Animals in America


In class the other day the topic of animal cruelty came up and I wanted to expand on something Dr. Sastry mentioned, the idea of people adhering to ideologies about animal rights. It is really interesting to me how human beings pick and choose which animals they care about. Why does a dolphin matter more than a pig? I’d even go as far as to say why do people care more about puppies that are abused than they do baby cows in a factory farm?

Today after class I happened to see this article about how owners are getting upset over a new study that determined dogs dreams about their owners. People are actually crying and emotionally moved by the idea that dogs have dreams just like we do. So naturally I look at the comment sections and one of the first comments I see is saying basically pigs are smarter than dogs, which is true, so what on earth do you think they dream about while awaiting slaughter? Pretty hard to comprehend for me personally.

Why is that human beings, especially within America seem to go above and beyond for their personal pets and the thought of someone harming their dog is hard to imagine without getting upset, but we turn a blind eye to factory farmed animals left and right, acting as though, those animals just aren’t important to us whatsoever because just like the anthropocentric ideology of nature being for humans to just exploit, farm animals are beneath humans and therefore have no value other than for us to consume and use as we see fit. It doesn’t make sense to me.


3 thoughts on “Animals in America

  1. great topic. In my opinion (at least within the american population) i think people place more importance on certain animels over others due to bias (they own or have owned the animal ex a puppy) so they imagine their animal instead of a random so that makes the person more sensitive towards that particular pet. But low education mixed with the idea of food is probably another reason. If you are not educated, but still need to eat, you probably wont think twice about the burger you ate being an abused cow or pig. people with higher education may still choose to to eat the burger, but are more likely to think about the bigger picture and what happens behind the scenes.


  2. I think one reason people care more for, say, dogs than pigs is that pigs are a commodity for human consumption. This largely changes the way that people look at pigs. If you were to have a pet pig (not on a farm where the pig serves monetary or food purposes), I’m sure you would feel differently. Since pigs and dogs live in a largely different part of our world where we only see pigs in packages in the store and dogs are sold/found and kept as pets for our enjoyment, their difference in services to us changes our perceptions of them. Wolves were once domesticated to serve purposes of travel and movement of goods to humans, and from this is where we started domesticating them and now we have dogs.

    Also, once people are taught that pigs are to be eaten, once they have the experience of the food is it difficult to change this behavior. Yes, it is true that some people become vegetarian or vegan after watching Food Inc. or other films like that. Other people who watch it, though, continue to eat pigs because of cost, they “just can’t part with (insert meat here),” or because they forget about the cruelty from what they’ve seen when they go to purchase food at a grocery store. These messages from the movies would have different effects if graphic pictures were put on meat packages, like how black lung pictures are put on cigarette packages in certain countries. The way American society is, with very high meat consumption and large corporations that control meat industries, this would never happen.

    Annelise Wilimitis


  3. It is always a shame to know there are animals that live such diverging lifestyle compared to other, based on that fact that we humans place differing self worth on them. It reminds me of a cartoon I once saw about a horse, cow, goat, pig and dog sitting at a round table, with all the barn animals a gasp that the dog gets to sleep in the human’s bed. Never the less I think there will always be a skewed growth and conservation of the likable animals, unfortunately. Thanks for the great read.

    -Allison Johnson


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