“An assertion that other creatures’ lives are somehow lesser than human life has prompted extensive debate on social media. In order to join in this online debate, write an open letter to be shared on social media, in which you: state your position in relation to animal rights, explore some of the issues associated with our current engagement with animals and outline what you see as the major challenges we face as we share the planet with animals in the future.”
As many of my followers will be aware, I am a strong advocate for animal rights and it is my firm belief that animals deserve the same rights as humans. Because they cannot speak for themselves, it is important that people make a stand for animals and make sure that their rights are respected.
Our current engagement with animals is full of hypocrisy and irony. You can’t scroll through any social media site without seeing pictures of happy families with a lovable, beautiful dog coming strolling behind as they enjoy a ‘family’ day out. The dog is now a central tenet of families across Ireland and around the world and they are treated with as much care and affection as the children.
Yet despite our apparent love affair with dogs, we do not show the same empathy and understanding to other animals in our world. Some of the most magnificent creatures that roam this earth are under threat because of the actions of selfish humans, who are doing absolutely nothing to address the growing climate emergency.
Polar bears are beautiful creatures that inhabit the arctic and rely on sea ice to hunt and store energy for the summer and autumn. Because of climate change, the ice is melting earlier and earlier every year meaning that polar bears are under-nourished and at risk of early death. Oil exploration is also a huge problem for polar bears with oil leakages and emissions causing poisoning and destruction of habitat. Who can forget the heart wrenching scenes from the arctic when a baby polar bear was separated from its mother when the ice split, leaving that baby bear helpless as he drifted off into the ocean, alone without food or protection? If we say we love animals, we can’t just mean the family dog, we have to help all animals, even ones we may never see.
The same thing is happening to koala bears due to the number of forest fires in the southern hemisphere and to whales and dolphins, who swim in oceans that we have destroyed with oil spills, plastic and over fishing. We have been given a chance to share this wonderful planet with these magnificent creatures but it seems that we are unable to protect these creatures who are on the verge of extinction due to our inability to address the obvious problems on our planet.
There are many challenges that we will face as we try to come to terms with the damage we have caused over the past number of decades. One of the biggest challenges will be financial and this is where the leaders of the G8 need to step forward. Asking people to move from petrol and diesel cars to electric comes with a considerable cost and is only a viable option for people who are financially secure. We need to provide more financial assistance to drivers who want to move to electric, which will go some way in addressing the global climate emergency.
The same thing needs to be done for homeowners who want to change from solid fuel heating systems that rely on coal, oil and turf. Changing to a renewable heating system is very costly and unattainable for many working families.
Another major challenge that we face as we move forward is the denial of climate change. When the former President of the USA casts doubt on the work of eminent scientists, this has effects on the thoughts of ordinary people. When Trump pulled the US from the Paris agreement, it showed that people in power were not fully behind addressing the problems we face. It took a young Scandinavian schoolgirl to call Trump out on his climate change denial but the damage has been done, we have a percentage of the world’s population who think the whole thing is a myth. What is it going to take for people to take things seriously? Another tsunami? Earthquake? Massive flooding? All of these things may affect more humans but they will have even more effects on animals, who will lose their homes, their food sources and their young.
The fact is we have to do more and the time to start is right now. Please click on the link at the bottom of the page to pledge two euro to help the polar bears of the arctic. I promise you it’s two euro you’ll never regret spending.