I’m delving into an impossibly tricky area of amateur philosophy: do animal advocates have to hate kitten exploitation videos? There are so many ‘funny cat videos’ featuring oh so cute kittens on social media that they’ve become a way of modern life. PETA would call them animal abuse. No doubt about it. And I often do as well because in a mild way they are animal exploitation for human entertainment. And a study found that around 34 percent of the cats involved in these videos were stressed.
Is this cute kitten stressed?
He/she does not look stressed. She seems to be accepting it. And it is a cute video. I enjoyed it. I feel almost guilty in enjoying it!
Thin end of the wedge
This must be about how far we go in exploiting animals when deciding if it is acceptable. Although there is an argument that says that any animal exploitation is bad because it reinforces the wrong values in our relationship with animals.
The cute, fun video above which has been seen 135 million times (yes, a hell of a lot), sends out a subliminal message to the 135 million people who’ve seen it – mostly young people – that it is okay to use animals to have some fun (today’s youth are tomorrow’s animal advocates).
This cements what is already a deeply entrenched and incorrect relationship between the human-animal and animals namely one dominated by speciesism and the feeling that humans are superior to all animals and that they only exist to be used to benefit humans. This is called anthropocentrism.
Anthropocentrism means that humans see themselves as the centre of all life on the planet and as we dominate the planet – and in our ignorance destroy it – we can do as we please in our relationship with animals.
But this attitude can lead to unimaginable animal cruelty. For example: the dog meat trade in China and other Asian countries. This is human behavior at the extreme end of communal ignorance. It is cultural ignorance founded on beliefs from ancient times now totally outmoded.
It seems to me that there is a very wide spectrum of types of animal abuse. At one end is the amusing video on this page and at the other end there is the true horror of the dog and cat meat hell in Asia and so many other versions of animal hell on Earth created by humankind. They are all part of the same problem.
And here’s the problem: humans don’t want to stop abusing and exploiting animals. There’s an international treaty called CITES – Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. It’s objective: to protect animals and plants from abuse and exploitation. To conserve them for the future. It is widely ignored and unenforced. It is worth billions of US dollars annually.
The funny cat video on this page is a reflection of the same human attitude that results in widespread, global animal abuse of the gravest kind.
Yes, we have to hate these videos in the name of decency and in our efforts to improve animal welfare which is needed.
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