This is the third part of a four part series on Ethics based on the human and animal relationship.
We cannot stop ourselves from taking life. If we are not killing humans, we are killing animals, and if we are not killing animals, then we are killing organic life like plants and trees etc.
Living things consume, yet some living things do not consume i.e. protozoan and diseases like HIV do not consume but reproduce. Thus we come to the conclusion that anything that reproduces in some way or another is alive. We also come to the conclusion as living things, that taking away life is bad. Life itself is good, for it is the binding force that unites all of things into two categories: living and non-living. Yet the dilemma is consumption. Many living things are consumers: trees consume carbon dioxide, herbivores consume grass, and carnivores consume other animals. To live is good, and for some animals it is necessary to consume to continue life. The conclusion of this syllogism provides us with a justifiable answer to our ethically troubled conscience, it is good to consume.
But what if I consume my brother? I am hungry and decide to take his life instead of eating a cow for the sake of continuing my own life. We must attach qualifications to the consumption rule. Do these qualifications involve being a speciest? Must we ally ourselves only to those that share our human-based DNA? I believe that we are in a state of nature with all other animal species in the world. Just as nations are in a state of nature today on the international scene (less so now that there is an international conscience like NATO). We have clearly won the free for all that existed before advanced civilization, and the only reason that so many animals still exist today is for their remoteness from immediate civilization and their utility. The utility we find in exploiting other animals is what truly showcases our cruelty. This is the hardest part of our journey; we must be magnanimous victors and push our charitable faculties to the utmost extreme. I do not believe we can treat them like humans, just like how flamingos would not treat humans as flamingos if they had won the species free for all in evolution. What is in our power however is to be kind rather than cruel.