Cruelty To Animals For Food
A limited time offer! Get a custom sample essay written according to your requirements urgent 3h delivery guaranteedOrder Now
As we learned in class, animals are horribly abused and mistreated for the purpose of human consumption, especially in greasy, processed, unhealthy fast-food. Animals should receive better treatment from humans because they have similar biology, cognitive processes and complex cognition, feelings and emotions, behavior, and they have made many contributions to society throughout history. At first glance, a pig, for example, may seem quite dissimilar to a human, but a simple dissection to view the pig’s biology can prove this otherwise. First, inside the pig’s cranium lies its brain. Its brain has the same appearance of a human brain, but on a smaller scale. Both a pig’s brain and a human’s brain have a brain stem, a medulla oblongata, all four lobes (parietal, temporal, occipital, and frontal), as well as a long list of nerves. Professor Jenny Graves, the AO FAA School of Life Sciences at La Trobe University in Australia, explains that, “A pig weighing around 60 kilograms will, for example, resemble a human body in many ways, including fat distribution, cover of hair and ability to attract insects” (Graves).
Humans and animals have similar physiology, so there should not be such a large gap in the way we view animals and humans. Graves even explains that pigs are a translational research model for human anatomy, meaning that the research done on a pig’s body is near identical to the results of research done on a human’s body. Because of our biological similarities, animals should be treated less as vermin, but more so as pets. Animals do have many brain physicalities that are consistent with those of a human, and because of this can cognitively process experiences and memories similarly. For a human to remember and cognitively process an event, the memory must first be sensed (such as with sight, touch, or smell), then the memory will move into short-term memory. After a memory is remembered for a few seconds in short-term memory, it is encoded into our long-term memory. Contrary to popular belief, fish have long-term memories just as humans do. Though it is common to think that fish have short memories and cannot cognitively process events as a human can, this is simply incorrect.
In research neuroscientist Dr. Aislinn Simpson’s study of fish memories, he found that fish have the capacity to remember events for up to five months. Dr. Simpson recalls, “Scientists at the Israeli Technion Institute of Technology in Haifa spent a month schooling young fish to associate a certain sound with feeding time. They then released the fish into the wild and, five months later when they were adults, repeated the sound. To their delight, the fish returned, proving that they had remembered the association” (Simpson). By this, he highlights factual research regarding fish and their capacity to remember. Not only do they display emotions that replicate humans, they also have an amazing sense of awareness to the world around them and an elaborate consciousness that proves their brain is capable of more provocative thoughts. Harry Harutunian, professor and researcher for Psychology Today puts it this way: “Animals clearly exhibit basic forms of attention, enabling them to search for food or avoid predators or navigate through complex environments.
Some animals even exhibit higher-level behaviors by being able to manipulate tools or even possess a very rudimentary language” (Harutunian). The fact that animals are able to have attention spans, memory, problem solving skills, and individual unique forms of communication supports the idea that their minds are anything but simplistic. In behavioral biologist Victoria Braithwaite’s article “Hooked on a myth” she explains key similarities between animals and humans. Victoria Braithwaite explains, “Tool making and developmental sophisticated language skills are just two of the many attributes we once thought were exclusive to our species” (Braithwaite). Animals can think, perceive their environment, and understand each other in exclusive ways. Animals can feel as humans can, and also behave as humans do. When a cat meows to alert its owner that he should open the door for her, she practices operant conditioning. Operant conditioning is a term coined by behavioral psychologist B.F. Skinner. In this case, said cat is practicing negative reinforcement with the human.
First, she meows, which serves as an aversive stimulus. Next, the owner opens the door in order to remove this aversive stimulus. By this, she is acting in a way that a human may act when teaching a child or pet. Humans also practice operant conditioning. In this example, if a cat were to allow her curiosity to take her over and climbs the protective screen by a window, the human would spray her with water so that she stops. This is negative reinforcement because the human is providing an aversive stimulus, in this case water, in order for the feline’s behavior to stop. Not only do animals have similar biological structures and cognitive processes to humans; they also feel similarly. Braithwaite suggests, “When I have a headache, I reach for the aspirin. What happens if we give the fish painkillers after injecting noxious substances? Remarkably, they begin to behave normally again. So their adverse behavior is induced by the experience of pain,” (Braithwaite). Braithwaite illustrates how fish feel pain just as humans do. When a fish is hooked by a fisherman and dragged above water, where it suffocates, it can feel the entire traumatizing incident, and learns to not fall for malicious human traps again, if it is lucky enough to be released instead of slaughtered.
Many people assume humans only possess emotions. However, this is not the case. Science has proven that animals of all sorts are capable of a multitude of feelings, such as anger, love, remorse, and even empathy. In the article, “Yes, Animals Think and Feel” by award winning National Geographic author Simon Worrall, he expresses, “many animals express empathy for each other. There are documented stories of elephants finding people who were lost. In one case, an old woman who could not see well, got lost and was found the next day with elephants guarding her. They had encased her in sort of a cage of branches to protect her from hyenas” (Worrall). To be empathetic means to have interpersonal skills and social skills. Empathy involves many parts of the brain, and it is extremely complex. To know that animals show such a difficult emotion, among other complicated feelings, proves that they are more humane.
Their ability to feel pain and their contribution to society relates them to humans tremendously. Braithwaite describes, “Animals are more than simple automata . . . we have just as much evidence that fish suffer just as much as chickens can” (Braithwaite). If animals can feel pain and can suffer just like humans, then they deserved to be treated with more consideration. Other species also have aided humans in all different aspects. For example, dogs can aid humans with anxiety or health impairments. There have been many animals that have shaped history, such as Cheer Ami, the carrier pigeon who saved US troops; Cairo, the dog who helped take down Osama Bin Laden; and a nimble monkey who helped take down monarchs. If these animals are able to help humans in various ways, they must not be so different from us.
While many of us see the terrors of animal mistreatment, corporate giants such as fast food chains simply do not care. Large fast food corporations, like McDonald’s, condone the abuse of animals in order to earn a profit. The process of McDonald’s meat sales is simple: abuse, slaughter, process mechanically, ship, and sell to consumers. First, McDonald’s farmers raise animals in terrible living conditions consisting of being pumped full of steroids, being whipped and tortured, and being forced to live in a two square-foot pen back-to-back with other animals. Then the animals are hung upside down and brutally slaughtered, and their blood spills out as they move through the factory. Next, a machine grinds them up until they are unrecognizable. Lastly, the mutilated animals are shipped to McDonald’s restaurants before they are sold to and consumed by aloof consumers. McDonald’s shows no respect for animals and treats them as products rather than creatures.
Everywhere, we hear people brag about how they are vegan, and see advertisements from anti-abuse humane treatment organizations, like Peta, but allow animal rights to pass over our heads. Most of us care about animals, going so far as to house them, call them by name, and treat them as companions. However, many of us hate to think of the harsh reality that comes with taking a bite of a McGriddle: animals are horribly mistreated and even mutilated to become a poor excuse for a food source. Perhaps, instead of just allowing anti-animal abuse advertisements flow over our heads, we should take into consideration that a creature, similar to us, suffered its entire life just to be made into a burger. Humans should consider that animals have thoughts, feelings, and even bodies just like us. If we are not mutilating and tearing apart each other as a food source, we should not do so to innocent creatures who only wish to live a peaceful and fulfilling life, without pain and abuse, just as humans do.