Our relationships with animals are wide-ranging. When people tell me that they love animals and then harm or kill them I tell them I’m glad they don’t love me. Many individuals, including scientists, ignore their responsibility when they interact with animals and fail to recognize that doing something in the name of science, which usually means in the name of humans, is not an adequate reason for intentionally causing suffering, pain, or death. “Good welfare” usually is not “good enough.” Existing regulations allow animals to be treated in regrettable ways that demean us as a species. Compassion is the key for bettering both animal and human lives. A good way to make the world a more compassionate place for animals is to increase our compassion footprint. We could begin by deciding that we will not intrude on animals’ lives unless our actions are in the best interests of the animals irrespective of our desires. It is simple to make more compassionate choices about what we eat and wear and how we educate students, conduct research, and entertain ourselves at the expense of animals. The time to make these changes is long overdue.
Bekoff, M. (2008). Increasing Our Compassion Footprint: The Animals’ Manifesto. Zygon®, 43(4), 771-781.