Lost in the Wilderness (Animal Rights)

Being in the wilderness has me thinking about animal rights. The animals here are all so friendly and self-reliant. They come by my camp and pay their respects but don’t beg; they’re not looking for a handout. They appear to feel pretty safe around their anthropomorphic visitors.

They’re happy, I think, in part because they’re free to pursue their romantic relationships, form bonds of friendship, and, for the most part, live a full life to a ripe old age. Which, of course, is very unlike domesticated food animals who may in the best of circumstances be given the opportunity to live happy lives, albeit short ones, in green pastures, but may find themselves on factory farms where their short lives can only be pretty miserable, which makes me think about the ethics of eating meat.

According to Jane Goodall, animals are much more sensitive than we ever imagined. I take it Simians were some of her best friends so I guess she’s not anthropomorphizing the issue. Perhaps from an ethical standpoint we should all be vegetarians at least.

There is a rationalization for meat eating, though, that I find reasonable. The conjecture that, when pre-historic man harnessed fire, cooked food, heavy in protein ignited an intellectual growth that raised humankind, for better or worse, to the imaginative, inventive being she is today. I suppose this allows one to surmise that continued meat eating, done responsibly and in moderation is condonable.

But, as I sit here enjoying my animal friends I’m not inclined to see any of them as potential dinner.


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