Growing up, the value of animal life held minimalist merit in my ideological inheritance. Intellectually, other disciplines were placed more prominently in my sociocultural scholastic installation than how to tell the difference between a bonobo and a baboon. An erudite education consisted upon the possession of a polished philosophical perspective towards the arts, literature, political theory, music and even towards noble grey matter stirring sporting stimuli such as chess or checkers.
Yet, to us antiquated relics of a distant era, the recent critter rave that has taken particularly our media by storm has, to our chagrin, satisfyingly surprised us. Why is it that we should care so much about knowing about the other non-human specimens cohabiting this pricelessly precious pearl planet with us, the alpha ape at the apex of the predator ladder?
Initial inferences tended to differentiate them into belonging either to the Domestic, the divine, the deadly and those destined for the dinner. Yes, the animal diaspora of Noah’s ark was defined and were either blessed or burdened by the branding we charred into their feathery, furry, leathery or whatever kind of birthday suit they bore.
Such a treacherous and ominous force is the anthropomorphism of the beast that it can either make or break the affection we feel towards another living breathing terrestrial being. We may all collectively love pandas but how also bemusing it is that we fear and loathe the serpent with such affirmative revoltion? Do we blame evolutionary biology for this or Adam and Eve?
There is a veracity in the potency of cognitively conspired cultural concoctions and their power to drastically derange the truth. The perturbing perplexities of disastrously deciphering and dissecting fact from fiction and the perils it presents us with should be categorically noted. For has not our dangerous and deadly dabbles in the realms of the ‘Beast’, given us a sizeable serious moral scope of why meddling with Mother Nature is inevitably monstrous to mankind. Pitilessly pilfering and playing the planetary pariah has sorely struck back at humanity during its brief environmentally tyrannical and tumultuous time on Earth.
Let us not forget the ecological backlash of reprimanding retaliatory flagellations we have faced when we have flirted with the idea of disregarding the Will of nature. The devastation of the agrarian hominid and that great woe of civilization and above all the squalid village, town and then metropolis that has given a fertile base for so many of the Pandoran pestilence and paradoxes that problematically plague us. The Fertile Crescent may have given us the arts which we oh so cherish but it also contributed to the degradation of the Natural Order and a filtration system which served every woman, man and beast.
More city living may have stimulated ‘culture’ but it severely stung our urge to tame ‘the Wild’, pave the prairies and soil the surrounding splendors. What urbanization feeded was a hankering for things and modernity has only intensified these intensifying demands. How this terrifying torture upon the Earth has bounced back and bit us can be seen in the Black Death, plagues and untold diseases that have taken their historical toll upon us as we strove to city dwell.
Would we have not faced any perils had we remained naturally nomadic? Undoubtedly hurdles and hazards would have remained. But, surely, no price could be more costlier and ever detrimental to our collective well-being than our brutalization of the resources that sustain us.
So why the hell am I ranting about cities and civilizations when I originally sought out to talk and make a case for the animals? Because we are the animals whose hopes all the other animals hinge their hopes and expectations upon. We are the moral custodians of this haven of hues and the fantasia of flora and fauna and we are bound by a moral objective to preserve this paradise for all terrestrial, aerial and aquatic beings.
Our prolific productivity has adversely affected the natural state of the kingdom which we share with all creatures great and small. Every species has it’s meritable wealth and it is not the place of prophets and poets to determine that a whale is more worthy of guardianship than a toad. Cultural conceptions along with cultivated and constructional ones, must be refined if our appreciation towards the brilliance of biota is to splendidly shift. To neglect and dispel of the dangers of the depletion of our living diversity is as much a dagger to ourselves as it is to homeostasis of the natural order and the imperative integrity to safekeep the hierarchical biological food chain.
We owe it to the world not merely to protect all species for their aesthetic awe and aura but above all because they too like humanity have every right to exist. Their fates and rights to replicate and replete the earth are concerningly ever more in our often cruel and callous hands. As my father always professed, a land devoid of a fecundity of animals is like an empty vase sorely crying out for flowers.
Cheers to the schools, newspapers and TV extravaganzas that are committed to reminding us that the world does not solely revolve around human subjects, their pursuits, longings and never ending egocentricity. Animals are worthy of our affections and attention. They intrigue us with their habits, their behaviours which we like to personify and often amaze us in countless manners. They symbolize us (I’m a kiwi) the virtues of our favourite teams (I like the Canterbury Rams our local basketball team) and amuse us with their antics (who doesn’t love looking at cat videos on YouTube!). An integral human world is one which values animal integrity.