Should cruelty of any kind to any creature be tolerated? Recent news reports of the disregard for the life of and mistreatment of pet animals, like the euthanising of 154 cats smuggled from China, have once again shone a light on the plight of creatures used by humans for their own purposes. At the same time, the reactions of various animal welfare groups and netizens also highlight the peculiar form of hypocritical speciesism that epitomises modern human’s views towards other animals. On the surface, political parties and various people working in the fields related to animal welfare appear to be calling for the increased protection of animals. They want to increase the enforcement of the protection afforded to animals under the Animal Protection Act, which seems like an admirable goal to be fighting for. This act, along with the increasing public awareness of animal welfare issues, are certainly positive trends that have been developing in Taiwan in recent years. On the other hand, groups like this are often simultaneously tacitly supporting the mistreatment of the very animals they claim to love, whilst also completely ignoring the rights of other creatures that they don’t have a personal preference for.
Animals that are specifically bred to be pets, such as the creatures you buy from pet shops and like the cats smuggled from China, often come from breeding operations such as puppy and kitten mills that have atrociously cruel conditions for all the animals involved. Thus, the calls by associations of owners of these pets seem to demonstrate ignorance of the plight of animals that are traded by humans as commodities. Of course, many owners of these pets who claim to be concerned about the welfare of animals also eat the flesh of other animals several times a day, and even feed this meat to their own animals. How can they explain their complete lack of regard for the lives of some animals which they enthusiastically encourage the industrial-scale imprisonment, torture and slaughter of – i.e. cows, pigs, chickens, geese, ducks, sheep, goats, fish and so on – whilst also calling for the protection of animals that they personally prefer to see as cute? Why are only cute animals considered in need of protection from inhumane treatment and mass slaughter, while every other creature is considered to be no more valuable than the quality of their flesh? Watch the documentary “the Dominion” linked to below and you might see this issue in a new light.