A Buddhist monk was chastening me and other animal-harvesters the other day on Facebook. We humans are arrogant, he says, to think that eight million species are here on earth simply to serve our needs and wishes, that our abuse of “other animals” is completely unjustified.
The propensity for people to dictate to billions of their fellow humans what they must do and what they must value is a topic worthy of more attention than I intend to offer it here. Instead, allow me to discuss the role of humans as it relates to the animal kingdom.
I am not an expert in Buddhism, so I cannot comment on the religious roots of this philosophy. But I can tell you why so many of my non-Buddhist neighbors take the same extreme position as this monk. It is because they have been methodically trained in public schools to believe that human beings are animals. And they — we — are not.
“Beasts of the earth” were created, and then man was created — created in part to be the custodians of the rest of creation (Genesis 1:25-28). One might interpret the role of “custodian” to imply ethical treatment and preservation, and I would not care to argue against that point. But whatever we do with regard to zoos, meat processing plants and tuna nets, we must not deny the central point: man is fundamentally separate from, and superior to, the animals.
I’m not suggesting “animal rights” activists are inherently anti-God. I am saying radical groups play on the sympathies of the public. A few pictures of ducks coated in oil and before you know it, we have a generation of children who think they are nothing more than animals. Then they go out and act like animals. Go figure.