How intelligent are our pets? Do you think your pets understand you? I know we like to think they do. “Oh look he’s smiling”, “Aww they’re sulking”. We think they’re people. They think they’re people, because we treat them as such. It has been proven that dogs can read emotion. Laughing has a calming effect on dogs and they appear concerned when you cry. Cats have learnt to distinguish their owners voices and faces and show genuine excitement when presented with either. I love all animals. Well, pretty much all them anyway, spiders freak me out a bit. But do our beloved pets have a consciousness? Do they know that they are animals, that they are pets, their purpose in the world? Certainly not to the levels of humans surely? Do they have the same spectrum of feelings or emotions? Sometimes I think they do. Several scientific studies have proved that some animals, particularly the African Grey Parrot have near-human levels of consciousness. If only animals could talk, then we’d be getting somewhere.
But would that be a good thing? I am not a vegetarian. I love my chickens and ducks. I love cows, pigs and goats. But I have eaten each one of those types of meat and enjoy the taste of it. I do not agree in intensive animal farming. Where the animal welfare is non-existent. Where I can, I purchase free range. Ideally, I would love to raise my own animals and ensure they have a good life, until the time comes where I stop looking after them, and they look after me by way of filling my belly. I’ve watched programmes on the Discovery channel called Yukon Men and Alaska: The Last Frontier. For those of you who don’t know these programmes, they’re essentially people that have grown up or moved to Alaska, in remote areas and are completely self-sufficient. One guy, went up there alone, with a pack of dogs to pull his sledge. It was such a bad year of hunting caribou, to survive he ended up eating his dogs. Eating his dogs?! I could never eat my dogs! But that’s the thing isn’t it. We pick and choose which animals to eat. Whether we feel comfortable in ourselves to eat the meat. One of my favourite comedians Denis Leary in his stand up ‘No Cure for Cancer’ puts it eloquently. We only want to save the cute animals.
I don’t have anything against vegetarians, vegans, pescetarians…the list is endless. I accept the reasons behind why they choose to not eat meat. If it is because they don’t like the taste, for medical reasons or if it is because they believe all animals are equal and they should be free to roam the planet as they wish with the same rights as humans. I don’t agree in fox hunting. I think the idea of a pack of dogs chasing a lone animal until it’s heart and lungs bursts and they’re so exhausted they end up getting ripped to shreds. But I do agree in saving our countryside, saving our crops and in order to do this you have to humanely manage animals such as deer, rabbits, moles, rats etc so they don’t ruin it by over-running the place, burrowing holes everywhere and eating all our crops. Believe me, you’d notice if the management of these animals stopped. It wouldn’t just effect us. It would effect them. There wouldn’t be enough natural resource for animals to manage themselves, they would end up starving to death and you’d see alot more of these animals scavenging at your back door. If that happened what would you do?
You think of wild animals in Africa. The top of the food chain is the lion. In order to survive it hunts other animals down the food chain. It is the natural order of things. Because we are westernized why does this change? Because we are civilised. We think it is wrong. We humanise animals. As cavemen we were hunters and gatherers. We did what we needed to survive. Things have changed for us, but not for the rest of the food chain. We can’t just stop this process and believe that it would not have a wider impact. We have it easy compared to Americans. We have to worry about badgers, foxes and packs of stray dogs at most. Americans have bears, wild cats and alligators. If everyone became vegetarians, believe me, the world would be a very different place.
But hey, remember I’m an animal lover. I wipe the sleepy dust from my dogs faces every morning with a tissue. I trim my chickens feathers when they get dirty. I bathed my duck’s eye for a week when she scratched it to soothe it better, till it healed. I care. Sometimes too much. But you can’t avoid the fact that bacon tastes pretty damn good and I’m not sure the world would be a better place without it.