Social Question

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Should there be such a huge difference in our standards of treatment for animals and people?

Asked by Adirondackwannabe (36550points) September 23rd, 2010

I was thinking of this after the bull fighting question. Some of us think nothing of treating animals so differently from the way we treat people. There’s other things too: We put animals out of their “misery”, we keep people hooked up to machines long after they have any hope. We abuse animals in puppy mills, “sporting events”, etc. Feel free to add any other areas where the standards are out of balance, for lack of a better term. Your thoughts?

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56 Answers

JustmeAman's avatar

Well I would say yes and no. Animals are part of the ecosystem and are used as food both by animals and by man. In this case we raise stock for the market and I see nothing wrong with that. We should however always treat the animals with respect and take care of them which doesn’t always happen. Laws are now starting to get better in prosecuting people who abuse animals and I think that is good. Animals are used for making furniture and clothes but over all they are raised to do so and not hunted until extinct. Those that kill wild animals for profit should be stopped. The issue of people being kept alive is one that I think should change. If you are sick and you know you are going to pass on then they should give you a button and when you push it you go to sleep and then pass on.

Blackberry's avatar

People only care about animals that are similar to us and can be pets: Dogs, cats, birds etc. Something that is cute and has a personality. I think some even only get pets to create some utopian american dream for themselves. It’s a checklist they have to complete: House, white fence, dog, cat, kids, curtains, drapes, etc etc.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Of course.Rub Bag Balm on me and get your ass kicked.XD

BoBo1946's avatar

I treat Sadie like i would a human. She get the best food available, buy her toys, she get her regular check ups at the vet, sleeps with me, i carry her for a walk every morning, and if i go somewhere….she goes. And, in return, she is becoming a very mature girl. She tries so hard to do the right thing. Why, she is loved and respected.

So, my answer is no.

iamthemob's avatar

Absolutely. There should be a huge difference in the treatment of animals and humans. What I disagree with is the similar treatments between animals and PRODUCTS. Humane treatment of any living, complex organism that experiences pain should be the norm. When you have things like CAFOs and dogfights, well – that’s animals as pure product.

Nullo's avatar

It’s worth noting here that animals aren’t people, and so their treatment will vary. Just like you don’t treat motorcycles and cars the same way, just like you differentiate between your PC and a Mac, or any personal computer and a reciprocating saw.

BoBo1946's avatar

I’ve never understood how a human being can mistreat an animal (speaking of dogs) that loves you unconditionally. My mind cannot fathom that. I understand the question on a larger scale as society doesn’t consider their treatment in the same way, but I’m answering the question on a personal bases.

Aster's avatar

No there should not be a huge difference in how we treat animals vs humans. I bet there are more “nice” animals than there are nice people.
It isn’t always the fault of people; they really don’t always realize just how smart and sensitive animals can be. I never had a dog or cat until I was in my twenties and it opened up a whole new way of looking at animals.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@BoBo1946 Thats one I never understood. Or dogfights.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I think we should try to not harm animals or humans. I think there are people who treat animals and humans in terrible ways and some that put humans above animals. There are some dilemmas I have (as when I did pancreatic cancer research and injected mice with cancer) in relation to how much we should use animals for our sake. I detest, absolutely detest testing products on animals for frivilous shit like make up and shampoo and I am indignant about the cruelty animals are subjected to by the meat and dairy industries.

marinelife's avatar

No, there should not.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I wish I had a good response. I wrestle with the same issue with the dairy and meat industries. I grew up in the business and I can honestly say we took the best care that we knew of not to be cruel or for that matter even stress the animals. I also worked more than 12 years in agricultural lending and have witnessed a lot. I have seen things that would make me shake my head on both sides of the treatment issues. Some treated the animals like family, some, not very well. The testing of cosmetics on animals was barbaric. I could never figure that one out. But than there are somethings, like your research that can only be done with animals.

Plucky's avatar

No, there should not be a difference.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Incidentally, I just had to suffer throuth an insufferable pharma rep talk about his 16 year passion for hunting deer and how he douses himself with anti-smell substances (he calls it his ritual) and prunes the trees with a see saw just to climb up higher and how next months he’s going to hunt in a reserve (why do they even allow this?!) and he’s so excited for a year’s worth of meat in his freezer, etc. etc. I work here in the lunchroom where these people have to be sometimes and I already have a low opinion of their profession but this guy, man he takes the cake. I wanted to punch him in the face, talk about the complete disregard for animals and trees and nature just for your own kicks and giggles. Ugh.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Maybe he’ll fall out of the tree. I have no respect for people that kill for “sport”.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe That’s what I was thinking and right at that moment he said and I quote ” But I am extremely intelligent, I don’t take risks like those other guys…I make sure to use a tree stand and a harness and use my saw to clear the tree for myself’ facepalm

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I’m a little surprised he still has all of his teeth.:)

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe I’d be out of this job a millenium ago if I knocked out every pharma rep with questionable ethics

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I hadn’t thought of the ethics thing until you mentioned it. Yikes. It’s a good thing you favor non-violence.

Coloma's avatar


I adhere to the eastern philosophy of ‘harm no thing’ and believe in the interconnectedness of everything.

I do not believe man has a monopoly over all other creatures, and that, as always, fear and ignorance are behind those that feel otherwise.

To kill or mistreat anything because you are bigger, smarter, fearful or to pump up one’s dormant caveman ego is incredibly unevolved behavior.

I do not take offense with hunters that utilize the animals remains to their fullest advantage, but, I would not associate with anyone that kills for ‘sport’, because that attitude is absolutely symbolic of a very unawakened human being.

Plucky's avatar

I completely agree with you @Coloma ..great comment :)

tragiclikebowie's avatar

@Coloma Much love to you for that answer

Coloma's avatar


Thanks. I mean it.

I just had a coyote run off with one of my cats last week, and while not happy about it, I respect the situation and the circumstance as part of the collective of nature.

At least my cat served a purpose and was not killed by a psychotic human.

tinyfaery's avatar

I’m not sure there is such a difference in the way we treat animals v. people. We don’t care about the pain and suffering of other creatures unless it is right in front of our faces, and most times, not even then. If I go on my gut, I’d say on average animals deserve better treatment than humans.

Nullo's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir That is an awfully intolerant attitude, young lady.

Hunting is a fun way to celebrate your heritage as a human being. And whatever your rep’s motives, the state issues only enough hunting permits to keep the deer population from outpacing its habitat.—A few years back, the deer population on Angel Island, in San Francisco Bay, was so large that they were becoming problematic. So problematic, in fact, that they actually authorized local hunters to take deer on the island. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the hunting community.

Fact of the matter is that we are an omnivorous species. You can tell by looking at our teeth, and the fact that we can handle meat and plant matter. Hunting, I think, is far more humane and more respectful, even, than getting cow from the supermarket.

iamthemob's avatar

I’m with @Nullo on the hunting v. supermarket argument. If we had to kill it ourselves, we probably wouldn’t have to kill as many animals to feed ourselves each year.

On another note, I’m a little confused by this thread now. I thought we were talking about the disparity between treatment of humans and treatment of animals…but it seems to be more about “animal rights” than anything.

I am willing to openly state that I value the life of a human being above that of an animal. Therefore, I am open to be convinced that animal testing is necessary in some cases. But the concept of how animals should be treated is different than whether they should be treated the same as humans.

In all honesty, and I know this is confrontational perhaps, but I don’t think that anyone actually thinks that animals and humans should have the same rights in life.

Coloma's avatar


Depends on the rights.

I say that all creatures deserve respect for their beingness regardless of how mankind has used and abused them.

This would include rights to basic good care, freedom from being terrorized, abused, overcrowded, starved and mutilated, with more severe penalties for abuse.

The basic rights I believe everything should be able to enjoy, be it a human or a goldfish.

iamthemob's avatar


It does not depend on the rights. I said the same rights. That entails the rights humans have. The specific rights you laid out are reasonable rights (although terrorized is odd because we don’t really know how animals process fear) for animals. I think CAFOs are ridiculous, and think that animal cruelty should be punished.

However, animal cruelty that leads to the death of an animal – are we saying that this should be treated on the same level as murder?

Coloma's avatar


Well…..haha sorry, I meant, it depends, you have just shown it depends, as something like murder trials would have to be taken into consideration. lol


Obviously that would be a fiasco, courts packed with animal murderers, as if our system could handle that.

But…yes, very severe penalties.

I am not looking to debate every human right, just saying that yes, I believe animals should have rights as well that would not be too far off from the laws that govern human society.

Preventing crime and stopping cruelty.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Nullo Hunting is no way to celebrate my humanity, no matter our history (when hunting was/is necessary for survival, it is another story). And of course, given certain parameters, hunting is more humane than getting that cow from supermarkets – you don’t want me to get started on what’s wrong with the treatment the animals went through in order for people to buy a burger for $1. The person I mention however has zero respect for animals, hunter or not. He sees those deer as a challenge, as a mark, as a game, not as something he needs to thank his stars he can eat. But I do get off on you, a person younger than me, calling me a ‘young lady’ ~

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@Nullo…that is fun for the deer, and a fun way for them to celebrate their heritage of being tricked into the open and shot with a high powered weapon by wolves.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@JeanPaulSartre Wolves, these days, are a damn good shot. They carry saws too. Nasty creatures. If only there was a way to control wolf population…oh wait.

Nullo's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Aaaah, I was talking about heritage. Your humanity isn’t in question here.

I think that you’re suffering from the misconception of the Noble Savage.

Hunting is kinda what is done. Our ancestors hunted, as did theirs. People in other parts of the world still depend on the hunt for their protein. You’re not suggesting that we’re better than they are, are you?
And aside from animists, I don’t imagine that our ancestors respected the deer very much, either. It was food, and that was good enough.

I don’t think that your rep is reveling in sanctioned animal cruelty: the hunt itself is exhilarating. It is one of the greater tests of skill. Are your arms steady enough to make the shot? Have you studied your prey enough to know its movement patterns? Can you keep from crashing through the undergrowth? Bang! Track your quarry! Follow the blood! It was a clean shot, the deer can’t be far!
I imagine that it’s kind of like when your favorite team earns a point, only you are the one doing it. It’s very personal, very visceral, very real. You have won, and the hunter in your genes cheers because he has provided for his family. And when you sit back, you can think about all the cow that you won’t be eating because venison is delicious.
It’s a good bet that he actually respects the deer more than you do, for all of their ability.

As for your complaint about the saw: it’s a little camp saw, used for removing twigs and small branches that would otherwise obscure your line of sight and endanger other hunters that might be in the area. We’re not talking about deforestation here; storms do more damage.

@JeanPaulSartre In fact, deer aren’t tricked out into the open; in Missouri, at least, the law requires that all bait and feeders be removed about a month before deer season starts. The deer, for their part, change their movement patterns to account for hunters – often before opening day.
Since when are wolves the only predators that get to eat deer?

Incidentally, the $1 burger is $1 because they start with low-grade meat and mix in a bunch of soy. They’d have a lot of nerve selling it for more than a dollar.

Plucky's avatar

@Nullo A human hunter equipped with a gun or other shooting device is not a fair fight. I’d love to see how many hunters out there would still hunt if the law required you to use nothing but your bare hands that is fair.
While we’re at it about we start putting human skins and other parts on our walls/shelves.
Sarcasm—> “Oh look ..there’s my aunt’s head on the wall over there. She was so beautiful we shot her so we could always have that beauty.” Give me a break.

And, no…our teeth are designed for grinding down fibre. Our intestines are designed to digest fibre (carnivores have much shorter intestines to digest meat – humans have a very long digestive system). Seriously, humans just weren’t designed to eat meat. Then again, there are old school “experts” that would argue against that until they turned blue.
Jeez, I could go on about this but the question wasn’t about hunting, meat eating, vegetarianism ..etc.

This is about the basic rights of living. And any living thing should be entitled to at least that much. So many people get offended by the idea of allowing non-human creatures the right to exist beside us, instead of under us. That kind of ignorance is just sad.

Nullo's avatar

@PluckyDog You’ve never hunted, I see. Deer don’t have the same offensive power, but they are excellent at avoiding detection.
No, ‘fair’ lets humans use weapons. Otherwise, the deer has its antlers and sharp hooves with which it can kill you quite easily, and powerful muscles to carry it through the forest at tremendous speeds, and we’ve got our squishy palms and stumpy legs. We lack tough hide, we lack horns and claws, we lack foot speed, we don’t even have marginally-protective fur. Our edge lies in our ingenuity.
In case you were wondering, there are those who hunt with just a knife. At least three people in the world will go up against the savage wild boar with naught but a knife.

Like I said, our teeth and digestive system reflect an omnivorous diet. The molars are good at breaking down fibers and meat, but the front teeth are very good at among other things chopping meat from bone. We can digest meat without problems, and I don’t think that an herbivore could do that.

You try doing that grinding business with your incisors. Go ahead, I’ll wait here.

…Didn’t go so well, did it?

That stupid nonsense about your aunt? People do that..
Even so, it’s not a proper comparison, because we don’t hunt people. And no matter how much we respect the deer, we won’t regard it the same way as we would a person, because deer aren’t people. Or perhaps you’ll have a nice funeral for the deer that wandered out in front of your car?

In case you missed my first post (it sorta looks like you did) hunting is very much about good deer stewardship.
As it happens, humans and deer share habitats quite well until the traffic accidents, anyway. Humans and mid- to large predators do not. So we end up having a lot of deer and nothing to keep their numbers in check. Thus we have a boom in the deer population, followed by their sudden extinction when there isn’t enough food the next year. That’s where the state comes in, monitoring the deer population and the food supply, and issuing hunting licenses to keep the one from outstripping the other.

The ignorance comes in when you start thinking that animals are your equals when they very clearly are not. Try outwitting your precious pup. Easy, wasn’t it? Your mind and the society that like minds have created makes you superior to that animal in every single way. This doesn’t preclude good stewardship, but it does preclude treating them like people.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@Nullo Bull, I’ve walked up and touched a deer.

Coloma's avatar

I have touched a deer also. I have a doe that naps under my deck on hot days and she will take a slice of bread out of my hand and comes into my garage to flip the lids of the animal feed and help herself.


Aaaah, and there lies the danger in your thinking. Just because one is smarter than, has more ‘ingenuity’ than another species does not give them carte blanche to kill something just because they percieve they are a superior being.

Sounds a lot like a Hitler mentality and well, we all know what happens when that attiude is perpetuated, mass killings and that includes the way man has hunted 100’s of species to the brink of exstinction simply because he has a mindset that says I am superior and have a right to determine what in nature should stay and what should go.


Sorry but that attitude has a ripple effect and if one feels that way it becomes easy to elevate yourself a supremist status, whether that is killing ‘inferior’ races or entire species of animal life.

The simple fact is that your life as a human is not any more or less important than the life of any animal. Everything is part of nature and it is the human mind that has assigned the superiority trip over other species.

Animals are our equal in a most fundamental way, they are part of the collective whole of this earth and in the grand scheme of things all life is equal in it’s importance and unique contributions.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Best answer I’ve heard to hunting being considered a sport: Yeah, it’s a sport, but the other guy doesn’t know he’s playing.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Nullo “Are your arms steady enough to make the shot? Have you studied your prey enough to know its movement patterns? Can you keep from crashing through the undergrowth? Bang! Track your quarry! Follow the blood! It was a clean shot, the deer can’t be far!” – here…that I find problematic – do some animals exist for your adrenaline rush? I don’t believe they do. As to whether storms do more damage than the ‘little saw’, what does that matter? We can’t controls storms (though in some ways we’re becoming more responsible for what’s happening to such movements on the planet) but we can control what we are passionate about, so to speak. As to your claims about omnivorous diets and our heritage as hunters, that may all be so but given what’s happening now and our pathetic history of a terrible relationship to our surroundings and the animals that feed us, I make a very conscious choices against my heritage, my history of possibly needing meat and I get my protein in other ways. That is how I choose to live my life because, as a human, I can make choices. You can choose to eat meat and tell yourself it’s okay because, well, it’s always been so (not in all parts of the world, even) and because it’s in ‘your genes and all’, but we’re no longer in a position where we are eating the animals that are simply out there, we’re creating and engineering animals so that we can consume them – do you think your chicken or your eggs come from animals that were simply born…because you’d be greatly mistaken – they’re are made for your pleasure, in factories, and are fucked around with (genetically) so that you can honor your heritage. Did you know there are two types of chickens being made: ones to have bigger breasts at the expense of any other parts via hormonal and water injections and ones to only lay eggs at the expense of limbs because who wants egg-laying creatures to move anyway (and their male counterparts are blendered and killed)? So, don’t talk to me about natural, about how it’s always been – our time now is not how it’s always been and we have to open our eyes to that.

Plucky's avatar

@Nullo Yes, I did read your previous post. And, yes, I’ve been on “the hunt” quick you are to assume otherwise just because I don’t share your “thrill of the hunt” mentality.

As for the “stupid nonsense about my aunt” was sarcasm and I know it is done (we had that exhibit in my city last month). But it is not common for people to put human parts on their walls ..imagine the outrage. Your comparison of a mainly scientific exhibit to regular every day life in society is silly.

You do know that overpopulation is due mainly to human interaction with the environment? Humans tend to screw up any ecosystem they decide to “civilize” ..everything gets thrown off balance. Which is why nature creates more diseases to purge humanity’s natural but that’s another topic I guess.

You speak of deer having their muscles, antlers, etc as their weapons ..those are natural weapons. You may argue that our brain is our weapon ..of course it is but I suggest you use it wisely.

You talk about intelligence like it gives humans some kind of all powerful “god” status. Well, we’ve certainly abused/misused that power over the centuries haven’t we? If you think intelligence gives us more rights and the allowance to be inhumane and cruel…you have proven that you are not smarter than the deer after all.

iamthemob's avatar

As we develop and mature as a society, we have the opportunity to become more moral. Human beings are biologically inclined to actually be “polygamous,” meaning that we are really, more than many other species, meant as men to knock up as many chicks as we can. We don’t, however, because we think it’s better to strive for commitment to our partners and families. We don’t think that women should be saddled with the responsibilities of the family while men get off scott free. We have a system of laws. We punish for one person stealing from a weaker person. Therefore, the fact that we’re made to be omnivorous shouldn’t be used to excuse the fact that we kill animals to eat them.

However, this also doesn’t mean there is a moral imperative not to eat meat, Also, hunting often has beneficial results for maintaining the population level of a species that can tend to overpopulate.

When you privilege your enjoyment over the life of something else, however, you must acknowledge that you are making an immoral choice that should not be excused…and that is what sport hunting is. If you continue to do it, you should expect others to judge you, and you should not attempt to excuse the behavior. Whether you decide to continue the behavior, however, is your choice (we all make immoral choices every day. I am typing on my computer right now. I don’t need it. I could sell it and use the money to save someone from starving. I don’t. That’s immoral.) When it becomes so harmful that society considers the act criminal, we make it so (theoretically).

Coloma's avatar


Not selling your computer to feed a starving person is not immoral.

Determining starving people should be exterminated because they are ‘less than’ is whats immoral.

I hear what you’re sayin’, however…why is man gets to decide if something is overpopulated?

We have never let an animal make that call on our species. lol

I can see it now, the Gophers in my yard conspiring to wipe out the neighborhood because us humans are over populated and encroaching on their mountain.

I’m pretty damn sure that IF an animal could make that call they would.

Ya know…they were here first, bugs, and flies and cockroaches waaay before our kind evolved

Before humans there were no pests and vermin in the natural order of things because there was no man to label them such and compete with them.
Snails slithered along and ate what they wanted, ants did their thing, rats ran through the trees, there was no conflict. The conflict has come from mans over population.

Quite frankly I have always found Termites amusing as hell…genius they are, the pest that was once not a pest and it’s uncanny ability to adapt to eating processed lumber and following around the homes of humans. lol

iamthemob's avatar


How is not selling something that is there solely for your convenience when you know for a fact that with that money you would save lives NOT an immoral decision? Everyone realizes this is a fact on some level, and so how is it a different decision than the second one you state?

Animals are limited in their ability to find food. They can’t make their own food. Overpopulation is clear when they start to compete with human resources – and inevitably, we’ll choose that our resources are for us and not for the other species (as most species would do). It can be kinder to allow hunters to thin a population in this case than to let them starve slowly, or get hit by cars (which is often the case in some suburban, wooded areas).

And animals don’t make that call on us because they can’t. If they could, I’m certain they would.

Coloma's avatar


No where is it written that one must starve themselves to be of aide to the starved.

Very few regular humans will ever achieve sagehood, wandering around in sack cloth giving alms, sooo, doing what one can, as they can, is enough.

I am not disagreeing at the nature of things, it is what it is, and yes, thinning populations humanely is better than roadkill, I am just saying that in the grand scheme of things man has annointed himself with far too much arrogance in becoming the self appointed god of all because he supposes his brain is the most magnificent.

And yes, they would! lol

iamthemob's avatar


Starvation is not at issue. It’s one person choosing their own luxury over the life of another. It’s misleading to characterize the two sides as balanced, even equal. One has nothing to do with survival.

Coloma's avatar


Whatever you say, just tossing some thoughts around.

iamthemob's avatar


Okay. But my concern was based in the fact that it’s no sacrifice to choose less luxury to save a life. If the situation were closer in place – the person who will starve without money is at the computer store – the immorality of the choice should be clear. We are just cushioned by the distance.

NaturallyMe's avatar

No there shouldn’t!!!! Most often animals get the short end of the stick in this difference of standards of treatment, and i hate it, it reflects poorly on humanity and mostly on the people who allow and condone such poor treatment of animals. Most of these reasons for the differentiation is treatment standards are also completely unjustifiable and unnecessary.

Tomfafa's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille Not sure what bag balm is… but how about just a little on your shoulders?

Coloma's avatar


Bag Balm is a salve for animals with udders. It is used for sore teats on lactating cows and other udders that need soothing. lol

Tomfafa's avatar

@Coloma Bag Balm could have saved a friends marriage. Too late.

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