I read a news story about some environmentalists in Australia who proposed killing the country's camels to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
This made me think about the status of humans. Currently, we are the masters of the planet. We are free to do whatever we wish with other animal species.
We use rats and mice in laboratory experiments, and we raise cattle, pigs and poultry at giant farms so we could eat them. But do we have the right to decide the fate of these animals?
In a recent anime, I saw aliens come down to Earth and begin using humans as their slaves. We are behaving just like those aliens. We don't think about the effects our actions will have on other forms of life.
Wai Kin-long, The Chinese Foundation Secondary School
From the Editor
Thank you for your letter, Kin-long. The question 'What right do we have to rule the Earth?' is often raised by students. And like many of life's questions, there is no easy answer.
People's views on this are mostly shaped by religion. Some religions believe that humans have the God-given right of dominion over the Earth and all its creatures. They may disagree about what dominion means.
Other religions believe that it is wrong to take a life and so support vegetarianism, but often fall down on the practicality of their ideal.
Yet others believe that Nature should be in charge but, to be honest, Nature is pretty cruel. And if you believe that God created the world, then God must also have created Nature.
Nature tries to kill humans all the time, and we interfere.
We definitely interfered when we imported camels to Australia. They have run wild and as their population grows unchecked, they are causing huge damage. I doubt, however, that killing them off would help solve the problem of global warming.
Animals die every day to feed people. As long as they are killed humanely, it seems to be a tragic fact of life that some animals must become food for others. That happens in Nature, too.