Are you really an animal lover?

Opinion by Grace Purvis

A love for animals is a natural instinct. For most humans, animals are more than something you own. Animals are a friend, a brother or sister and a loved one.

A few years ago I started volunteering at a local animal refuge that worked to rehome abandoned, lost and surrendered dogs and cats. My heart broke for all the little furry friends who wanted nothing more then to be loved and homed.

By no surprise I ended up adopting two cats over a period of a year and my love for animals began to grow.

I had been eating meat and animal products my whole life and like most people, I thought a life without meat and animal products was insane and so unattainable.

But, as my two new little crazy cats settled in to my home and became our family, their personalities started to show and I realised just how individualised they were.

I had a reoccurring thought that lingered until one day I decided to address it.

“What makes my two cats any different from that cow I just had for lunch or the chicken I’m going to eat for dinner?”

The truth is that nothing makes them different. Nothing makes a cat or a dog any different from the cow that got its life taken away just to satisfy our taste buds.

The thought of killing a cat or dog and having it for dinner with a side of gravy makes most people feel sick, so why is it okay for an innocent cow, lamb or chicken to be slaughtered and no one second thinks it?

Who decides who is more worthy of life?

A number of studies have been done to prove and explain just how smart farm animals (pigs, cows, chickens etc.) are.

Researchers at the University of Cambridge found that pigs recognise themselves when looking in a mirror and also show an understanding of how reflections work.

Another study from the University of Cambridge found that sheep are able to memorise 50 faces of fellow sheep, even after many years.

The reason why I point out the fact that farm animals have been shown to be as smart, if not smarter, then household pets is because of the fact it highlights just how unequal societies views on animals are.

I urge you to the next time you’re playing with your household furry friends to think about what it would feel like if someone was to come take it away and cook it for dinner (extreme I know), but what makes a cat or dog any different from a cow or a chicken.

Animals have everything apart from a voice. They should all be equal just as all humans should be equal.

We need to be the voice they were born without.

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