It is fashionable to defend animals, and that is good. It also seems to be fashionable to defend animals more than people, are animals more human than people?
Some time ago I went to a meeting of friends. There I met the friend of one of my friends. When I heard her speak, my first impression was to admire her passion for defending “furry little friends,” as she called pets, I imagine even turtles, birds, or fish. I consider myself a lover and defender of animals, but that morning one of her comments left me cold: “Of course I care more about animals than people, and that is what I teach my children.”
Animals are more human than people
Several of my friends agreed, some even said: “It’s that animals are more human than people.” At that point, for lack of something better to say, I chose to keep quiet. Yet those words keep spinning in my head.
I anticipate that I do not mean to judge you. We all want to educate our children to be good men and women, train them in respect and love for all creatures, but are animals more important than people?
It is true, many times it hurts us to see the mistreatment that many animals suffer in too many places. They are things that make me angry and lead me to act in their defense. I, for example, talk to my children to explain to them at their tender age that all life is sacred, that their duty is to take care of nature but I will never, ever put the life of any animal on the value of a person’s life. Not even if he is the most adorable puppy, against the most vile murderer.
Pets are part of the family
I don’t know how many people there are who think like my friend’s friend. I recognize that animals are precious. They can be loyal, tender, they can be the best company for those who feel alone, even and very often, they save lives. But they are finally animals. If the dog wags its tail and barks at you, it is because your presence indicates well-being and safety, not because it has reasoned about the time it took you in traffic before you got home. Animals experience sensations such as cold, heat, pain; but not even the most evolved species “close to man” are capable of reasoning: they are not free beings but fully instinctive; they do not appreciate a starry night, the beauty of a Van Gogh, and they will never laugh at a joke.
Unlike man, a lion attacks because it is so programmed by instinct; never a lion will attack another to record it and upload it to YouTube. Never will a lion sacrifice his life for the freedom of a lamb. Having a pet brings many benefits for the emotional development of children, and we can even consider them part of our family, but unlike other members of the family, they cannot stay in charge of a sick person, advise us to make a complicated decision, nor help us in an economic problem, don’t you think?
By becoming parents, human beings reconnect with an animal instinct, for the protection of the species. You discover a force that you did not know you had, to defend your children. And that force, little by little, defends them not only from physical threats, but also from emotional pain, from abuse, seeking the fullest fulfillment for them. But, unlike any animal, we can love. We can know, choose, and love. This gives us a dignity superior to any other animate and inanimate organism.
Responsibility with our puppies
I recently saw a poster on the internet with a message that was both tender and brutally true, a little panda with a sign: “save human babies.” Such passion for saving puppies, dolphins, leopards, would have to translate into an enormous passion for every boy and every girl who in our world today suffers the most terrible abuses; for every pregnant woman, alone and scared; for each head of the family who, no matter how hard she struggles, has not managed to get bread for her children.
A human being can be monstrous, inhuman, ruthless. It can, in many ways, descend in bestiality below any beast. But that does not make animals superior: what it does is give us that responsibility that the poster gives us, of caring with love and educating human babies with values, so that they rise to the height of those great men who have changed the world. history.
I think of my friend’s friend, and I make the decision to put more effort into educating my children in respect and love for nature, especially for its most important member: every human being. And you, reader friend, what do you think?