Compassion From An Ethical Standpoint Essay

969 words - 4 pages

CompassionI often offer my time to the Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF), whether it is working hands on with the animals or helping raise money for the organization. I have compassion for these animals that were once neglected or victims of violence; in fact, it is their suffering that motivates me to help, because I share in the pain they feel. But the animals at ARF are limited to dogs, cats, horses, and various domesticated animals, so what about other animals that humans inflict pain on, such as cattle? Cattle, chicken, and other livestock are animals that I regularly consume; therefore can I honestly say I agree with Compte-Sponville's claim that we should have compassion for animals? Why do I feel certain animals deserve my compassion, while others simply get my pity? The only logical outcome I can come to is that I breakdown animals into two different categories.Compte-Sponville states "to have compassion means to suffer with" (103). I know I have felt compassion for animals, but only towards certain ones (dogs, cats, horses, primates, dolphins, elephants, etc). To be honest, I feel compassion for most animals (insects excluded, since they are creatures that lack a brain and a nervous system; therefore do not know the concept of pain on any level). These animals make up one category; a category of "special animals." The other category is what I would refer to as "livestock," which consists of cattle, chickens, turkeys, pigs, etc. These are animals that are raised for the sole purpose of slaughtering and consuming. I would like to imagine I feel compassion towards these animals when they are slaughtered, but if that were the case then I would not succumb to my carnivorous urges and order a steak. The truth of the matter is I eat these animals with no remorse because I feel we as humans are above them. We as humans can not relate on an emotional level with these animals like we can with "special animals.""Pity entails some degree of contempt," explains Sponville (114), but it is not that I have dislike towards animals considered livestock, and I do not find them as worthless. These animals are inferior to humans on the evolutionary scale, and because humans are predators and natural omnivores, most feel guiltless when consuming livestock. These select animals are inferior to the aforementioned "special animals" as well because, let's face it, a chicken does not have the same complexity that a monkey has. It is within that complexity that humans can find an emotional connection with these "special animals." This emotional connection is the ability for humans to feel compassion towards the "special animals," and for them to express compassion in return.One could argue that the chicken still feels the pain when slaughtered, so what is the difference between...

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