Rescue Journal

so what is the difference in value between human and animal life?

Carol  ·  Oct. 27, 2007

it depends who is determining that value.

i quite enjoyed reading the comments on the changeeverything blog during the contest. it was obvious that some people were bewildered that an animal charity garnered as much or in some cases more support than a charity for humans.

i usually feel guilty about everything but i am in a unique position of working closely (and more closely with most) in both fields of human AND animal care. so in this one instance i don't feel guilty for believing what i happen to believe.

and that is...there is no difference in value in life. our individual life value is not set upon you or me by someone else. it is determined by each individual for only themselves. there is no universal value system that says my life is more valuable than nicole's or my patients, or my childrens or jeanette the cow or clydes.

i personally might determine that my life is more valuable because it actually happens to be mine and it all depends on how much i want to keep it and how hard i try.

and i do believe that as a society, we are in trouble because of the way that we determine someone elses value. if a fireman or a policeman or a social worker or a teacher or a father or a mother or an innocent child, has more value than a struggling teenager or a sick and aging elder or a homeless person or an addict...then as a society we have a problem.

and if a human has more value then a cat or a dog or a moose or a crow or a tree or our air, then we have a global comunity problem too.

because if one species of human has more value then everything else put together, then we will continue to be takers and destroyers instead of the shepherds that i think we were meant to be.

accepting that all things have value does not de-value something else. what it does is make us careful and thoughtful in how we live our lives. it makes us responsible for each and every living thing and for the planet as a whole that supports us and gives all of us life.

and i think this is the point we are missing as we go about each of our days, that shepherds take care, and protect, and nuture everything as a whole.

you cannot eat and stay strong and happy yourself and grow healthy contented sheep if your fields are dead and the air is polluted and if you kill the rabbits and the deer who fertilize the grass and mow it to keep it sweet. you need the bugs and the grubs and the carrion animals to remove the soon to rot dead and you need the community of humans you live in to help you do your work. it doesn't matter if in that community there are blacks or whites or yellows or browns, it doesn't matter if the gods that are believed in are allah or buddah or christ, it doesn't matter if youth is inexperienced because they bring strength and are there for the future or if the elders are ancient in the wisdom that they learned thru out their lives and bring from the past. women bring forth more life and a man's strength can sustain what is here and animals help us to work and to live and to eat and to bring us friendship and can even change the course of rivers to bring us water to drink. trees build our homes, and sand forms cement, and a garden can feed a family too.

the reason that one life has no more value than any other is because we cannot live without each other and that is the point that we always seem to miss.

don't you think if we knew this, we would practice more care in what we do? more respect and compassion for those who ultimately give us what we need to live?

so i say that in the entire universe, clyde has as much value as me because both of us are just trying to survive the best way that we can. we both are born, and we both will die and we both struggle to live this life every minute of every day.

and that is the universal equalizer to me.