When animals are more respected than man.
by Thomas A. Flynn, LC | Source: Catholic.net
The totem poles of the twenty first century are approaching absurdity as man finds himself at the bottom while everything from birds to seals rest upon his shoulders. It seems like the classic saga of man vs. wild has finally tipped to one side leaving the Homo sapiens at a disadvantage. Laws are promulgated to safeguard creatures for such ideas as “they were here first” or “their species is endangered”. Yet, with so much emphasis given to the animal, the rational side is left in the dark. In the US an eagle’s egg is protected by law and any delinquent who tries to destroy one is punished by imprisonment. But, in the same country the human embryo is not only killed lawfully, but its termination is promoted by independent interest groups.
In Milan, Italy a man was recently fined 5,000 Euros for passing by a dying dog and not stopping to help. His act was considered inhuman and unjust. This is the same country where Eluana, a young woman in a vegetative state, was legally killed by starvation in her hospital bed. Though I do not know the status of eagle eggs in Italy, judging the circumstances I would assume that the eggs can rest peacefully.
That was not the only canine making headlines. In Fort Worth, TX a $4.4 million hotel has gone up exclusively for dogs and cats. Priced at $200 a night, pets are treated to facials, walks in the garden and doggie naps in satin and chenille blankets. There is a “wellness center” along with elegant halls for hosting pet weddings and birthday parties. Or, if your pet is more extravagant it can pick up a diamond studded collar at the luxury pet store. As thousands of men and women lose their job due to a poor economy, it is nice to hear that Fido and Paws will not be affected. And, yes, they do have clientele.
The role of man and beast are not only becoming equated, but topsy-turvy.
Not too long ago I walked along a beach in Cape Cod, taking in the beautiful eastern shore. I noticed a sign cautioning tourists to beware of the seals that tend to sun on the shoreline. It seemed reasonable enough, for I would hate to anger one and have it chase me up and down Cape Cod all the while seeking to eat me. But one of the indications on the sign caused me to chuckle. It said that I should avoid watching the seals for a long period of time so as not to give them stress. How biologists measure the stress levels in seals is beyond me, but I think the only stressful one that day was myself as I had to find a different beach to walk upon.
Rousseau tried to convince us that the ideal man is nothing more than a savage. The human being should follow his animal instincts and race off into the wild jungle where he will find a utopia of foliage and fun. Although a few such people can be found on the Appalachian Trail, for the most part man seems to be doing much better in the suburbs and cities. Man was destined to tame the wild, not succumb to it. God did not create Adam to have him roam around Eden like a beast. In fact the opposite happened; he began naming all the creatures and critters, thus giving order to the world around him. This comes natural to man and can be seen in any child learning how to talk. It takes a reasonable man like Rousseau to act unreasonably.
But the wild are not the only predators out there. Today, even man is toying with man. Scientists have crossed their scientific borders and now philosophize about the human person. They say that a person is one who is self-conscience; and therefore a fetus is not a person but something that can be used, abused, and terminated. This is done to calm their own conscience and if we follow the logic of their definition, they would be no less a person while sleeping. Babies and terminally ill adults would also be outside this definition so that they too can fall prey to the scalpel knife of science.
Shakespeare had it right when he said, “What is a man if his chief good and market of his time is but to sleep and feed? A beast no more. Sure he that made us with such large discourse, looking before and after, gave us not that capability and God-like wisdom, to fust in us unused.” I do not hate animals, but I do believe that they should be put in their place. Man is the apex of creation and has been given dominion over all other creatures. Not even the lion could boast of such a kingdom. But today the beasts of Eden are taking the forest back and being helped by man himself. When there is no more respect for human individuals they are degraded to mere objects and can be done with as pleased. We should remember that man has been made “little less than the angels” and carries with him a dignity that should be respected by all.
Has man fallen so far down the totem pole that he has reached the end of the food chain? Though some would like to see it happen, the truth remains that man was given the greatest gift in the garden. He was formed in the image and likeness of God.
Thomas A. Flynn, LC studies for the priesthood in Rome. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.