they affect so much more - even ourselves. Is it really any wonder that today's generation are growing up to think that they can do what they want, when they want, how they want, and with no regard or respect for anything, or anyone around them? All we see is power trips and destruction of things that get in our way; wildlifeland; nature...

It is high time that we looked in the mirror at what we are doing to this beautiful planet of ours, and to ourselves. It is ironic that we value our intelligence so much - as the most advanced in the animal kingdom - yet we can make such massive errors of judgement and decision, without even realising it. We are animals of greed, in constant pursuit of power - over everything, and even each other.

The Difference

If all this post does is inform people of my feelings on this matter, then at least it has done that. Even better though, I hope that it will stir emotions and maybe even offer new perspectives.

I know that there are a lot of people out there that feel just the same as me, but my problem - and their problem - is the people who don't. Worst of all, I don't even think these people are necessarily lost causes; I think a lot of them just need to use their brains - to listen and consider other points of view and ideas - and of course, to learn to become leaders, rather than just switching their minds off and following the wrong crowd.

So here is to our planet and all living things. If you found this post interesting or moving in any way, please share it. I have really put myself out there with this, to try my best to make a difference - but I am just one person with a very quiet voice among so many. This could have put me off ever writing this at all - what difference can I make? Well, with your help, potentially quite a lot.


  1. Brilliant post. I'm also very active in animal rights and also trying to be more eco friendly. Will be sharing via facebook :)

  2. Thank you so much Jess - such great feedback, and I'm so grateful that you will help me to spread this.

  3. Wonderful post Kaitie, thank you for writing it. What you say at the end "It is ironic that we value our intelligence so much - as the most advanced in the animal kingdom - yet we can make such massive errors of judgement and decision, without even realising it." - I have never thought of it this way before and you are so, so right. The irony. Sad, sad irony.

  4. Replies
    1. Thank you very much for your support and taking the time to comment - is great to see a new face on here. I really appreciate it, and I am thrilled that this has stirred so many similar feelings in others.

  5. Thank you so much for your comment Charlotte - I am so pleased that you found it so interesting. Sad, sad irony indeed - something has to change x

  6. I just wanted to share a lovely email that I received off a lady, in reference to this post, because she really touches upon some interesting points...

    "I wanted to tell you how much I accord with everything you said. I feel as you do, angry and ashamed to be numbered among the human race. To define an animal by it's level of intelligence shows a remarkable lack of the same in our species. To suggest that an animal with a so-called 'lower' level of intelligence should have less rights than others I find offensive.

    I wonder how our race would feel if those deemed "less intelligent" (by what standard?) among us were treated cruelly on the basis that they don't deserve a life worth living, or God forbid, a humane ending to their lives.

    You have my full support!

    Very best wishes


  7. Anna highlighted some extremely interesting points by using comparisons to the human race. In reference to this, I will add another example of the huge gap between animal and human rights.

    You may remember the news story from 2010 - in a bull fighting ring in Spain, a bull escaped the ring and ran into the crowd - it caused minor injury to a few people. They destroyed the bull. For the majority of people to agree to punish an animal for running away from men who are trying to kill it, is just pure evil in my opinion - it can't get any worse.

    It is interesting when you compare this story to the fact that when human beings injure people (GBH), they are merely slapped across the wrists or given a short sentence. Heck, people can even kill fellow humans and get off lighter than the bull.

    I'm not saying that we should be destroying people, but I am saying that the bull should not have been. There are massive differences in 'morals' between what is the 'correct' way to treat animals versus what is the 'correct' way to treat a human being, and it is high time it was re-assessed.

  8. I share your passion and feel your pain... so many times I attempted to defend animals only to hear something on the lines of "they are stupid and I can eat them"... should we also enslave or eat humans who have lesser IQ? Or "But I won't be able to love without meat and milk!"... but does might make right? Use your brains, please, we are the ones who have a choice! Will share.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment Oksana - I really appreciate you taking the time to leave your thoughts, and I am so pleased that my post inspired you.

      You make some very interesting points about what the world may be like if humans were treated as animals are - people don't think enough about what it would feel like if it was them. I completely agree with your closing comment about using our brains - we are too ignorant of things that don't suit us.

      Thank you for sharing this - it really will help to make a difference if we can spread the word about how we feel.


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