„So, you only have your dog for fun!“, said the gentleman, prussian imperious, whose passion would have been easily recognizable, but it was my first real meeting with a representative of this guild, so I naively returned
„Yes, and you don’t.“
„No, dogs are there to be used and not to be fun for people,“ he replied, trudging on. Easily recognizable, by the green tweet in which he was dressed, the hat with the chamois beard on his head. His bitch was as old as my dog, barely half a year and it would have been so nice to see her raging across the fields, but she wasn’t allowed to, after all she was a working dog, a dog for use.
With this first encounter with a hunter, I was also confronted with their euphemistic language. They say harvest instead of murder, sweat instead of blood, open up instead of gutting and used animal instead of abused animal. Every living being that is used by another for the fulfillment of its purposes is abused. „Act in such a way that you need humanity both in your person and in the person of each other, at the same time as a purpose, never as a means“, Immanuel Kant said in 1785. Kant’s remarks are limited to people. But what prevents us from extending this sentence to all living beings? Every living being has the will to develop according to its interests. A dog that is brought up to use helps develop the interests of those who own it. The abuse begins where I take possession of another living being. I can use and own a car, a tool or a book. It was man-made for a purpose, but no living thing was man-made. Life belongs to itself. Nevertheless, we believe that we may take possession of other creatures that are inferior to us and use them for our purposes as a means for me. The hunter calls it use animals, the farmer livestock, and the people who have animals just for fun are pets. Not only because we need categories to divide the world, to make it manageable, but also to calm our guilty conscience through this further euphemism. No animal is born as a utility, useful or pet, but as an individual. By calling it that, I suggest to myself and others that these living things, which fall into one or the other category, were chosen to fulfill this requirement as if it were a natural law. So, it is completely legitimate to abuse animals for hunting, for races, for fights, otherwise they should not have become animals. We overlook the fact that we make it so by giving it this name. Therefore, we can murder or starve to death by the thousands if they no longer serve their purpose, like the Galgos in Spain.
Next up are the farm animals that are said to be only in the world anyway, so that they can provide us with food or clothing. We breed them to use them. But breeding itself does not make us a creator, but only a reproductive tool. These animals would also reproduce in freedom, but not according to plan, but instead found families, care for their children, raise them and let them live their lives. The situation is very different in the livestock industry, in which humans ensure that animals are born in order to separate them immediately and murder them in the shortest possible time. So, we put them into life to take them back as soon as possible. In between we also exploit their body’s products. Born to be maltreated and murdered, our handling of the so-called farm animals could be summarized.
But pets don’t fall into the category of exploitation. After all, we don’t take their fur or their lives. On the contrary, we pamper and protect them. That means we emotionally exploit them to make our lives richer or to teach children responsibility. Even if we think that we are doing something good for the animal, it ultimately only serves to compensate for our own emotional deficit. As a replacement for your own children or a partner or social contacts. For this we force other living beings to give up their freedom and their own life planning.
No matter what I call it, in any case another living being is used as a means. Kant’s sentence is only complete when I change it to: „Act in such a way that you need the living beings, both in your person and in the person of each other, at the same time as a purpose, never as a means.“ And also follow this instruction.