How treatment of animals informs human values
Regarding Barbara Cook Spencer's April 11 Opinion piece, "When we abuse animals we debase ourselves": As a physician, I could not agree more with Ms. Spencer that the abuse and denigration of animals also debases humans.
Victims of human rights violations often express an understanding for the plight of animals abused and exploited by humans. In Pakistan, I have witnessed how impoverished and abused children and women identify with the abused work animals.
These people who have suffered tremendously know that the oppression of humans and that of animals shares the same origin.
We know animals suffer immensely, both physically and mentally, in research laboratories, in factory farms, in circuses, and on fur farms.
There can no longer be any doubt about this. We know that animals suffer from depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder, as human victims of abuse do. And we know that when we show empathy and compassion toward other species, we also treat other humans with more kindness.
Expanding the circle of compassion is in everybody's best interest.
Aysha Akhtar, MD, MPH
North Potomac, Md.
Regarding Barbara Cook Spencer's recent Opinion piece on how society views the treatment of animals: The piece challenges humanity to fulfill our humaneness to our fellow creatures.
Is not the golden rule essential to the way we consider our relationships? For instance, how would you feel being helplessly submissive to superior beings in control of your existence? How would you like done to you what is done to animals?
In response to Barbara Cook Spencer's recent Opinion piece on animal cruelty: The author exposes an interesting conundrum in her exploration of how modern society treats animals.
While gratuitous cruelty toward animals clearly lowers humanity's value, the same can be said of the gratuitous elevation of animals' worth.
The same animal advocates who rush to judgment about the reckless behavior of a few slaughterhouse employees apparently see nothing wrong with extending legal "rights" to lab rats – regardless of the cost to cancer and AIDS patients.
Doesn't the establishment of legal rights for these animals also debase humanity?
At the end of the day, it is probably impossible to guarantee both "rights" for animals and disease cures for humans.
I see siding with my own species as the only compassionate option.
Research director, Center for Consumer Freedom
Regarding Barbara Cook Spencer's recent Opinion piece on animal abuse: The otherwise sensitive piece curiously omits the ultimate in cruelty to helpless animals: hunting.
While we all have "nice" friends who hunt, it remains true that their "sport" consists of exploiting human advantages in intelligence to stalk and kill their defenseless victims.
Ms. Spencer is right when she laments, "It should be obvious that human beings are the ones demoralized by the commission of inhumane acts."
Albert L. Weeks
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