Ricky Gervais and Richard Dawkins are very similar in their attitude and thoughts about animal rights. I admire them both. I am sure that their attitude is similar to millions of others. It certainly chimes totally with me. Gervais is a comedian and animal rights advocate and he is so important in the animal rights movement because he has a big voice. Animals are blessed to have him on their side. He prefers animals to the human-animal. He loves dogs above all.
There is something infantile in the presumption that somebody else has a responsibility to give your life meaning and point… The truly adult view, by contrast, is that our life is as meaningful, as full and as wonderful as we choose to make it. ― Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion
Dawkins in an intellectual type. He is a philosopher and a biologist who has criticised the concept of a God (see quote above). He is as sharp as a tack. You can’t beat him in an argument as he has all the arguments. He is incredibly logical, sensible and above all he is RIGHT as is Gervais who’s as sharp as a tack too.
Dawkins is as important as Gervais in the animal rights movement. He makes a point that we should all heed and be mindful of. Let’s project forward to 500 years into the future. Humans in that future era (if humankind exists at that time) will look back at us as we are now and think how chronically crude and ignorant we are in terms of our relationship with animals (animal advocates and lovers excluded of course).
Gervais mentions a couple of classic examples of our cruel and misguided relationship with non-human animals: bullfighting and sport hunting. He is baffled by bullfighting as am I. And he is equally disgusted by the sport/trophy hunters. These activities are the symptoms of humankind’s continued arrogance about its relationship with animals (the ‘us and them’ attitude – speciesism) and its ignorance about the sentience of animals, their ability to feel pain, and their intelligence.
Pretty well all of us believe that fish are unfeeling objects that we can hook out of the oceans in their billions and suffocate to death on the deck of ships. Fish feel pain. Damn it, even flies feel a kind of pain.
It seems to me that sport hunters think that animals don’t feel pain. Or they conveniently brush that under the carpet. You never hear them discuss the pain they cause in order to experience their pleasure. There is an almost unholy balance between the pain they cause the animals they shoot and the pleasure they enjoy in shooting them.
Note: there are 3 embedded YouTube videos on this page. They may stop working after a while. I can’t stop that as I can’t control their presence on YouTube. If they don’t work, I am sorry.
- Pain doesn’t need intellect
- Pain exists to warn us and other animals to not do ‘that’ again as it risks taking our lives. It is warning.
If the animal does something which results in pain, that is a kind of ritual death – it is telling the animal, ‘If you do that again you might die and fail to reproduce’. That’s why natural selection has built the capacity to feel pain into our nervous systems. You could say since pain is there to warn the animal not to do that again… an animal that is a slow learner or less intelligent might need more intense pain in order to deter [them] from doing it again, than a human who is intelligent enough to learn quickly.
I’d like the trophy hunters to sit quietly in their living rooms, surrounded by the stuffed heads of the animals they’ve shot for pleasure and cogitate on Dawkin’s words on the pain that animals can feel. They won’t change their attitude as it is so deeply engrained but they might develop some doubts about the morality of what they are doing. These people have been indoctrinated by their parents when they were kids to believe it is okay to shoot animals for pleasure. They are blind.
Here is a short video by Ricky on animal rights.