Are Animals Scapegoat Victims?
Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion Article from


Stephen Kaufman, M.D., Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

Are Animals Scapegoat Victims? 

Many animal advocates regard animal exploitation and abuse as a manifestation of human selfishness and greed. To the degree that people acknowledge that harming animals is wrong but still endorse the practice, animal protectionists have little hope. We canít change hearts that are already rock-hard. However, I think there is good reason to believe that animal abuse largely derives from deep-seated hopes and fears, and if these hopes and fears were addressed, humans would have significantly less inclination to harm animals.
All of us want to believe that we are good, and for those who believe in God there is a strong desire to believe that God thinks they are good. Therefore, I doubt many people say to themselves, ďI know animal abuse is wrong and a crime against God, but I donít care.Ē Instead, people tend to seek justifications for their behavior, and thatís where scapegoating comes in. Scapegoating involves the attribution of guilt (in this case the guilt associated with contributing to animal abuse) onto others.
Sometimes those who speak up for animals are the scapegoats. They are accused of being sentimental, irrational, or of loving animals more than people. Christians often accuse Christian vegans and vegetarians of distorting the Bible or even of heresy. In short, those who donít like the message often denounce the messenger. Often, they will claim that the messenger is preachy or holier-than-thou, regardless of how respectfully the message has been delivered.
More often, in my opinion, the animals themselves are scapegoats, as well as victims of abuse. Next essay, I will explore how animals are falsely accused of inferiority and immorality. I think this exploration will help identify the deep-seated hopes and fears that contribute to humanityís callousness and cruelty toward animals. 

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