Animals should be treated with respect

PUBLISHED : Monday, 21 September, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 21 September, 2009, 12:00am

Some people say human beings differ from animals because we have culture and we have conscience. They also say animals are unable to exercise free choice. But are we really so different?

I think there isn't such a large difference between human beings and animals. It is true we have the ability to make choices, and some of us are highly intelligent. But many scientific studies have shown that animals, such as the octopus and the dolphin, are also very clever. They can make decisions based on the information they have. Perhaps humans are intelligent enough to control animals, but that does not mean animals completely lack intelligence.

I think humans should be less arrogant and see animals as equals. We treat nature as if we can control it. But we are just a speck in the universe. We are not rulers of the world.

Sunny Chan, STFA Tam Pak Yu College

From the Editor

Thanks for your letter, Sunny. It's nice to think of humans living with respect for animals, well, for all nature, really. But it is hard to understand exactly what this means. Does it mean we should not pollute, not build and grow and not use nature's resources? Or does it mean we should not eat animals?

First and foremost we need to be realistic. Like it or not, we are the top of the food chain - we are the rulers of the world. What this means, though, is open to discussion. Usually we try to manage our resources according to our understanding of how they work, and our immediate needs. Sadly this is not always the best way. Often we only find out when it is too late that things we thought would work are not ideal.

Susan, Editor