By Dr. Brian May on Serbian Animals Voice
Someone asked me recently what I wanted to be remembered for. We Will Rock You? Playing atop Buckingham Palace? You? Playing atop Buckingham Palace?
I said, given the choice, I’d rather be remembered for hastening the end of cruelty to animals and sowing the seeds for true respect in the way we treat all creatures.
Seems like a radical change of career for me, doesn’t it? My love of music is unshakeable, along with a love of Astrophysics, Stereoscopy, and Photoshop, but my love of animals has led me to a place I would rather not have to be, where I put my guitar down, and try to give animals a voice.
So daily I make myself very unpopular with various people, who still believe animals were put on Earth to be used and abused at will by humans.
Human is the name we give ourselves, and there is an adjective derived from it, implying compassion, sensibility, fairness: the word “humane”.
Throughout history man has tried to justify his behaviour towards fellow man and other animals.
In the Age of Enlightenment, he was justifying burning women at the stake because they had the devil in them.
Writing the US constitution for the Land of the Free, he was justifying keeping slaves, because “they were not the same as us”, and society would collapse without slavery. Men have justified so many appalling behaviours: torturing political prisoners, degradation of women, abuse of children, victimisation of minorities, near eradication of native peoples.
These hideous abuses are looked back on with shame. How did we ever imagine that because a human looked different, he didn’t have feelings, the right to freedom, food, respect and equal opportunities?
Another revolution is happening now. We have begun to realise other creatures on
this planet have just as much right to live, breathe and enjoy their time as we
But we are at the primitive beginnings of this realisation.
As I write, millions of animals are suffering at the hands of humans.
Animal farming (read “Eating Animals” by Jonathan Safran Foer) involves the abuse of millions of creatures every day that have senses and feelings similar to ours.
Ian Redmond OBE, the world-famous zoologist, says that a generation ago, any biologist attributing “maternal feelings and behaviour” to a mother monkey cuddling her offspring would be accused of anthropomorphism and never taken seriously as a scientist again.
This is no longer the case. Recent mapping of genomes has revealed the uncanny similarity of the human make-up to that of primates and only a little less closely to mammals such as mice and rats.
It is now accepted that the idea “humans think and behave rationally, but
animals act just on instinct” is unsupportable.
In 2004, after 100 years of work from animal-caring people, a Hunting Act was passed in this country banning the cowardly and despicable “sport” of fox-hunting along with hare-coursing, and stag hunting with packs of dogs. Recently we saw public outrage at the senseless killing of just one magnificent stag simply for its antlers.
But this is merely the tip of a huge iceberg: millions of highly intelligent creatures, more intelligent than the cats and dogs this nation loves so much, are being abused in Britain at this minute.
Pigs, cows, lambs are bred purely as commodities, ready for the brutal slaughterhouse.
Chickens are bred in appalling battery conditions without the mercy of a decent life or a decent death.
All farmed animals are now species that have been created by man to fulfill demand for more productivity and more more money with no regard for their welfare.
Those turkeys, which will be slaughtered in their cartloads this Christmas, could never even walk.
Other birds are bred in battery conditions, released for a pitifully short life, and shot at with shotguns, for fun.
Millions of primates, who are our closest relatives, are experimented on, kept in pitiful cages in laboratories, the concentration camps we call “humane”.
And we have a government that wants to bring back fox-hunting (claiming it’s humane, calling for “proof” that foxes suffer pain).
It is also attempting to license farmers to kill badgers on their land in a futile attempt to control Bovine TB with a “science-based” cull, which all scientific evidence says will fail.
Morally? It’s all utterly indefensible. And it’s still legal to use wild animals in circuses. It all needs to change.
Attitudes are changing, the light is dawning, but we need to call clearly for what we want. For justice for animals.
To help, visit organisations dedicated to freeing animals from slavery: The Born Free Foundation, The Badger Trust, BUAV, LACS, IFAW, PETA, and our own www.Save-Me.org.uk. Join the compassionate army. Together we will usher in a better world in which compassion and decency will never be mistaken for sentimentality, and all creatures will have a voice.