Barbara Rhine
Barbara Rhine asked:

I have a friend who says humans will never get a grip on cruelty until they stop being cruel to animals. How many agree?

Donna Marino I completely agree. Compassion begins with those who are smaller, weaker, and have less advantages than us. Humans (mistakenly) believe that they are superior beings and therefore can assert dominion over those who are "lesser" than them. And I'm tired of hearing that just because I think animals deserve to be treated with respect and compassion that I don't care about humans. Caring for animals does not imply that I don't care about humans.
Ginny Cruelty is cruelty whether it is directed toward humans or nonhuman animals.
Anna (lion_reads) Agree to the 10th degree. If you can't be kind to anything smaller than you, weaker than you, less advantaged than you, or harmless to you, then it is a mark of something sinister. Lack of compassion makes way for enjoyment of violence without purpose.
Susanna Sturgis Disagree, mainly because I suspect it's the other way round. So many animal-rights activists and people involved in rescue pay very little attention to the humans in need of rescue. I see an overlap between rescue and the anti-choice movement -- which is not to say that most people involved in or promoting rescue are anti-choice, because the ones I know generally aren't. The link between them? They're all about rescuing beings whom they consider "innocent": fetuses and animals. Humans after they're born, it seems, aren't worthy of rescue. I'm fascinated enough by this that it's become a theme in my novel-in-progress: the rescue of a dog is juxtaposed with the rescue of a girl who's been sexually abused by her stepfather.
Trish "Why should man expect his prayer for mercy to be heard by what is above him when he shows no mercy to what is under him?"
~Pierre Troubetzkoy
Gail Herlinger Agreed! Humans are animals too and practically the only species with the capability of cruelty for cruelty sake. Compassion & respect are rights of all living things.
Michaela Yep! I'm a vegetarian and PRO-choice @Susanna Sturgis,there's plenty of us.
Debby I totally agree - cruelty to animals is indicative of a much larger problem, ie cruelty to anything weaker than you are.
Ann Brogan I also completely agree. This is why I go crazy if my children are cruel to insects and animals that cannot defend themselves. All creatures should be treated with the respect they deserve.
Maria Carmo I agree that cruelty to animals is often an anticipation of cruelty against humans - because it corresponds to a general lack of compassion and empathy... But I also agree that rescue to humans in distress is as important as rescue to other species. In fact, I believe that true compassion has no borders and should include all sentient Beings.
To stop using others (humans or animals or nature) for mere profit and to reopen ourselves to the awareness of Nature and Humanity as an interwoven reality sone evolution in our mentality must happen.
Jackie Yes. Yes. And Yes. In addition, I think adults also need to see children as the undeveloped but eager-to-learn humans that they are, not tiny adults. Learning compassion for any species/person that is powerless against us is also a path to a better world for all.

Furthermore, I have become more and more sensitive to cruelty to any living creature--I can't kill insects, bugs etc. It truly bothers me when I step on a bug accidentally. Not sure where all this creature empathy is coming from--it's emotionally painful for me to see one hurting.

One of my cats is a mouser; neither cat goes outside so these are house mice (ok, I have the occasional mouse in the house! We have a big basement and they sneak in the cracks for warmth) I have come upon the cat 'playing' with a mouse and I grab him and hope the mouse isn't injured and can run and hide, which has happened. He has killed one or two before I 'came on the scene' but: No mouse deaths; not on my watch.

Can you relate?
librarianka Agree. We need a shift in our perception on acceptability of our use of others (animals and humans) for advancement of our goals (scientific or personal) no matter benefits. We have to imagine the world without all the abuse first and build it.
Gerlinde I think the book poses more significant questions than that. While the arrogance of humans is evident in the characters' disregard for the consequences of their experimenting on the chimps, (and the children raised with them) the narrator does observe that some animal testing has led to significant insights into treatments for Alzheimer's and other horrific diseases. It's just too easy to say, "Humans are cruel and should be better." Humans are challenged to find answers--and those answers are not always so easily achieved. Furthermore, there's nothing kind about the animal world. Chimps routinely kill the infants of competing tribes and take their females. (The narrator didn't imagine Fern's casual killing of the kitten.) The book raises troubling questions and requires us to think more thoughtfully about our choices.
daydreamer I completely agree. This is why I am a vegan, and why I follow the Hindu principle of "Ahimsa" - meaning 'not to injure' and 'compassion'
Kimberly I agree. I've read that serial killers start out by treating animals cruelly ( bc it's legal or at least can be hidden better) then move on to humans.
Kristie I agree absolutely.
Shasta An interesting way to look the brokenness of humanity. The depth of our depravity is immeasurable, but the recognition of it is the start to ending it. It doesn't start with animals... it starts with us. While both are disgusting, cruelty towards people is a hundred times more worse than towards animals.
Barbara Rhine Very thoughtful comment.
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