Sunday, September 4, 2011

All of us animals...

is a phrase that sometimes offends or upsets those humans who are ignorant about their own origin and makeup. "Animal" is a word that carries a lot of human social and psychological weight, most of it negative. Earlier I wrote about the fact that the constituents of our DNA are the same for all inhabitants of the planet Earth, no matter what sort of living being we happen to be called. I wrote: "You, me, crabgrass, cockroaches, George Washington...we all share the same four bases for our DNA...the only difference between any of us is the nature of the arrangement."

This fact is sadly not very widely known or promoted. I wonder why?

Testosterone and estrogen are hormones associated respectively with males and females. Actually all males have estrogen in their systems and all females have testosterone in their system, it is the ratio of the hormones that is associated with female and male characteristics. Most folks are vaguely aware of the connection of female - estrogen and male - testosterone though.

Those two hormones are present in some degree in the bodies of all mammals (and some reptiles, birds and insects) that call the planet Earth home. Those two hormones exert some influence on the functioning of all mammals (including human animals) living on this planet.

According to Wikipedia: "Mammals share the same reproductive system, including the regulatory hypothalamic system that releases gonadotropin releasing hormone in pulses, the pituitary that secretes follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone, and the ovary itself releases sex hormones including estrogens and progesterone."

Way back in elementary school you were all told (at least I hope you were) that humans belong to the group of animals called mammals. If you weren't told this, then you were lied to either by omission, commission or neglect.

I'll bet you weren't told this: "Living mammal species can be identified by the presence of sweat glands, including those that are specialized to produce milk." Hmmm, one way to identify a mammal is whether they have sweat glands (and milk is produced by a specialized sweat gland). Puts a new perspective on "dairy" doesn't it.

I am an animal, if you're reading this...you are an animal. We are all animals. Let us all live like good citizen animals of our planet and be ethical vegans...that minimizes the damage we do to our fellow animals and to our planet.





17 comments:

D.E.M. said...

Yes!
you can always tell who is onside and who isn't--in a piece of writing--if the phrase "other animals" is used.... as in, Humans and Other Animals. Versus Humans and Animals, as if a gulf opens up between us.
Or non-human animals: that's another flag of compassion and intelligence, too :)

Someone joked once, though, that if you wanted to see a clear line between human and other animals, esp. dogs, just turn on a vacuum cleaner and watch the reaction! I thought that was pretty funny.

Thanks for the response on my blog--and for tolerating, nay enjoying, my lapses into profanity. I honestly try not to swear all over it, but what can you do. Full of Shit is the just the Best way to describe the exploiters...

veganelder said...

Thanks for commenting DEM, I'm glad you're back and swearing and profanity are some of the bestest things ever invented by us human animals. :-)

I like the dog joke too except it is inaccurate. It is a speciesist (spelling?) joke because it implies all dogs behave the same way and they don't. I know dogs that like to be vacuumed.

The joke is a cool illustration of the fact that most any grouping of living beings contains some measure of inaccuracies because of each being having a unique set of emotional, physical, cognitive abilities and a unique experiential history.

We're all individuals, even dogs... :-)

D.E.M. said...

I wish I could vacuum my dog. She's a hairy beast! and I mean that in the best way, except that vacuuming her would be easier than vacuuming the house all the time. I had a cat who loved being vacuumed, though. It was a great party trick! This cat always loved hanging around the human animals at big gatherings and then purring away when the vacuum came out.

Andrew Hunt said...

This is a wonderful entry. So eloquent. What you say here ought to be a core value that everyone shares. This is our goal as vegans: To get all people to recognize that we're all animals, that our time on earth is limited, that all life is sacred, mysterious and deserves a high quality existence.

Kudos!

Laloofah said...

Right on! It's such a shame that so many of us insist on not only trying to separate ourselves and our species from that of which we are an inseparable part, but on elevating ourselves as well. This illusion of separation and superiority is pervasive, and never has happy nor ultimately satisfying results. I agree that freeing ourselves from it is one of the keys to opening to the empathy and compassion toward all our fellow beings that I believe is within us all.

Speaking of which, you have got to see this post and the video it links to! I think you'll also enjoy the rest of her blog, which she only started a week ago!

Harry said...

Yep, we are indeed all animals. So why is it so &#@!ing hard to imagine us in the place of those we torture? Those we kill. I may have been told when younger that I was a mammal but unfortunately I was also taught how 'different' us humans are. What a load of unfortunate crock! Could that be one of the major reasons our disconnect is so deeply entrenched? And why too many of us open our eyes only well into adulthood? How very, very sad the things we are taught.

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting Andrew. You expressed it as well as can be done, all life is sacred and mysterious. We've fallen into the trap of hierarchicalizing (likely a neologism...sorry) life and astonishingly, amazingly...we placed ourselves at the top of the heap...wow...what a lucky break for us. Sorry, I get sarcastically challenged at times.

A life is a life is a life. The only one with any pretension to to having a platform for evaluating the worth of a life is the possessor of it (and even then such an evaluating seems suspect).

Have Gone Vegan said...

I always find it odd when I see the phrase "they're animals" or "they're worse than animals" to describe people's heinous behaviour when to my knowledge other sentient beings don't rape, torture or kill sheerly for pleasure or profit the way human animals do.

Bea Elliott said...

Hmmm for sure - Sweat glands and dairy... Another spin on the yuck factor!

But yes!!! The dna we all share... The elements we all have in common - Those ingredients that make us all connected... If only more people could grasp that we all come from the heavens: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rE47NelL4j4

We all cockroach and crabgrass belong more to each other than most will admit... We're all stardust!

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting Laloofah. Yeah it's funny how we call ourselves 'superior' and then exhibit that superiority by acting out the fantasy that being able to write "c a t" gives us the right to kill anyone that can't write. Baffling and unsettling. We do act differently that other animals but I'm beginning to be convinced that those different behaviors are principally of a destructive nature.

The video of the little human girl you linked to is a delight. I marvel that most human children are tuned in to other animals then lose that connection. I hope Olivia keeps on keeping on. I saw your comment about the name and that was something that immediately struck me when watching the video...revulsion...then laughter. Us bewildered monkeys are a curious bunch. :-)

veganelder said...

Thanks for commenting Harry. The mammal information is significant but we sure spend lots of time explaining to ourselves how it doesn't matter, don't we? We are the animal that fantasizes and then believes the fantasies.

veganelder said...

Thanks for commenting HGV. It is an insult to the other animals isn't it? Properly stated: "He (or she) is behaving like a human"...that would be a more correct phrase.

veganelder said...

Thanks for commenting Bea. Yuck factors abound don't they?

Like Carl Sagan used to say: "We are all star stuff."

Christina said...

I have always known I am an animal and that compared to the other species, I am lacking.

veganelder said...

Thanks for commenting Christina. I'm lacking too.

David Ashton said...

We often forget one of the animals we mistreat the most - the one wearing our clothes.

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting David. Hmmm. I’m not sure I know what you meant by your comment. It is indeed true that we human animals mistreat ourselves often and it is true that we should not do such. We have and do often injure and harm other members of our own species and there is no question that such harming should cease but perhaps what is confusing is that we also pay much more attention to the harm we cause ourselves and publicize this commensurately and an infinitely small amount of attention to the harm we cause other animals and hardly ever publicize this.

For instance, if we look at deaths...we don't mistreat ourselves more than we do our fellow animals, e.g. over 10 billion other animals were murdered in the U.S. last year by humans...only 14,748 human animals were killed by us (notice that exact counts are available for human animals, not so for other animals). If we look at charitable giving as a proxy for attempting to help the mistreated (among others) only about 2% of all charitable giving is directed toward helping animals (and that is misleading since this also include helping the environment). If we look at medical care, the amount spent for the care of other animals is only a fraction of a percent of the amount we spend to care for our own species.

We have and do often injure and harm other members of our species and there is no question that such harming should cease but perhaps what is distorts our perceptions is that we also pay much more attention to the harm we cause ourselves and publicize this commensurately and an infinitely small amount of attention to the harm we cause other animals and hardly ever publicize this.

Some time ago I decided that any and all charitable donations I would make would only be toward organizations assisting other animals. We cause ourselves harm but we also devote immeasurably much more attention and resources to that harm than we do to the harm we cause the other animals.

Hopefully we can get to a point where we rarely mistreat any being but if mistreatment happens it should be rare and sporadic. I look forward to it being the case that one of the animals we mistreat the most is ourselves...we're not there yet…but someday. Thanks for commenting (maybe inadvertently) about the current imbalance.