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Guillermo Romero-Feito

Wilmington Friends, 10th grade

Animal Injustice

As a kid, we all were deadly afraid of little creatures roaming around the area, in our house, on our balcony. Whenever we saw a creature, our human instincts told us 1 of 2 things; scare it away violently, or run to our parents to tell them to disturb it. Why? Why, as kids, were we scared of insects we saw as “bad guys”, but we were perfectly fine when our parents got us a new dog or a new cat? I bet you as a kid, or even now, you never really knew how to answer this. If you were asked, and I asked a couple of my friends to assure myself, many people would answer: That it is just human nature, it is the way it has been and will always be. Imagine you were a little creature yourself, imagine having your little world, a little house with your friends, but then your whole life was torn apart by humans. This is how these little creatures, may I also state harmless creatures, feel whenever their home is destroyed. The two main causes of this inhuman act all point towards one of the fundamentals of life; treating everyone equally no matter what. Both animal and environmental injustice cause the environment to shake up as if the environment and animals were fighting a continuous devastating war, one that they could and will not win unless humans intervene to help. 

As I sat down outside to write this essay, I saw a spider next to me. Most people would do the “normal” thing, killing it or running away. However, I let it live. Why? Because it has a soul, it has a life as valuable as ours. Why do we kill animals we don’t like? Why do we not like certain animals? As I looked for an answer to this question, I stumbled upon the roots of this question;  Utilitarianism.  Utilitarianism is a philosophical branch that states that you should make choices based on what will contribute the most to the overall happiness and well-being of humans around you. As I researched deeply in this topic, I read an article written by Peter Singer, a famous philosopher, he stated, “Why should our pain be accounted for, but not the pain of all the other living creatures that suffer?”  Animals experience many of the same emotions that humans do, they feel, pain, and suffer as well. Although Utilitarianism was the root of the question, I was able to find why humans acted this way; a term called Speciesism. Speciesism is the belief that humans are superior to any other creature on Earth. Speciesism can be seen alongside terms like racism and sexism, it is just another word for discrimination against animals and other non-human creatures. The problem with Speciesism is that we value our lives more than animal lives based on ONE characteristic that humans are higher-graded in than animals are; smarts. The problem with Utilitarianism thoughts is that wanting nothing but happiness for everyone will not be achieved by not eating types of animals, as some people enjoy doing so and therefore will end up being unhappy. One question that remains from this is whether it is Utilitarian if we kill animals to maximize the happiness of many people. Does the happiness of people override the happiness of animals? Why would this be the case? As mentioned, we value animals based on the criteria of smartness. However, animals are stronger in other criteria, according to an online article that I read . There are many other characteristics as valuable as smarts that animals are more capable of. For example, consciousness. It is proven that animals have a better “consciousness”, meaning that they see the world better and more clearly than humans. Another is memory, animals have a perfect memory, and some can even retrace their steps on long migrations. If this is true, why do humans criticize animals based on a characteristic we know we are more capable of? This is just one of the reasons why treating animals is unfair and unjust. One problem leads to another, and before we know it humans are not only treating animals as inferior but also the environment around us that has the animals within. Animal injustice should not be overlooked as a part of “human nature” as every animal deserves the same rights as those that humans have. With this in mind, we could not only save many animals but we could also save the environment and shape the world for a better future. 

Imagine yourself driving through downtown Wilmington, or anywhere near a major city. Now imagine looking out the window, and seeing nothing but a clear blue sky and a sunny day with the smell of fresh air. That is what the future could look like if the environment was treated better now. Although animal injustice and environmental injustice are not deeply connected, the environmental impacts caused by animal injustice, like pollution and destruction of habitats, can lead to environmental problems.  Imagine your home and the neighborhood around suddenly collapsed without your prior knowledge, and in an instant you were left with nothing then yourself. Deforestation is a big issue that not only the environment but also leads to animal injustice and harms the animals within. Forests are cleared in the woods for many reasons, but mainly to advance human life by constructing infrastructure, tourist attractions, and agricultural land. What good does this do to the animals and the environment all around? This is just another form of the idea of Speciesism, as mentioned before, which states that humans believe they are superior. Although deforestation advances human technology and agriculture, it impedes the advancement of animals. Deforestation creates homes for humans but destroys those of animals. It gives food to humans but does not give food to the animals. As deforestation cuts down the environment little by little, animals now have to find new shelter, new breeding grounds, new food sources, and new hiding places from predators. Some types of plants and animals need special terrains and habitat conditions that can only be found in certain places all around the world. If these forests were destroyed, these types of habitats would be limited and hard to access for those animals and plants that need them, leading them to extinction. Going back to the idea that animals need new hiding places from predators, the forest plays a big role in the way that the ecosystem works, and altering it would change the whole scheme. All the living things within that forest depend on one another to survive, whether directly or indirectly. Cutting down trees and destroying the environment would cause some animals and plants to be redirected, altering the course of the ecosystem and potentially causing some animals or plants to lose their meals which would cause them to find a different food source, and the cycle continues until everything has changed.  Environmental injustice leads in so many ways to animal injustice, in ways that humans don’t even think of. 

In Conclusion, Animal Injustice is found in many different ways, directly and indirectly. It is caused by animal cruelty, environmental injustice, and so many other things that no human pays attention to until it happens to them, which it will not as humans care more for other humans than they do for animals, even if we all share the same traits at some different levels. Think about it this way: Not every human is alike, some are very different in fact. Not every animal is alike, some animals are also very different from each other. Should we treat humans differently if they are disabled or if they are different from us? Most would answer no, so why would you change your answer to a yes if instead of humans it were animals? Utilitarianism states that choices should be chosen based on what benefits all the most, but why should animals and plants be out of the equation in this question? Next time you are out in nature or just walking around, look around you and look at all the precious animals and plants. Now imagine them as humans, how would you treat them? Whatever you thought of, that’s how you should treat animals, plants, and nature around you. 


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