What do you see when you look at an animal? A kindred spirit, a creature much like you; but possibly, the very next moment, a beast, a stranger, just an animal. Animals are like those pictures that we see as one thing and then another; the duck that suddenly becomes a rabbit; the wineglass that’s also an old woman in profile. Now the pig is a fellow creature, like Wilbur in Charlotte’s Web. Now he’s pork.
Carl Safina’s Evidence That Other Animals Think And Feel
And each year we kill for food billions of animals we raise as prisoners and whose lives are often more terrible than their deaths. Even if we do continue eating animals, we could do much better by them and raise them more humanely. The way people treat animals affects the way they treat people: if you brutalize animals, you are probably hardhearted toward humans, too.
Dolphins who hear their own signature whistled by another dolphin call back. They don’t respond to a dolphin who whistles a third dolphin’s signature call. In other words, they call each other by name, and they answer when they hear their own name called. Dolphins call their close friends’ names when they are separated. No other mammal seems to do that (that we know of).
We’re on our way to an REO — a “real-estate-owned” property, or foreclosed home — in Dryden, Washington, about an hour’s drive from Ellensburg, where we both live. My dad does maintenance on bank-owned houses. I finished graduate school this past June, and I’ve been his sidekick ever since.
We went to sleep, and in the morning they were here. We saw them on our screens as they emerged from a grove of trees a hundred miles west of us. Their ship had crashed. It was made of a rose-gold metal and looked like a claw with a broken tip. Within hours the government had moved these beings — the “blues,” we eventually came to call them — to a holding station outside the nearest city. There we could watch them whenever we wanted, because of the cameras in each room.
The animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth.
— Henry Beston