How can sustainability succeed without animal protection laws? Humans need to treat nature with respect. Only then can we expect society to do better on environment.

Let’s treat animals like the science says we should.

The science is out on animals

Ethologists like Jonathan Balcombe, author of “What A Fish Knows”, are slowly debunking myths about animal intelligence. Man’s outdated perceptions of our underwater and in-the-forest cousins are coming to light as science meets PETA.

Animals are sentient beings. It’s not a romance novel, it’s the world we live in. Animals experience a wide range of emotions. The Pythagoreans believed that animals experience the same range of emotions as humans.

And the science increasingly shows compelling evidence that for many animals, that may be true. That includes fear, joy, happiness, shame, embarrassment, resentment, jealousy, rage, anger, love…

But our laws have to catch up. More countries are protecting animals, but there is still much work to be done. The scientific consensus on animal sentience does not match government standards in the developed world.

The animal manifesto

Every squirrel, every rabbit, every bear, every fish serves a clear, identifiable role in Earth’s ecosystem except for two creatures: invasive species like pythons in the Everglades…. and mankind.

Just to illustrate how poorly we perceive marine life and animals: ‘fish’ is a scientifically inaccurate term — there are more types of fish on Earth than there are land species. In fact, in a physiological sense, a tuna is more closely related to a human than a shark.

Humans as protectors

Man certainly plays a role in this crazy floating ball universe, but we’ve drifted so far from our hunter-gatherer origins that our ecological purpose is becoming harder and harder to define. As such, it is the moral responsibility of man to act as benevolent stewards for the vulnerable, voiceless animal kingdom.

Animal lives matter

Because animals can’t speak, we treat them differently. But non-verbal communication is not a sign of simplicity, it’s just a different way of conveying a message. Just like horses can’t write a speech, human’s can’t find natural shelter during a hurricane.

The next sustainability chapter of post-industrial society begins with a recognition of animals as they are, fellow Earthlings deserving of basic rights. As long as pigs are burned in gas chambers for a tasty bacon breakfast, our world is far from a sustainable dream.

Bottom line

Today, most advanced nations do not recognize animals as sentient beings. And we expect sustainable lifestyles to be widely adopted in our homes? You have to learn how to drive a car before lifting up the hood to fix it.

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