Now this may seem like a cliché but our grade of humanity is also gauged by how we treat animals and nature. A 2 year old giraffe named Marius – knowing his name is perhaps pointless but it humanizes the story and makes it look even more appalling-… so Marius has been killed by Copenhagen zookeepers. His flesh was then thrown away to lions. And as if it was not enough : when the animal’s body was cut up, a large public was present, among which a substantial number of children.
The reason brought up by zoo officials, was that Marius’ genes were well represented among the captive giraffe population in European zoos… OK. We have enough of your kind, so die… to state it simply and brutally. How could they not think about this before? I mean : is there no birth control for giraffes or other captive animals? Is this the way they feed lions and big cats now? Euthanasia appears as a standard measure in all zoos when space is lacking or when genes are unremarkable.
So the question is : do we still need zoos? Defenders may claim that animals die anyway in their natural environment, that even though they are locked in cages, they are being fed and taken care of. True but they are free in their native surroundings. Freedom does not fill stomachs but it sure fills the soul. But animals do not have a soul, right? Or do they?
Whether despised or put on a pedestal, animals are mirrors of the state of our society. The way we treat them says a lot about the shape of our mind. It reveals much about our connection to our environment. And most of all, it has a huge impact on the state of humanity.
We, humans, always thought we were at the top of the food chain, which rightfully makes us so arrogant, so superior. Sometimes the animal is given a subhuman status ; sometimes, it is just another object to serve our purposes. In both cases, we think the whole universe is revolving around us. We must have control over everything, all creatures must be brought to heel. Call it anthropomorphism. Call it dehumanization.
Two years ago, neuroscientists signed the Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness, in presence of Stephen Hawking. For the first time, some knowledgeable humans admitted that animals have consciousness. When will we, as humans, raise our consciousness?