The Straits Times Forum
4 Oct 07
Let's pay more attention to animal welfare
Letter from Anthony Lee Mui Yu
I WRITE this as a concerned human and Singaporean.
Every Oct 4 is World Animal Day to celebrate animal life in all its forms and our relationship with the animal kingdom. And to acknowledge the diverse roles animals play as companions, et cetera, that bring a sense of wonder into our lives. As well as to thank animals for the way in which they enrich our lives.
This year, Acres (Animal Concerns Research & Education Society) will hold a three-day event (Oct 5-7, 10am-10pm) at the Atrium @Orchard (adjacent to Plaza Singapura). There will be photographic and other exhibits, music, dance and children's activities.
There is a global 'Animals Matter To Me' campaign to petition support for a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare intended for national governments to endorse at the United Nations. Signatures will be collected at this Acres-organised event. More information is available at http://www.acres
. org.sg, http://animalsmatte
r.org and http://www.wspa-
The intent is for the UN and humanity to recognise animals as sentient beings capable of feeling pain and suffering. And that animal welfare is an issue of importance in the social development of individuals, nations and humanity.
With global capitalism/material ism and violent terrorism, humanity seems to pale fraying in respect, empathy, sympathy and humility. These sentiments, in whatever tatters remaining, do not benefit non-humans much in terms of safety from violence and distress. Be it outright abuse (forced feeding, experimentation and beatings) and killing or deprivation from movement, sustenance and medical care (as livestock, for furs and for entertainment) .
'Charity begins at home' that always stops at the door of non-humans is indefensible. There will always be humans bent on reproducing themselves unsustainably, demanding that other humans prioritise their succour - never attempting to meet aiders half-way by curtailing their reproduction. Animals that do so would be massacred en masse as 'pests'.
As humans will always respond to other humans in need ad infinitum, there will never be a point of satiation from which to devote time and resources to non-humans in need. Those who still prioritise human needs charitably need to re-think.
'I should only help members of my own species as they are more deserving' - despite blatantly exploiting/bullying members of other species - doesn't sound just, democratic, respectful nor humane - does it?
Within our branded/socially ranked concerns, animals will always languish unless we question priorities - counter-intuitively .
Would raising empathy for non-humans raise empathy for all species including humans? I suspect so.