Animal Ethics By Jon Dunkerley
A long time ago, before evolution turned primate into businessman carrying a brief case, topic of ethical considerations concerning animals was as talked about as an episode of Barney at a dog trainer’s convention. Why is this? I believe that this is because nobody bothered to decide to give issue any thought. And how could they? Back in day of cave man, people spent their days’ hunting, and looking after family. Whatever animals they owned were used for hunting purposes, or food. Today we as society still use animals for hunting and food purposes, however I am sure that we have a more animalistic view now than cave man did back years ago. Over years, as we have evolved into what we are today, ethical and principle considerations have evolved right along with us. What I can not understand, is why it took so long for people to start considering feelings of animals! In today’s society, many animals are abused, neglected and tortured in various hideous ways. Back in day of cave man, I am sure that similar behavior took place. Is it a case of evolution installing a sense of compassion towards our animals, or is it something deeper? I do not know answer to this, but I do know that values and ethics are passed down from generation to generation, and it is up to us today to instill our values on next generation so that we can continue to provide optimum environment for our animals to live in and enjoy. In following paper, I will analyze key ethical principles that I have, and relate them to some of society’s most talked about animal related issues. In doing this I will discuss issues from both sides of fence however, emphasis will be placed on my own beliefs as this is afterall a reflection paper. Some issues being discussed in this paper include: Views on service dogs, animal rights, and animal-master bond just to name a few.
“Dogs that have been specially trained to assist a disabled person with certain daily tasks.” (The American Heritage Dictionary of English Language) This definition given by above source is best way that I could ever describe a service dog. Having ability to further one’s independence is an amazing feeling that is not felt until one is in position to do so; yet in a lot of cases, people have a negative outlook on use of dogs or other animals as providers and assistive partners for those who need them. I myself, am a huge service dog advocate. Being able to witness first hand what a dog can do for a disabled person has made me wonder why there are people out there who disagree with service dog concept; however, There are people out there who simply view dog as “man’s best friend.” These people have belief that a dog is a pet, and should be pampered, and not forced to be given responsibilities that service dogs are given. I can totally understand why these people would be against service dogs based on their own values, however what I do disagree with is way that these people go about degrading work put in by thousands of dedicated individuals to ensure that a successful dog/handler team is formed. Rallies against use of dogs for service needs are held now and again, and you can not get away from people staring or yelling “slave labor” as you pass them. What these people do not understand, is that service dogs live more productive, healthy and fulfilling lives than most family pets. Because of work that these dogs willing and happily perform, they are subjected to very high quality care, (e.g.) top of line dog food, ample exercise and against popular belief, a lot of normal doggie activity. The aim in a dog’s life is to please, and I wish those people against use of service dogs could be there every morning when I ask Luther if he is ready to go to work!
Animal Master Bond
The saying "dog is a man's best friend” is one that I hold a lot of respect for. First of all unconditional love from a dog to a master is incomparable to that of another human being. Second, dog's do not blab secrets that you tell them! All kidding aside, dog has and will be one of man's best comrades, because they have what we all want and need, this being an ability to put up with us, understand us better than we think they do, and ability to make us feel better when we are sad. On a personal level, I love spending time with my dog, and would rather his company to company of most people. No he can not talk to me or give me advice on problems that I tell him about, however he is always there for me with a lick and a tail wag, letting me know in his own way that he loves me and wants to be with me. I do believe that I may have an unhealthy relationship with my dog. When spending majority of your day in close proximity with an animal I have found it impossible not to grow used to constence of him being there. On an ethical level, people may view this as unethical due to fact that it may look to them that I need my dog to function as a human being. This is not case. I need my dog to assist me in day to day activity that could be performed minus dog, however is greatly enhanced with assistants that he provides me. Of course you will get “oh he’s so smart,” or “Oh he is so well behaved in public,” kind of people, however others again may view fact that dog is so in tune with what I am doing as a negative. I have talked with people in past about my dog's willingness to be with me and why he travels everywhere with me instead of lying in corner 24 hours a day or chasing cars like normal dogs. The animal bond works two ways: them being, dog bonding to master and master bonding to dog. I never knew feeling of a human dog commensal relationship until I got to know my own dog, and it is a feeling that I will not trade for world, and I would say that Luther feels same as I do. We both respect each other, we both know what is expected of each other, we both know what buttons to press and not to press, and we definitely know how to have fun either with each other or apart. However going back to unhealthy bonding issue, this is where I believe I may have gone wrong with my dog. By spending so much time together, we have become used to each other's company, and when we are apart, I miss him terribly and I know he feels same way I do. Dogs wear their emotions on their paws, and I can tell when he is stressed or upset as I'm sure he can tell if I am feeling different than normal. This said, I would not trade or relationship for world. Luther makes my life easier, and in return, I provide him with love, a stable home, and everything else that a big slab of lab needs to enjoy his life to fullest.