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The fallacy of animalism


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El Norte de Castilla, El Día, El Diario Montañés, Diario de Navarra, El Norte de Castilla, El Día, El Diario Montañés, Diario de Navarra

Gerardo Castillo

Professor School of Education and Psychology

The unpunished mistreatment of animals continues to motivate the creation of protective societies. On October 15, 1978, the Universal Declaration of Animal Rights was adopted. It was later approved by the UN. In its article 14 it is said: "the rights of the animal must be defended by law, as well as the rights of man".

Equality of rights? Only the person is a subject of rights, since only the person, by virtue of his spiritual reality, is susceptible of merit. Intelligence and will constitute an insurmountable qualitative leap between humans and animals. Man differs from animals in kind, not only in Degree. The fact that there are abusers is not solved by idolizing animals to the point of "humanizing" them. This would make them lose their identity, which is a form of animal abuse.

Lately we have been witnessing with astonishment the growing vindication of the alleged rights of animals while human rights, including the right to life, are scorned. It is a paradox that animals are deified while attempts are made to impose the belief that human life is no longer inviolable.

In today's emotivist society, which subordinates reason to emotion, there is a sentimentalist obsession with animals that leads to proposals as original as the liberation of caged animals. People are already calling for the closure of zoos, ignoring the fact that they protect fauna, especially endangered species, and that, in addition, they are source of instruction: the best zoology classes are not given in classrooms, but in zoos.

A comic cartoon denounces the excesses in the defense of animals: in a guided visit to a Paleolithic cave, contemplating the cave paintings on hunting scenes, an animal lover of the tourist group says: "that savagery must be removed from there: it perpetuates some outdated customs and extols violence and animal abuse!".

Animalists pursue the elimination of the barriers that separate the animal world from the human world. Once these barriers are eliminated, we would see, supposedly, that there is an animal culture similar to the human culture.

David Reyero, professor of Philosophy at Education, argues that "we can only speak of culture in the strict sense in the case of human beings. In the human being, culture makes up for its many deficiencies. We make up for the lack of biological determination with culture. Instincts do not tell us sufficiently how we should live. Each human group offers its new members a repertoire of cultural resources with which to fill the gap that pure biology has not covered". But it is essential to distinguish between living cultures and dead cultures; also between cultures and subcultures.

The wisdom of the educated man derives from knowing the truth of being; subculture, on the contrary, does not tend to the truth of being, but to the truth that is desired and convenient in each case: it does not move man to a better living, but to a better living.

For David Reyero, "not only individuals fail but also the cultures that nurture them. There is an undoubted cultural root in many psychopathies, so the study of culture can be an interesting research field for disciplines such as psychiatry".

Nowadays, educational gaps in the family and school make possible the ideological indoctrination of children. They can easily fall prey to political and countercultural ideologies, such as the culture of death, radical environmentalism and anti-speciesist animalism.

Today's educators are expected not only to provide instruction without culture, but also to ensure that new generations receive valuable cultural inheritances that help prevent and overcome the impact of subcultures. The latter implies developing creativity, critical thinking and a love of truth. These qualities are especially necessary in the society of knowledge.

In the movie "The Dead Poets Club" Robin Williams gives life to the ideal teacher to develop them, against the current of a traditional teaching focused more on the transmission of knowledge than on the orientation of the learning process. One of his messages is the following: "Free your mind. Use your imagination. Say the first thing that comes to your mind, even if it's nonsense". These are the words with which Professor Keating tried to free the creativity and ingenuity of each of his students.