A Humane Future

 Melody Doyon 

If you have pets, you probably agree if I tell you that they are now part of ‘’our family’’. But have you ever asked your grandmother how her dog was treated on the farm where she grew up? It’s interesting to look at the pretty drastic changes happening with the human-animal relationship to understand our nature. How do I personally see the future? I see it more humane.

In 2013, more than 57% of households were estimated to own a cat or a dog. This translates to almost 7.5 million houses, only in Canada, that have one or more pets. When we look back in history, unlike today where we treat them as companions, animals were mostly only owned for work. It is pretty obvious that they have taken a completely different place within our life and society. We can look at the legal system here to see that the way we treat and perceive them has indeed evolved: earlier last year, in Quebec, pets, horses and animals exploited for fur had their status changed: they are now considered as sentient beings, with some rights.

But what about other animals? Is our relationship with them changing? Unlike before the industrialization where people used to take care of their own farm animals to feed their entire family, we are now exploiting livestock at an alarming rate. As Paul McCartney once said: “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian”. No one wants to see a pig or a cow or a chicken being treated as an industrialized product in an assembly line. Our care-taking and compassionate personality is slowly taking the lead and now, more than ever, eating habits are changing around the world. Here, in Canada, it seems that almost 33% of the population either identifies as a vegetarian or is trying to eat less meat. You just have to ask around you: everyone knows at least one person who has done the switch!

To me, it is pretty obvious that the future will be mostly vegan (exempt of animal exploitation). The comprehension that we have of our world, its living ecosystem and ourselves is evolving. We will one day stop arguing on the fact that whether or not all animals are sentient beings and, even if they don’t have the same intelligence as us, we will all treat them with respect, considering their nature. I also believe that the evolution of our perception and our relation with those said animals will not only be beneficial to them, but to us as well. As this famous quote says: ‘’We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.”

I would conclude with another belief shared by those who are optimistic like me: not only our human-animal relationships will change, but our respect for each other and most definitely the way that we treat our planet, will too. We will comprehend the beauty of diversity and, for all these reasons and many more, the future will be humane.

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