Since when I was a child I keep asking myself why did we, as a species, stuck with the mind. We became the most successful one, we have ensured our survival among the others but, somehow, on the other hand thinking (with its direct consequence, knowledge) has poisoned our peace of mind and innocence that look like being lost forever. Our moments of peace and comfort seem to be temporary. We created religion and art which give us some assurance that the soul is eternal. But that seems to be rather a counteraction symptom of a metaphysical death fear that superior human consciousness, as intelligence and experience consequence, put in our way. In addition to such ancestral fear, the civilization gives us daily reasons for desolation, observing how the rules are changing during the game and how the injustices and the abuses happen everywhere. Actually our ability to think has brought a disturbing different side of the story. The depressions in the civilized world reach over 80%. That means that, somehow, 80% of people would (unconsciously) like not to exist. It is frightening. Many don not attempt actual suicide due to the death pain fear moment or to religious principles. Somehow, our intelligence seems to be rather damnation than a quality.
And yet, I trust in the nature wisdom. Nobody wanted to punish us as a species by giving thinking and consciousness. I am convinced that these are nature qualities meant to protect and promote the environment itself. Our moral anguish that surrounds us concerning the ecological disasters that we have done in the past or we might do in the future, show actually what is its purpose. The life protection in all its diversity, creating races and even new species of animals and even moving them to another galaxy in a few millions or billions of years, when the sun will have exhausted its energy, is the purpose of this strange mind capacity that we ourselves do not understand yet and do not know what to do with. The human being is not life executioner but its child. The life has put hopes and invested in human being just as parents do in offspring. The intelligence does not belong to human being only but to life as a whole. If we bring water into the empty deserts and if we bring life on other planets then the human mind has washed away all its past sins. The crimes of history that we did against other species and against our own fellows would be forgiven.
But we are not yet the mature human being that our mother nature wants from us. We are still primitive despite cultural and technological chasm that separates us from the rest of living creatures. We are still children. But, even now, from our early childhood, we must make this life saving exercise in order to practice it when will grow up. We can say that the problems that we have now, the environmental disasters that we deeply feel that must avoid, are actually some tests in which the nature put us like a parent curious to see how the child evolved.
I read the opinion (http://www.gandul.info/puterea-gandului/caini-si-oameni-11290769) whose main theme is the stray dogs killing. This article is full of contradictory to each other ideas or to their consequences. It is not my propose here to analyze them in detail, I just focus on one of them, namely the right to kill dogs would be legitimate since we have the right to kill for food, on the one hand, like we do with the pigs, the cows and the chickens and, on the other hand, the right to kill for our safety, like we do with the cockroaches or rats.
Such a view continues the ancient Protagoras statement that “man is the measure of all things”. Indeed, I agree, the human being is the supreme value. But, if mocks with the environment, the human being needs a flick to wake up no matter who it might be. That is what the human species needs today that came close to the point of suffocation the environment. Therefore, now, that the man power over other creatures got so big, the Protagoras’s maxim should be reconsidered. If follow it blindly, we can reach an absurd result. Killing all the animals and multiplying ourselves beyond the current economy sustainability, according to this, may seem a good thing because the human species would flourish for a while. Yet, in the long term, such an action would be a catastrophe because, without animals, the human being might not be able to survive any more. In the best case our life would be very difficult and our species would reduce the area. That is why we should not let ourselves seduced by a superficial understanding of our privileged relationship with other creatures under us, although we are in the top of the food chain. That is why we need to limit our moral power both in front of the other creatures and in front of our fellows.
It is true that, as a species that just came into civilization, the human being feels a certain pleasure killing and hunting. Such pleasure is a natural consequence of the nutritive instinct whose wild ruins still survive in our DNA. But, at the same time, most of us empathize with our victims and with the prey that we kill. The end hunting rituals are practiced by both modern and primitive hunters. We pity the animal killed and we are flooded by depressive feelings analyzing our act, no matter how we justify it in terms of our own survival necessities. This is the “practical reason” that I. Kant used to speak. It applies to reporting to the rest of living things, not just to other members of our own species. The practical reason is not just a maternal complex projected into the species that we breed or hunt but a independent moral force with a very precise self-regulating function. I am sure that the maternal and the traumatic complex can strengthen such a force in the psychical system court. But the practical reason exists besides these complexes as separate physical pulsion.
At this point we can say that the human species preservation in the current status, in terms of both conservation and expansion limitation, is a moral action. First, as it concerns the conservation purpose, breeding and killing animals for food but also the wild animals controlled hunting is a moral action according to rational principles in Protagoras. On the contrary, stopping growing human population, especially in Far Eastern areas, may be a moral action since the human expansion led to putting other species close to extinction. Declining birth rates in western civilized areas attest this trend, providing moral higher chances of survival for endangered species. Any attempt to destroy the environment in civilized areas for the illusory goal of increasing living standards, there where the standard of living is already very high, is an immoral action.
Moreover, there is a top of animals’ importance regarding man and life in general. There are certain more valuable animals than others. Some are endangered, others thrive in man-made farms. In this moral evaluation there two key elements are considered that decide which animal is closer and which is farther away from us. The first one is the ability to think. The other one is the affection. Animal thinking can help us in our human goal to promote life. Therefore we have a duty on our turn to protect the smartest animals among the less smart ones (regarding a roughly equal numbers of individuals). The affection that the animals show us, their fidelity in love for us associate them with the maternal love that is a true shield for life for each of us. The affection that some animals give can motivate us to believe that our millennium turmoil has goal and it worth to be continued. We feel more painful a dolphin hunting than a reindeer, moose or African antelope hunting just because the dolphin is a smart and very affectionate species. Killing a dolphin for food seems close to killing a neighbor for food; it is immoral if the environment has enough food but may become acceptable if scarcity.
The human reason avoid killing this kind of animals for food just because such a gesture look like pure cannibalism since they are so much alike us. There are some primitive tribes today that until recently practiced cannibalism as a form of hunting and only the authorities’ pressure stopped it. But surely, as Europeans and civilized people in general, we consider it as a macabre practice although, in the twentieth century, we also practiced it sporadically.
Perhaps if we would live in the Far East then the dogs killing for food would not be perceived as a barbaric act precisely because, considering the absence of food, such a practice justifies preservation of the human species. But killing dogs without such a condition becomes a total immoral action. This principle applies not only to dogs. If we kill pigs, cows and chickens just for the sadistic pleasure to kill and not for our own species survival justification, then our gesture is truly inhuman. An example for that is the bosons pointless killing in North America after it has been conquered by European colonists. They have destroyed a lot of bison herds with the intention of indirectly hitting the Native Americans who depended on these animals. Such prolonged massacre remained in history as a barbaric act. Fortunately, the white Americans colonists themselves have realized that due to their moral conscience that speaks and accuses from the depths of the human soul. That is why, later, when some Europeans had similar ideas to exterminate “inferior races” the former eugenicists colonists showed their human face and opposed this plan.
There is a totally different fact about exterminating or trying to exterminate vermin. Killing these animals is not the same with killing stray dogs as pointed in the quoted above article. First, according to the mentioned criteria, cockroaches show no affection and no ability to think to be very close to human being and thus we have to evaluate them differentially than we do with the dogs. Then, just like the flies, they can be dangerous to our health by walking through the dirty or unsanitary places. If cockroaches would not threaten our health then I would leave them alone. We decimate them because they could bring harmful substances in our food. Likewise did the rats, famous for spreading diseases like cholera or plague. These diseases have practically decimated humanity in past centuries. The fear we inherited from those periods remained as collective unconscious trauma.
But since the medicine has advanced and these diseases have been removed, it is possible that, in future, the rats become pets. That is what happened with the wolf. This animal terrorized us for thousands of years, eating our domestic animals and threatening our wellbeing. Today, when these animals are industrially reared in isolated farms, the wolf is no longer a problem. After being decimated in recent centuries, recently the wolf came to be protected and respected. The polecats used and still use today to kill the peasants chickens but recently they became some very cute playful pets. But the opposite can also happen, if raccoons, rats and bears enter our vital space bringing trouble to our life by stealing our food and threatening our hygiene, then we can become exterminators again. That would also be a temporary solution until the medicine would find solutions thus the old threats will turn in partnerships. Today, many animal species are involved in direct competition on the resources with humans. But there are also reasonable voices calling to reduce human expansion in wild spaces and there are intense debates about this issue.
Either way, the human race cannot survive without the other species and without a healthy environment. Indeed we are the measure of all things, yes we are the most important species, but if we want to abstractly show our power by torturing animals just for a morbid pleasure, by killing them without the necessity of our own species conservation purposes and by making their lives hard, as some of us do, we actually prove otherwise. We prove that we are not smart enough since we feel the need to race with them. In this way, the nature looks like should invest in another species (or, let's say, other individuals of the human species) in order to achieve the goal of helping and protecting life against future terrestrial or cosmic cataclysms.
The social system educates us in the spirit of individuality in order to decimate our political power. Isolation, desolation and uprooting are the consequences of this reality. As we estrange from others day by day, a pet or even a random animal, whatever it may be, can be our salvation. An animal can anchor us into reality, against the human nature corruption into false dreams and ideals that, on the long term, could endanger our own species and other species below us. An animal can teach us to enjoy the simple things and to take the world as it is but not desperately change it for fitting our personal insignificant ambitions raised from a mental uprooted background. If our human mind would become so corrupt so that we would not pay attention to the wisdom of nature, being lead by the immediate utility greed, then we risk extinction. Personally, I am not really afraid of such black future because I am convinced that the human spirit is still strong. But, by the power I acquired, especially in the last century, we could destroy the earth in a few minutes. Existing atomic bombs in the world at this time can destroy the human species and most species on Earth. The innocent eyes of an animal or a child can temper our criminal sublime revolutionary - technological- social actions. Therefore I say NO to killing stray dogs just like I say NO as environmental destruction.