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Archive for the ‘Them’ Category

They Have No Interest in the Future

Friday, September 30th, 2011

Elephants mourning their dead. This must be some kind of robot-instinct acted out in a stupid, robotic, 'instincty' kind of way. Photo by Kelly Landen.

Some want to assert that because animals have “no interest in the future,” or “no concept of the future,” it is morally acceptable to enslave and kill them.

Robber Barons

We can say killing someone steals their future. Stealing from an individual, whether or not they have a sense of the loss, is still stealing from them. Just like burning someone with congenital analgesia (insensitivity to pain) is still burning them.

It is the dream of the exploiter to find a blanket statement which permits them to continue the exploitation. The more philosophical and abstract the statement, the better, it seems.

Animals Actually Do Have an Interest in the Future

Why do we remember things? In the case of stoves, we remember they may be hot even when they look inactive because, otherwise, we might get burned. Strawberries are tart and sweet. A red light means stop.

Memory serves the purpose of decision making. The hot stove is not touched and the strawberry is eaten to extract its flavor. Our most basic interests are in avoiding pain and pursuing pleasure.

We remember things because we want to change the future.

Pleasure from anticipated strawberries and pain from anticipated shock collars exist in the future. If they exist in the present, we might salivate or twitch or jump out of reflex, and reflexes are one of the few things we do without decision-making. But reflex is done without cognition, as far as we know. It need not consult memory.

When we spy the hot stove or lay our eyes on the red of a shining, freshly washed strawberry, we are contemplating the future.
One with memories is one with an interest in the future. Even interests as simple as “eat until full” and “avoid hissing cats” concern themselves with the future. And this future always includes one thing: the entity thinking about it.

Do dogs have memories? Of course they do. Pavlov’s experiments prove dogs can be conditioned. And where are they be conditioned but in their minds? The dog who salivates at the ring of a bell because she hears it every time dinner is served is thinking about the past (or, at least, considering it) and preparing her body for the future. She expects to receive food.

The sound of the bell is as good as the smell of a fresh meal. Be the input through ears or nose, something is telling her food is near.
What chicken, as “dumb” as they are supposed to be, would forget the sweetest patch of land with the most worms in their pecking ground?
There is a long-held belief that birds are simply too stupid to remember coastlines and geographic landmarks, that they migrate by “pure instinct,” whatever that is. But even this is in question now, with evidence showing that some birds navigate by memory and reason.

If a creature, bird or bear or hare or fish, has a memory then that creature has self-interest and self-awareness. Why else remember anything? Why remember if not to alter the future?

Penguins mourning their dead children. This must be some kind of robot-instinct acted out in a stupid, robotic,'instincty' kind of way.

The Herd Has an Interest in Its Future

Is gassing a nursery full of infant morally acceptable? Of course not. How about gassing one of them? Again, no.

In the dreamworld where each animal “has no interest in his or her future,” it is easy to overlook the fact that animals do mourn. They need social structures, and dropping in Chimp 520 to replace Chimp 519 does not work. Animals are not machines; they are living beings. Even if the fanciful interest-in-future criteria was morally acceptable, which logic suggests it is not, removing the individuals has a profound impact upon their families and social circles.

It makes no difference that the individuals are black, white, Jewish, cows, chickens or salmon. The type of organism is irrelevant to the crime being committed against his or her group. Unlike the survival situations of lions chomping on gazelles, humans committing acts of violence and enslavement against animals is a crime because the act is completely unnecessary to our survival.

Mirror Test

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011
Crocodile Symbiosis

Neither of these has to see a dentist because of being too stupid to avoid sweets.

A mirror test is supposed to demonstrate self-awareness. Put an animal to sleep, place a dot on her head and, when she wakes up, and show her a mirror. If she looks at her image in the mirror and somehow acknowl-edges the dot, she’s self-aware. If she doesn’t, she is not. Simple, right?

The problem is this is a test of self-awareness as designed by human minds. We can’t escape our own way of thinking. It’s all we’ve got.

The only thing tests like these prove is that the subject is thinking like a human, or is self-aware like a human.

Are we supposed to believe that thinking like a human is the only way to think intelligently? Or that it is the only way to be self-aware? Such ideas are nothing more than human-centric egotism. We’ve built the internet and flown to the moon, but we also commit heinous acts of barbarism against all living beings on the planet (do not try to think of one we overlook; the effort will depress you). This contrast is not a scale which balances ethical depravity against in-tellectual and scientific triumphs.

We must refuse to accept the notion that human intelligence is the ultimate in any intelligence. We are simply the most intelligent humans.

Let us not fall into the trap of requiring human-like behavior from high-functioning predators like alligators and sharks, neither of which have needed to evolve for eons, and both of which are perfectly evolved for their environments.

I am not opposed to mirror tests. I am opposed to using the results of them to justify discrimination, and subsequently violence, against living beings.

Lost Dachshund

Monday, January 10th, 2011
Lost Dachshund

To be vegan is to be consistent. We extend our natural feelings of empathy not just to dogs and cats, but to cows, geese, and humans.

Today a neighbor of ours found a stray Dachshund mother wandering in the woods between our neighborhood and a very busy road. He took her home. She was not spayed, had no collar, and shivered with more than a little fear as he brought her food and water.  She had recently given birth.

Let us do a little visualizing.  This won’t hurt, and it won’t be disgusting.  Bear with me.

You are a Dachshund. You are alone, wandering through unknown territory. Your babies are where you left them, whimpering and hungry, still wet from birth, crawling over each other in search of you, their sole sources of warmth, love, and of course life-giving food.

What would drive you to leave? What would have to go through your head that you would leave your freshly born children defenseless in a strange place?

I cannot speak for her, but I imagine it was fear and desperation. Maybe all she wanted was water. Or maybe she hadn’t eaten in days, and now she was going to risk her children’s lives because it was either stay with them, and die of starvation herself, or wander off and risk her children being eaten by a predator.

My heart goes out to her. I really cannot imagine being in desperate, hopeless situation. I work a desk job. Maybe you feel similarly. Maybe you agree. Most people wish her what she deserves: safety, shelter, food, water and a clean place to raise her children.

Now transpose those feelings onto a cow. Why is she any less deserving of our mercy? Why are her children relegated to a few short days, or weeks, of terrible life before being slain for their pale flesh? Surely, the cow and her calves are every bit as scared and sensitive as the Dachshund.

Before I was vegan, reading stories like these evoked sickening feelings of guilt and helplessness. I was only able to console myself with a (false) reminder that eating flesh and drinking non-human milk are necessary for human life. Now I know that vegan diets are healthy – extremely healthy. I know that flesh is not mine to take, nor milk mine to demand from captive, lactating mothers.

The idea of exploiting a Dachshund for some weird, personal pleasure was as repulsive to younger me as it is today. But, back then I ate flesh and drank dairy. I had not made the connection yet. What pleasure, you might wonder, could anyone gain from her? Shudders arise at the mere suggestion.

One day, we will protect and respect all sentient beings. Be consistent. Go vegan.

The Titus Connection

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010
If inflicting pain on any helpless creature, human or not, brings you unease, then I beg of you to cease eating animals.

Cows, chickens, fish, goats, geese, and all other individuals are every bit as deserving of justice and compassion as is any beloved family member.

In the wee hours of the pre-dawn morning, our cat Titus was struck by a car and killed. Judging by his wounds, and the fact that he crawled not an inch from where he was struck, we can guess he died instantly. I’d like to think so.

To help cope with his passing, I posted some pictures of him online as well as a video I made the night before, in which I scratched his belly and rubbed his head. He playfully batted at my hands, flipped himself over and over, and rolled around, alternating between swatting at me and hugging me. We will miss him dearly.

I don’t think anyone would say that the car which ran him over was a compassionate car, nor would they say that the act was exonerated if the driver got out and chanted or prayed or somehow showed respect to Titus. No, Titus is still dead, regardless of the means, intent or ritual around it.

Are baby cows any less worthy of our compassion simply because they had no humans to love them, to name them, and to dote upon them? Do they deserve freedom any less?

When we can mourn the passing of a neighbor’s cat, yet feed our children the milk of a mother cow, we are denying the connection between them. When we snack on the dessicated remains of sentient beings (“beef jerky”) on the way to the veterinary clinic, we practice numbness and denial. The animals we consume are every bit as deserving of life as my cat was, and in consuming them we reinforce a disharmony and a confusion in ourselves that reverberates with every meal.

If inflicting pain on any helpless creature, human or not, brings you unease, then I beg of you to cease eating animals. If we are ever to experience the world honestly, without fear, and without denial then we must begin by facing our actions toward all animals that way.

The murder of “food animals” is more tragic than accidentally flattening them with our cars because these unnecessary deaths are intentionally ordered. We pay individuals to kill individuals. We crush them under our own machinery for absolutely no good reason.

Let me leave you with a deeply salient point Dr. Will Tuttle makes in his book, The World Peace Diet:

Most of us have had the experience of receiving pain at the hands of doctors or dentists, yet the hands that administer the pain are, we feel, ultimately well-intentioned. The fact that they are doing these painful things for our own good makes the infliction of pain tolerable and gives it a meaningful context. To imagine those same hands performing painful procedures on our bodies with the sense that these hands do not care at all about our good, but are causing us pain simply because it profits them or they enjoy doing so, is horrifying in the extreme, particularly if we are powerless in their hands. When we put animals in this position by purchasing their flesh, fluids and eggs, we must bear responsibility not only for their suffering but for the hardening of the human hands and hearts that inflict this suffering.

They Have No Emotion

Sunday, August 29th, 2010
Here, the complex and mysterious Bear-Machine grooms another machine purely because a complex part of it's "instinct" tells it to do so. Note the proper usage of 'it' when applied to fur-covered machinery, such as these two Bear Machines.

Here, the complex and mysterious Bear-Machine grooms another machine purely because a complex part of it's "instinct" tells it to do so. Note the proper usage of 'it' when applied to fur-covered machinery, such as these two Bear Machines.

Famous vivisector René Descartes wanted us to believe animals are mere machines, incapable of feeling pain.  He and others had many wordy ways of explaining why the animals squealing in pain were not really in pain, and why their preference for one food versus another was mindless “instinct.”  (Descartes did some good for the world, but my focus here is on his vivisection and philosophy toward animals)

The belief that animals cannot feel emotion, much less pain, is an anthropocentric bias, contrived in arrogance and directly straining the reader away from their own experiences with animals.  It is also suspiciously complex, and not what most of us would consider “common sense.”

What is more simple? That non-human animals can also feel anger and affection? Or that they are complex machines operating in a sterile vacuum of “instinct,” behaving in ways that even they do not understand, that they are machines, and that the supposedly great human capacity for emotion is generated spontaneously.

Animals are individuals with as much capacity for joy, rage and fear as we are.

We condemn people when we say they are behaving “like animals.” Usually the context indicates depraved, senseless violence, lacking the refined acumen of their human superiors.

We condemn emotions as simple, base things, as those of the uncontrolled and inattentive.

And then, in a special kind of obliviousness and arrogance, we find situations to assert that animals do not even possess feelings. That, as depraved as they are, they possess neither our brilliance nor our capacity for emotion.

So, we are to believe, the chicken cares nothing for her chicks. She cannot “care,” we are told, she can only do as instinct tells her. Only human mothers can possibly feel anything for their young. And what of dominance urges, for instance in turtles? What would the urge to attack a member of your own species feel like, if not fear and rage? And has anyone ever crossed between a mother bear and her cubs and thought, “Boy, am I glad she doesn’t have the capacity for emotion.”

Part of us is desperate. We will gladly believe anything which reinforces the illusion that animals are machines – and this illusion slides in nicely next to our guilt, next to the burning we feel when we repress the truth – the truth that we really do not want to treat them like machines because it does not even make sense to think of them that way, that our subconscious cries out to us to stop trying to believe confusing, cruel nonsense.

Mercy for the “Soulless”

Friday, July 9th, 2010

Guess who's smarter than your newborn?

Guess who's smarter than your newborn?

People say our intelligence permits us to use and harm animals. This belief pushes the fallacy that biological differences between two individuals can be used to justify discrimination and cruelty.

Citing our supposed superior intelligence while enslaving innocent beings is the most reprehensible act of willful discrimination. It is the cerebral equivalent of endorsing a strength-based society, where might makes right, and the man who can lift the largest stone defines the law.

All use is abuse. Listen carefully when you hear someone stating that we are justified in using those weaker, less privileged, and certainly listen carefully when the justification is that we are smarter, or have souls.

Those supposedly less intelligent, or those without souls, deserve our mercy even more.

What If the Whole World Went Vegan Tomorrow?

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

People come up with the strangest questions. It’s as if they run out of perfectly logical thoughts so, to keep the anti-compassion machine burning full steam, they dream up ridiculous scenes to fuel it. I wonder if they’re thinking, as I used to think, “Surely there’s some scenario in which eating living beings makes sense, isn’t there?” It seems any reason is acceptable even if it goes against every fiber of their core beliefs and requires tremendous amounts of twisted logic or outlandish scenarios, provided that reason permits continued consumption of animals.

Some of the questions I’ve been asked by earnest, well-meaning, and apparently very confused friends:

  • What if the whole world went vegan tomorrow? What would we do with all the animals?
  • What would you do if you were dying of hunger in the desert, surrounded by deer and nothing else edible for dozens of miles?
  • What if you went your whole life and never ate meat, then on your death bed you ate a hamburger and wished you had eaten one before? Won’t you feel foolish for missing out on all of those years of pleasure?
  • Hey, can I have some of that lasagna? It smells great. Oh, god, oh no! It doesn’t have any curdled teat milk in it. Never mind. Your plant-based lasagna is weird. It’s extreme. It’s crazy lasagna, that stuff. Get it away from me.

Except for that last example, such questions seem innocent enough, but they’re not. Let us expand their assumptions and meanings a little bit. I’ll pick on the “whole world goes vegan tomorrow” scenario.

Instant Vegan Evolution Globally (the iVeg)

Hog confinement

After iVeg, this hog confinement is history.

The question is, “What would we do with all the animals if everyone went vegan tomorrow?” Your curious friend wants, rephrased a little, your Official Vegan Ambassador seal on a solution. But not just any solution. A foolproof, easily-summarized response to a radical, global shift of consciousness, agriculture, eating habits, ethics, restaurant menus, animal welfare, law and circuses. Oh, and don’t take too long responding, because he has a conference call in a few minutes with Dave from accounting.

We’ll call the global awakening he has dreamed up the Instant Vegan Evolution Globally, or the iVeg for short.

Does your friend think you are qualified to answer such a question? Do you often provide bulletproof strategies for radical, world-changing shifts that occur overnight? Of course not. At least, not without a few beers in you, right?

Your friend doesn’t want a sincere answer. He might think he does, but he doesn’t. How can you be expected to give a sincere answer to an insincere or misleading question? Can the iVeg ever occur? Overnight?

What does he want, then? I can’t speak for all of your friends, or all the people who ask questions like this, but I can analyze this particular example.

It’s not a question at all. Rather, it’s a collection of statements and assumptions bundled and tucked into what your friend probably considers an innocent thought experiment. The real statements behind the question are:

  • Having fifty six billion animals released into the wild would probably result in a lot of starving and suffering (of animals). That is bad and wrong.
  • Killing all ofthe animals instead of releasing them is not something a vegan could advocate because vegans state killing is bad and wrong.
  • Therefore, since the imaginary scenario could not “work,” all tenets of a compassionate, plant-based diet must be invalid and rejected.
  • (Robot voice) Drop your veganism. You have 15 seconds to comply.

What could a vegan do to answer this question? For starters, don’t answer it. It’s outlandish. Do you really think the entire world is going to drop meat and dairy from their diets over night? That restaurants are going to replace their seven pages of pig, chicken, lamb, goose, bison, turkey, fish and cow selections with pepper, potato, bean, cauliflower, broccoli, yam, carrot, rice and greens? Hey, and while they’re at it, all the restaurants will cut back on portion sizes to help prevent gorging and obesity, right?

Some might assert that far-fetched questions like this have purposes besides trolling and taunting. Besides descending into an exercise in creative reduction-to-absurdity, I cannot imagine any other use. One might as well ask, “What if the whole world except three men went vegan tomorrow? How could those men eat all of the remaining delicious, cancer-causing hot dogs?” This question is just as pointless.

The Accidental Troll

Animal welfarists would have us believe this contraption is humane, because it's padded, and we're playing classical music in the background.

Here comes the compassion!

Here’s the easy part: Ask yourself, “What is the purpose of this particular fantastic what-if scenario?” You’ll realize there is none. It’s just trolling. We are not talking about a journalist asking you questions as you deliver your groundbreaking twenty-year research results. We are talking about everyday conversation.

Here’s the hard part: breaking it to your friends that they’re trolling you when they probably didn’t even mean to.

If you’re like me, you’re thrilled that a meat-eater even wants to discuss a reduction in meat, much less veganism. A lady at work once borrowed a vegetarian cookbook, and I was so happy I nearly multi-grain pooped myself on the spot. However, when someone invents a topic like this, they might as well be asking, “Well, what if… I don’t know… what if real, live jackals took over the government? And we had to kill their natural enemies, the noble and gracious lions, in order to get jobs? And to secure land? What would you do then, smarty vegan pants? I saw The Lion King. I know what goes on.”

Dreaming up scenarios like the iVeg sounds a lot like the jackal scenario in my head. It’s ridiculous. It follows the same kind of talk as, “You want to drive a car? What if a piece of the moon breaks off at just the right angle, flies down and crushes your car? Don’t look at me like that, young man, it’s possible the moon could do that. Therefore, driving is unsustainable. Stay home and eat your meat. Oh, you want to write a magazine article about sport cars, instead? What if a driver reads it instead of paying attention to the road, then wrecks and dies? Don’t you even care about your fellow man? Here you are, passive-aggressively trying to kill motorists with your articles. For shame!”

Abandoned Slaughterhouse

The only sustainable slaughterhouse is an abandoned slaughterhouse.

The Real Answer

I said I would not provide a sincere answer to the iVeg, but I will anyway. Here is an easy solution to the questions, “What if the whole world went vegan tomorrow? What would we do with all the animals?”

Since we’re dealing in imaginary, far-flung scenarios, we can simply feed the animals forever on the free Infinity Food space aliens drop off for us. Problem solved. Oh, and we’ll use shrink rays so those pesky animals don’t take up too much space any more.

What? Your friend won’t like that answer? Okay, okay. You want to keep your friends, not alienate them. Fine, I’ll give you a real answer. But before I do, please dwell for a moment on the difference between a meat-eater being able to ask asinine questions and expect to be treated like a deep thinker, worthy of serious responses, while the “crazy” vegan would be judged for answering in a similar fashion.

The serious answer is that we would kill all, or at least most, of the pitiful last generation of food animals. Gasp! Did some vegan guy just recommend we slaughter the last vestiges of our captive, thinking, feeling animals? Isn’t that hypocritical?

Yes, I did and no, it’s not. In the iVeg scenario, no one has room, food or water for the animals. They are, I gather, either killed this week or released into parking lots and grade school playgrounds across the world. In imaginary world that is the iVeg scenario, either all of the animals are “dealt with” or the iVeg cannot happen.

Let’s get some numbers for this scenario, and why I recommend killing all of those in the last generation of victims. Fifty six billion animals are killed each year for their flesh, secretions and other pieces. Some lazy math, for the sake of argument, spreads out the average lifespans, slaughter ages, and such. The number we arrive at is one billion animals enslaved and ready for execution on the day of iVeg. If this number doesn’t work for you, pick another. The exact amount is irrelevant, imaginary, and subject to change based on which bearded expert you query this week.

Here we are, at the dilemma your friend wanted. Either we release one billion animals into the wild or (gasp!) kill them. These animals were going to be (gasp!) killed anyway, so what’s wrong with them being killed now? Seriously. This is one final, the final, swing of the glutton’s ax.

If the iVeg never occurred, those animals would be killed anyway. But it wouldn’t end there, would it? No. There is a cycle of rape (how do you think cows are bred? Through courtship?), abortion, veal crates, genetic manipulation, accelerated growth into salable weight, and eventual slaughter.

This cycle is what must end. When it ends, and whether it ends in an iVeg moment or over the course of fifty years is less important. We must acknowledge: the cycle must end. One way or another, we cannot sustain animal agriculture and continue to grow the human race.

If you spread the iVeg out so it is not an instantaneous transition, but rather one that takes a couple of hundred years, then you have a couple of hundred years of tapering death counts. That’s a long, long tail. It adds up to many more than one billion animals.

From a utilitarian approach, the iVeg which culminates in slaughter by the billions is a heck of a lot better than the slow weaning from blood and milk. A gradual transition to global veganism forces exponentially more animals to die in hopeless, lightless captivity where the only sounds are those of their fellow inmates bleating, moaning, and being skinned alive.

The gradual transition is what is occurring right now. People are waking up from the meat-is-necessary-and-or-ethical illusion. Sure, as countries and regions gain affluence they also increase their meat consumption. But that is the way things are in human history at this time. All societies have some threshold at which point they will no longer increase their meat consumption. Once that threshold is met, demand for meat drops off and will eventually taper down to the civilized, enlightened level of zero.

My answer is probably not the one a meat-eater would expect from a vegan. The image of vegans is that we all want to dance in daisy fields and hold hands and that none of us have any grasp on “reality.” (Somehow the people who cannot connect drinking milk to the veal industry have a tighter grip on “reality” than vegans do.) It may be difficult to imagine a guy such as myself who won’t even eat Chex Mix, due to the milk in it, advising that we slaughter all of the animals in one fell swoop.

City of Bone

Mass Grave

A mass grave.

The natural follow-up troll question to the iVeg scenario is, “What would we do with all the corpses? If everyone is vegan, no one would eat them.” Since vegans are tasked with solving all of the world’s problems, my answer to that is also easy:

We’d feed the flesh to our pets and back to the wild.

With the bones, we’d build a horrific city out of them. We’d decorate alleys and buildings and street corners with skulls, hip bones, horns and beaks. To each corpse we would attach a little sound system playing the heart-breaking, bloody squeals of their final moments. Billions of little music players bleating, mewing and gagging over red-stained tile. Video screens would loop high definition footage of the final days of slaughter. It would show calves watching their mothers die of starvation and disease, wallowing in the feces-soaked mud, while in the distance a river of blood gushes from the slaughterhouse on the hill and pumps into our soil, seeping into our water supply.

The city of bones would be a testament to the greed and unfathomable depths of denial of which humans are capable. Who knows? Maybe we could turn it into an 8th wonder of the iVeg world, and use the proceeds to fund a compassionate education.

Sound grotesque? It may be. What is more harrowing and disturbing, though? Forming a reminder of the killings of the past or continuing to eat animals, silently hiding our consciousness from reality. To me, refusing to admit to ourselves that we are creating cities of bone many times over, and hiding from that fact, is more disgusting.


Monday, December 21st, 2009

A friend of mine recently shook his fist at the big, mean humans in Avatar.  In case you haven’t seen it, Avatar is a hot, lush cinematic playground of blue-purple hippies versus a fiery, heartless, mechanized USDA Grade A war machine.  It is directed by James Cameron.


Maybe in the future, my friend can transfer his feelings to the treatment of real creatures, as well.

The plot: evil human beings plunder resources from happy, peaceful natives, the Na’vi.  You can imagine plenty of innocent blue-skins are killed in the process.

He was visibly upset over his fellow man’s treatment of the wild, care-free denizens of Pandora.  He believes it is wrong of the humans to steal rare ore and murder innocent beings (especially the ones with sex appeal, I imagine).  He cried out when the precious tree of the Na’vi was attacked.

The caustic, selfish, remorseless invaders disgusted him.  “There’s no reason, certainly no need, to attack the Na’vi,” he told me.  “We could find other ores.  We did just fine without the ore.  It’s not necessary.”

The imaginary Na’vi are granted his empathy and compassion.  However, these feelings cower, disappear and shit themselves faster than rabbits in an earthquake when he is asked to speak on behalf of his fellow earthlings; outside of the film, he has no trouble drinking milk, a liquid resource you already know is stolen by force from helpless, captive, four-legged natives of this planet.

If only he had the courage to open his eyes to the exploitation and murder boiling around him in real life.  He willingly participates in ruthless systems of rape and torture for his own convenience and pleasure.

And yet he deeply opposes these very same systems!  Despite this, and his visible rage at the flickering silver screen, he proudly pays money to and even lionizes his own enemies at meal time.

He would surely fight on behalf of our brothers and sisters, the pig, fish, cow, chicken, goose and others, if only he were in the fantasy world, riding dragons and heroically throwing javelins at bad guys.

Would he ever eat Na’vi flesh?  Kill two families and enslave the young women for a few buckets of ore?  Of course not.

What if the Na’vi walked on four legs?

My friend has very clear, sane, natural feelings of outrage at the treatment of imaginary creatures. Maybe in the future, he can transfer these feelings to the treatment of real creatures, as well.