No sooner did I finish writing about how robots seem to be usurping our humanity when the Supreme Court of the State of Oregon rules that a dog has special rights heretofore unrecognized. This in turn led me to a search of the usual suspects on Google typing in “animal rights documentaries” and alas, the writing on the wall was clear. Robots may be something in our near future but the elevation of animals to a status unknown in the history of mankind is already upon us.
There were dozens of documentaries going back decades either decrying the abuse of animals in factory farming or decrying the use of animals in medical research. Frankly, there was just a lot of decrying associated with all of these documentaries. Although I am as against animal cruelty as the next person, there is a litany of medical advancements that came about via animal testing. Human beings living with HIV/AIDS, cancer, asthma and hearts and lungs that need replacing have all benefitted beyond measure through sober and, as humane as possible, animal testing.
With the outrage over the accidental taking of Cecil the Lion by a hunter still fresh in the public’s imagination, the recent untimely demise of a gorilla in the Cincinnati Zoo prompted scores of people to categorize both acts as “murder.” From a biblical point of view, neither could ever be so categorized. How do people get this kind of misinformation? You don’t have to watch all of these documentaries about “animal rights” to learn how. All you have to do is read the synopsis on the DVD packaging. There is a documentary called “Speciesism” which equates human exceptionalism with Nazi or KKK views of superiority over “lesser” races. Just read the following promotional copy for this documentary: “In 1975, a young writer published a book arguing that no justifications exist for considering humans more important than members of other species. It slowly began to gain attention. Today, a quickly growing number of prominent individuals and political activists are adopting its conclusions. They have termed the assumption of human superiority speciesism.”
This decades old documentary could then be easily dismissed as a fringe opinion but looks outright prophetic as it syncs up with a lot of what passes for “mainstream thought” in regard to viewing the animal kingdom as equal to human, but in many respects far superior…which is a kind of speciesism as well isn’t it?
Who hasn’t marveled at the photography and information presented in British naturalist David Attenborough’s more than half a century of work. His soothing, British accent telling us about behaviors and attributes of animals at the four corners of the world became beautiful HDTV windows into God’s creation. If only Sir David Attenborough thought that way, which, as this quote from him makes explicitly clear, he does now. “We are a plague on the Earth.” He wasn’t talking about Oakland Raider fans…He was casting all of us homo sapiens into the same deep end of the gene pool.
This past week in no lesser-esteemed publication than the Los Angeles Times, another facet to this broken gem reflected light. It was a review of sorts of another upcoming documentary about animals. This one, “Unlocking the Cage.” Actually, it was more focused on the human, a lawyer who has been fighting for legal protection for animals as persons. But the article, at least to me, was rife with some really disturbing quotes. Take the very first sentence, written by Los Angeles Times reporter Amy Kaufman — “Is an animal’s life always worth less than a human’s life?” She has to ask this question? Sadly, the writer believed she did, and sadder still, there are those who would emphatically answer that question in the negative.
The Bible is either right or it is not. And any reading of the Old or New Testament makes it abundantly clear that we, human beings, made in the image of God, were placed here for a grander purpose. We lost our innocence in the Garden. The animals retained theirs. In exchange, we have free will and the inheritance of a loving Father. So is an animal’s life always worth less than human life? Ask the guy on the cross.