Now, many point out that it doesn’t make much moral difference, eating cows, or pigs, vs dogs. That the difference is mostly arbitrary, based on sentiment.
And on the surface, this makes a lot of sense. After all, people can demonstrate the exceptional intelligence certain pigs have, and that they can even be smarter than dogs, or maybe even cats for that matter. Cows can probably do amazing things too. And i’m sure there are other qualities, that are much the same, so that it’s not entirely clear why a dog’s life should have any more value than any other animal that we do eat.
And such people are basically correct, except for one small matter. For whatever reason, along the course of human history, Humanity chose an animal to befriend.
I suppose we could have chosen pigs or chickens or cows, but we didn’t. We chose dogs.
We’re omnivores, with enough ingenuity we could eat just about anything on this planet if we wanted to, and of course, like those very clever ethicists point out, it wouldn’t have made much difference if we chose dogs for that, but for whatever reason we didn’t. We could have eaten anything, but we said to dogs instead, “Hey, we can eat anything, but we’re not gonna eat you, let’s just be friends instead.” And dogs seemed rather chill about it.
Now, you can argue all you want about whether or not it was right, but its pretty clear that this choice happened, and it happened all over the world.
So what’s at stake when it comes to eating dogs, is not whether there is any “intrinisic moral value of a dogs life or over that of any other animal” but rather, whether we can do that at all. Befriend a species.
Because if we turn around and say to the animal we befriended, “Hey, ya know what , I was kidding about the whole us being friends thing, I’m gonna eat you instead,” then what we’re really saying is that we’re incapable of befriending an animal. That we don’t have the power as human beings to make such a decision.
But if your moral abstractions are so certain, let’s do it, we can all give it up, we can give up the relationship. The only cost, is that we’re a little less human.
Now I don’t know if this was a completely conscious decision, or a little unconscious, but I am certain of one thing. Whenever it happened, when human beings decided to befriend another species, I’m sure another animal saw it. Because right after, the next thing they did was say to us, “Hey, I see what you did there, I can do the same thing to you.”
And I guess now we have to live with cats as friends too, against our will basically.