When Humans Attack

If it is your first time here please visit the read me page, the topic I am about to discuss is one that is very personal to some and I want to make sure that you read this as a discussion or dialogue and not a debate. Because of culture, belief system and just overall moral beliefs many people might disagree on this topic. So be polite, present your points, but don’t get personal or be offensive or I as a benevolent dictator will delete your comments.

Americans think of pets in a different light than most other cultures I have learned about, some people get as close to them as to call them their kids. I have certainly become very attached to my pets and still mourn that I did not get custody of my golden retriever after my divorce, heck I don’t even have visitation rights. I think the reason for this is because the infrastructure of this country makes it very hard to visit family in a regular basis, so little by little our pets fill in the void that we have from having family close by. I personally feel that pets do and should become part of your family. I wanted to clarify this before I started to talk about the following subject because I want to make sure people don’t think I am ignoring the “rights” of the animals involved. I will not go into what I believe as much as question why this subject is one that seems to be so complex for so many people.

The suspected Cat Killer has been freed on bond and it is said to be under house arrest. If you have not followed the story, the cliff notes is that an 18 year old is suspected of mutilating 19 cats in a very gruesome way. The then left them for their owners to find their family pets, some of them found by young kids that would be scarred for life. The suspected cat killer might have been found with the help of social media and his posting on a facebook group. The group has been since closed. If sentenced, the 19 year old could spend the rest of his life in jail. (human vs animal)

Michael Vic has been released after spending two years behind bars. Most sport news outlets are raising the question if he should be allowed to play again. The commentary I have heard is that he has paid his debt to society and should be allowed to play. He was convicted because he lied and was involved in the operation. I personally don’t know if he actually abused any dogs directly, or if it was done by his associates and he just watched the fights. (animal vs animal) – Just keep reading, most of the points here will involve humans, but I will only call it human vs animal if the human directly did the harming of the animal.

My father has been attacked by dogs twice in his life. One was as a young adult while visiting some family in Bogota, the dog did not recognize him as he came into the house he was visited and attacked him, leaving him with a big scar in the back of his leg that looks almost like a belly button on his calf. As a kid he was bitten by the family pet dog, not as severely but my grandfather immediately put the dog down. (human vs animal)

Donte’ Stallworth gets 1 month in jail, 2 years house arrest in DUI death. (human vs human)

Bull fighting still a very popular activity in Spain and some places in Latin America. The practice is a cultural heritage that even people within the country think is barbaric. The meat of the bull that was killed is consumed. The bull is most of the time bleed almost to death before the matador delivers the killing strike. (human vs animal)

Cock fighting is very popular in rural Latin America. The practice has even been featured in pop culture in America, I think not just the appearence on various movies, but the fact that was on a Seinfeld episode makes it so I can say that. The cocks are fit with enhanced spurs to cause maximum damage. I have seen some of these roosters up close and they are beautiful animals, imposing even. Some people might put chickens under the ugly animal allowed to eat category, but until you see one of this roosters up close don’t dismiss them as purely edible. (animal vs animal)

Bow hunting is still being practiced by many Americans even as a sport (I consider it sport if the meat of the animal is not consumed). I have seen some of the new high tech arrows that are used today and even though they are built to be very effective, they are not sure to kill the animal like shooting does most of the time. The animal will at times die slowly or be fatally wounded but not recovered. (human vs animal)

Sancocho is a popular soup or stew in Colombian. When your family goes out for a picnic, they will set up a fire and cook a sancocho, it is a very popular cook out type of meal. It tastes better when cooked outdoors in a huge pot and one of its best version is made out of chicken. I have personally killed a chicken to be consumed in a sancocho. (human vs animal)

All over the world animals are being raised for human consumption. They are processed in plants that have been turned into factories that produce all kinds of meats for all kinds of customers. Every day animals are killed to fill all of our plates with protein for our daily diets. (human vs animal)

This week Obama picked a side in the ongoing debate of Pirates vs Ninjas and demonstrated his above average reflexes by decimating a fly. (human vs insect) It is interesting that back in Colombia there is a saying that someone is so innocent that they don’t even kill a fly. Not sure if there is a similar one here or not.

Those are all the examples I could think of. Almost all of us are involved directly or indirectly on the killing of animals. Some religions give us domain over animals as things that are at our disposal. Some religions are the complete opposite and tell us that animals are sacred and to be revered. Some religions are kind of in the middle and believe that our soul can end up in an animal after we are reincarnated.

The cat killer if convicted could spend the rest of his days in jail. One NFL player gets two years for being involved with dog fighting, and lets go as far that he might have even directly abused the animals, while another NFL player that took a human life gets what I would consider a slap on the wrist. (I did consider the fact that he might be extremely remorseful and has worked with the family of the victim to compensate them for their loss.)

Every day people eat meat, some of it killed in very gruesome ways. I have heard accounts of people that have worked in meat plants that say they don’t eat meat anymore just by what they saw happening there. I have never been able to verify this, but during the Ethiopian famine* it is said that not all crops had failed and grain was being shipped to Europe to feed livestock, that grain could have fed people. Hearing this has been the best argument I have ever heard for becoming vegetarian.

Most cultures see domesticated animals as only pets. I personally have become very attached to my pets, but I understand that there is a price to their lives because other friends have gone through it. If one of my pets becomes ill and its care is beyond a certain dollar price, they will most likely be put down.

Now for the questions to start this discussion. Is the life of an animal valuable? Does eating animal meat make us killers? Does killing an animal makes someone bad? is there a difference between mutilating an animal and killing it “gracefully”? Is animal abuse an indicator of mental illness? What about when you are trained to do it by the history of your family being bull fighters?

*Ethiopia has suffered famine many times because they have never developed their agriculture to the point that they store grain and live from crop to crop. Crop failure leads to famine.

7 Responses to When Humans Attack

  1. The answers are:
    1) Yes, but not as valuable a human life.
    2) Yes, but not murderers. Many animals kill to survive.
    3) Not necessarily. Intent plays a large part here.
    4) Yes, there is a difference.
    5) Usually. If your mutilating and torturing any living thing to get some kind of sick kick out of being cruel, then there’s something wrong with you.
    6) Well, I don’t know if I would call bull fighting a sign of mental illness, but I think NOT bull fighting is probably better that bull fighting. It’s probably a cultural reflection of the general human blood lust that leads people to enjoy boxing and other pseudoviolent sports like football (American), rugby and full-contact sudden-death golf.

  2. Very interesting thoughts:

    Is the life of an animal valuable? – I believe that all life has value, and like you said regarding religion I believe that as humans we have dominion over the plants and the animals.

    Does eating animal meat make us killers? – No, it’s delicious, but I can understand how some people can be against eating animals.

    Does killing an animal makes someone bad? is there a difference between mutilating an animal and killing it “gracefully”? Is animal abuse an indicator of mental illness – Regarding the cat killer (Just heard of it from you) and not being a therapist I have to think that it does… It starts with animals and what you said he was doing sounds sick and twisted… How long until he moves up to bigger game? I say, he should be put into a pit with (he killed 19 cats right) 19 big cats (lions, tigers) *bears?* and see if they show him mercy. ;)… All joking aside, killing animals for pleasure could be a sign of some kind of issue, and shouldn’t be taken lightly… Regarding the NFL players that is always a classic example of people with money and are famous get special treatment…

    - Regarding my beliefs, and knowing that some people have different ideas on this, believing that animals don’t have souls raising them to be food isn’t wrong, it’s a way of life. For some countries it makes more since not to feed the animal the grain because you can feed that to the people. It’s a complex issue that should be solved by helping to build infrastructure in those countries.

    What about when you are trained to do it by the history of your family being bull fighters? – Bull Fighting is a sport, yes you are killing an animal but it’s a cultural sport, just like others might believe that the things we do are wrong, (and perhaps they are) I can’t go and say this is wrong… I’m not from there, it’s not apart of who I am… And rather then saying that it is wrong, I just don’t go to the matches (and since I don’t live in spain I don’t think anyone finds that odd)

    I find that the real question is what life do you value the most… Do you put the life of an animal above that of a human, or visa versa? Would you let a person die so that an animal doesn’t have to?

    I hope some of those thoughts made since, as I am at work and this is an interesting subject that I don’t think of that often.

  3. I have no problem with people killing animals for food. Some animals kill other animals for food, so does that make those animals evil. No. I do have a problem with hunting if the meat is not going to be consumed. I have a brother in law that works for a meat company and unlike the old days where the animal swere hoisted up by there heads and decapitated, the new methods are much more humane. The animal are loaded onto a platform that lowers down to an area filled with carbon monocide or something like that, and the animals just pass out and then die.
    If people dont want to eat meat fine for them. That just means more for me. If god didnt want us to eat animals he wouldnt have made them so damn tasty.

  4. The value of human life varies from person to person, depending on who you’re asking. Same goes for animals. It all boils down to the monkeysphere: http://www.cracked.com/article_14990_what-monkeysphere.html

    A bus blowing up in a third-world market killing dozens is far less emotionally damaging to a Missouri housewife than the death of her cat.

  5. Is the life of an animal valuable? Yes.
    Does eating animal meat make us killers? Technically, yes. And sometimes, if you think about it too much, you realize you can’t eat Bessie (at least I do).
    Does killing an animal makes someone bad? Not necessarily. Pretty grey area here.
    Is there a difference between mutilating an animal and killing it “gracefully”? Yes, I think so.
    Is animal abuse an indicator of mental illness? I think it’s a gateway to killing something bigger. Re: the cat killer, I think he’ll go on to kill people.
    What about when you are trained to do it by the history of your family being bull fighters? A little dicey here, but is that really torture? Some would say yes. I suppose it would depend on how strict the family is. If they say, “This is going to be your business” and you acquiesce and learn it, but don’t really like doing it, wouldn’t you yourself think that you’re torturing an innocent animal? But also, there’s the chance that you could be gored and killed yourself. So how does that play into it?
    I love my cats. They shed too much and they’re constantly hungry (and I feed them PLENTY!), but they love to give me kisses on the nose and to snuggle. My dogs were always happy to see me, and that’s why I continue to give animals a home. They need it, but more than that, I need them.

    And I agree with the NFL comment: more money means better treatment.

  6. The question is somewhat of a false dichotomy; only humans can respond as to the meaning, ergo the value, of life. I imagine if the world’s flora and fauna were suddenly given voice, we would hear that the regard with which the rest of the planet hold our lives to be far less than respectful.

    My personal take is that all life has value – no life should be taken without serious consideration as to why, to include animals slain for food. There is no question that Americans, at least, would be far healthier and live far longer by substantially reducing their meat/fat intake. Moreover, the industrialization that has replaced the actual raising of animals in this country has worsened the lives of that livestock, as well as put at risk much of our food supply.

    We, as a species, could live quite well without meat. That said, meat is tasty.

    Man is a killer. We choose as a culture to live with that. However the chasm between killing for sustenance and killing out of indifference or for pleasure –be it human or animal – is imo so vast as to be morally unbridgeable. And that includes “hunting” as a ‘sport’.
    On the other hand I knew many 18-19 year olds who always got wood at a confirmed kill, who reveled in the blood lust that scared & repulsed the rest of us. What happened to them, I wonder? What happened to those people who liked to kill people? How would they answer your questions? Those folks, or their progeny, are probably still around somewhere…

    Mental illness is yet another cultural construct: an 18 year old working in a slaughter house, or volunteering every fall to bleed out the spring pigs, is still considered differently than an 18 year old cat killer. I do not know what the DSMIV has to say about that, but it is a fact that every serial killer caught in the last century has turned out to have started his ‘career’ by torturing and killing small animals. And those young soldiers, the ones that enjoyed killing people, where do they fit on the mental illness scale? Yes, it was “war”, though the war itself –like this last one – was morally bankrupt, a sham to cover monetary interests: however, because it was sanctified, are they exempt censure? What if they decide, as a casual hobby say, to start killing dogs? Are they now mentally ill?

    Does it make a difference to the answers if we take an a priori Korean mindset? Because dogs are now dinner…

    Barring a universal, non-religious based concept that to kill is wrong, I’m not sure we have the language to have this discussion.

    As for bullfighting, all you can do is say “Ole!” And pass the sangria…

  7. I think that when it’s done for food or if the animal might be a pest (like termites), I don’t have any issues with it. But to kill an animal for entertainment and/or to put them through a horrible/painful death is not something I can stomach.

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