Equal rights for animals, species equality. What do these things imply?
Many people who are not part of the animal rights movement (or ARM) will criticize these concepts with uneloquent statements in protestation such as “What’s next, will it be legal to marry a dog?” or “Let’s just make a cow president!”
Let me first state that equating the worth of a human being to that of another animal does not mean treating nonhuman animals like human. If anything, that would be unnatural and much closer to animal cruelty than equality, as animals have their own natural ecology and ethology that is seperate from our own, and it would do them more harm than good by expecting them to want (or understand) what we want.
Should it imply that humans be morally obligated to refrain from the consumption of meat or to assure the welfare of others, it would also imply a seperation of worth. Considering humans, a mere animal species, to be “morally obligated” to do anything at all is still not equating them to other species.
Be it a human, spider, leech, armadillo, hyena, African wild dog, lynx, or eagle, it matters not. Be it oak tree, or fungi, or bacteria, it matters not. We all, in the end, exist for one another. We live to be eaten. We live to die. All existence is a cycle. With no death, there would be no life. And life thrives on death, be you omnivore, carnivore, or herbivore. In the grand scheme of things, no one life matters more than another. The welfare of our planet is above the welfare of any one individual organism.
“Memento, homo, quad cinis es
Et in cenerem reverentis”