Modern Slavery: Animal Slavery

This is the third and final article in the series about modern slavery, here are the previous two posts

End Modern Slavery      Modern Day Slavery: Wage Slaves

“One day the absurdity of the almost universal human belief in the slavery of other animals will be palpable. We shall then have discovered our souls and become worthier of sharing this planet with them.”
Martin Luther King, Jr

‘The reasons for legal intervention in favour of children apply not less strongly to the case of those unfortunate slaves and victims of the most brutal part of mankind – the animals.’ (In discussing the need for child labor laws)
John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) (British philosopher, a founder of utilitarianism)

If you don’t have time to read the article below please at least take the following action to help elephants

BREAKING: Handler Seen Hitting Elephant’s Head 15 Times
https://campaigns.peta2.com/kings-cup-elephant-polo-abuse/?

When reading the article below consider the above petition which is an obvious example of animal slavery which is on-going right now.

Can animals be considered the victims of modern day slavery.

Here is a definition of slavery:

From the English Oxford Living Dictionaries: “Slave (especially in the past) a person who is the legal property of another and is forced to obey “

Note the “especially in the past” phrase in brackets which is in fact not true as “There Are More Slaves Today Than at Any Time in Human History   – 27 million to be exact. Yes the word slave brings to mind the exploitation of the past but slavery was never abolished as many people think.

The number of humans enslaved in the modern world is perhaps beyond our ability to comprehend. Likewise with animals, no doubt the numbers have increased, though there are no statistics it is a forgone conclusion as the rise in population would be accompanied of course by an increase in the use of animals for labour, entertainment and other exploitation.

“When I look at animals held captive by circuses, I think of slavery. Animals in circuses represent the domination and oppression we have fought against for so long. They wear the same chains and shackles.”
Dick Gregory

In the video below Activist Robbyne Kaamil reveals how the atrocities of slavery still exist today in the form of animal captivity.

It is suggested by many that there is no comparison, but consider for example the elephant in chains who provides rides in places like Thailand or who is forced to labour such as logging or the elephant consigned to spend all the days of his life until too old to perform in a circus, such as this poor baby being trained/tortured to perform. He has no choice does he, he would rather spend his days within his family group wandering the plains of Africa or Asian jungles not forced to perform silly ticks.

Elephants used in these ways fulfill the definition of slavery, in the example below this baby elephant is the legal property of the circus and is made to obey, in this case by means of so called training. He is not free to live his life according to his nature, his needs, his wants.

Consider also the animals used in warfare including the elephant who was exploited for war from 1100 years BC right up until World War II  when Japanese troops used elephants to cross the rugged terrain of Burma. We are all familiar with Hannibal’scrossing of the Alps in 218 BC with an estimated 40 elephants, one of the most celebrated achievements of any military force in ancient warfare.  In more recent times a number of animals were and are used in warfare including dolphins, when in 1967 the US Navy Marine Mammal Program developed a major project. The program, which is still ongoing, began training dolphins for mine-hunting and force-protection.  In addition dogs and even pigs have been used in our insane violent confrontations. In ancient times pigs where used to frighten War elephants who were reportedly terrified of the squealing and charging of pigs, so both the Romans and Alexander the Great made use of them in campaigns against enemies that fielded elephants.  

Read more about the animals used in warfare, including cats, bears, even bats “Developed by the US for use against Japan during World War II, the bat bomb was literally that. Each bomb would contain 26 trays that each held 40 hibernating bats. Each bat was meant to be outfitted with an individual incendiary device that was set to detonate after a specified amount of time.”
http://uk.businessinsider.com/unbelievable-instances-of-animals-in-military-2015-12/#bat-bombs-5

Did these animals have any real choice in the matter? All where property of humans, like human slaves, animals are bought and sold, all are forced to obey, all are slaves.

Surely animals imprisoned in factory farms exploited for their meat, skin and commodities such as milk and eggs are slaves, owned and exploited against their will with no say in the matter.

Look at these cows tethered in some shed in a factory farm, they are not able to roam freely in the sunshine, not able to live their lives has nature intended. Thinking feeling sentient beings, these animals suffer pain and fear, with keen maternal instinct like any animal including humans, they cry when their babies are taken from them.

 

Consider pigs in farrowing crates not able to move let alone stand, not able to interact with their babies. Highly intelligent creatures who go insane, trapped and imprisoned, surely these beings are slaves.

Look at this hideous contraption what kind of inhumane person devised such awful confinement, imprisoning sentient highly intelligent  beings – is this not slavery at its worse incorporating hideous abuse.

Here is the petition concerning this cruelty:
https://www.change.org/p/all-governments-ban-pig-cages?

Is this animal free?

Source of photo: https://emptyallcages.com/tag/torture/

Animals imprisoned and tortured (vivisection) are not only abused they are enslaved against their will and the misery of slavery is here again compounded by violent abuse by humans usually in the cause of profit.

You cannot say that a lab animal tortured everyday is not a slave, used and abused for the needs of humans, his life taken from him.

Are not these animals enslaved:
http://www.animalslavery.net/

Doesn’t this cattle auction remind you of the slavery of humans in times past

Pets as Slaves?

According to two Rutgers University professors it could even be considered that pets are animal slaves.

Rutgers law professors say pets are ‘animal slaves,’ argue domestication is form of torture

“Despite living with six rescue dogs, professors Gary Francione and Anna Charlton describe their pets as “non-human refugees,” according to an article they published on Aeon.co this month.

“Although we love them very much, we strongly believe that they should not have existed in the first place,” the couple wrote. “We oppose domestication and pet ownership because these violate the fundamental rights of animals.

“When we talk about animal rights, we are talking primarily about one right: the right not to be property,” they continued. “We all reject human chattel slavery. That is not to say that it doesn’t still exist. It does. But no one defends it.”

The professors argued that the way animals for food are treated would be considered torture if people endured the same treatment.”

Read More:
https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/sep/22/rutgers-law-professors-say-pets-are-animal-slaves-/

If an animal is considered someones property and their freedom and their life is taken from them against their will for the purpose of using them to produce such  products as meat, milk, eggs, wool or fur, it fits the definition of slavery.  Their enforced confinement and the exploitation of their lives and premature deaths is surely not of their choosing. An animal is enslaved when he or she is at the mercy of experimenters, his life is not his own, its obvious right. Also animals trained for military purposes or law enforcement often hailed as hero’s yet often killed rather than retired.  Yet despite the obvious comparisons it is by no means easy to get people to consider this treatment of helpless unwilling animals seriously for what it is, namely slavery.

Even less acceptable to many is the consideration of a much loved pet as an enslaved animal, but your companion, be he a cat, dog or rabbit  does not live a natural life, his will over ridden by human need, often confined even if it is for his own good – after all your pet rabbit or even your dog would soon come to grief if allowed to roam at will. Most certainly a bird in a cage, a fish or reptile in a tank is imprisoned and lives an even less satisfactory life than your cat or dog. This is a difficult area for most of us and it is now not possible to simply liberate pets but at the least effort should be made not to increase the problem. Do not buy from pet shops or breeders, instead buying from shelters rescued unwanted animals.  However no matter what we call this whether it’s rescue or sanctuary it is still a form of slavery – think about it your dog cannot even relieve himself until you his owner takes him for a walk. We prefer to ourselves as guardians rather than owners but in reality it is simply a play on words. I like to think I gave the best life I could to my three rabbits – see I automatically referred to them as my rabbits – but in reality they had little free will. I recall my rabbit Sooty sitting by the gate peering underneath, she knew there was more out there and she wanted her freedom. But we have to live in the real world and this is not an easy problem to rectify, as I say domestic animals can’t be liberated, but there are many abandoned animals who need good homes and we need to allow them as natural a life as is possible.

Some animal rights proponents believe that humans do not have the right to own or consider animals as property under any circumstance including as pets. Ideally many animal rights advocates would like an end to our keeping animals as pets. However in the main animal rights supporters consider that sharing our lives with our pets/companion animals is an entrenched and established practice at the present time and do not advocate the releasing of pets into the wild, but advise against certain companion animals, such as caged animals and recommend that dogs and cats be given as natural a life as is possible and are acquired from a pound or shelter rather than from a puppy mill or pet shop.

Here is PETA’s position on the matter:

https://www.peta.org/about-peta/why-peta/pets/

I conclude with another quote from Gary Francione and Anna Charlton

In a just world

“there would be no pets at all, no fields full of sheep, and no barns full of pigs, cows and egg-laying hens. There would be no aquaria and no zoos.”

“If animals matter morally, we must recalibrate all aspects of our relationship with them. The issue we must confront is not whether our exploitation of them is ‘humane’ — with all of the concomitant tinkering with the practices of animal-use industries — but rather whether we can justify using them at all,”

A controversial subject maybe and many people object to the comparison. In my opinion there are many similarities between human and animal slavery and why anyone should feel that such a comparison demeans the atrocities of enslaving human beings I cannot imagine as animals suffer in much the same way we do. An injustice such as the deprivation of life and liberty is a crime regardless of the species, intellect, gender or any other consideration. Animals like us experience pain and fear, they like us wish to live and just like us they desire their freedom. No creature should be deprived of their life under any circumstances. There are some differences as of course billions of human slaves were not slaughtered as animals are , yet for all intents and purposes millions of people lost their lives, lost the right to live as they so pleased – estimates vary from a few million to 100,000,000 people taken by European slave traders from Africa alone. 

Whether or not our use of animals amounts to slavery the fact remains causing suffering, pain and death to any sentient being is wrong in any civilized society regardless of species or any other consideration. Life is precious to all animals, human and nonhuman.

Albert Schweitzer once said:

“True philosophy must start from the most immediate and comprehensive fact of consciousness, and this may be formulated as follows: ‘I am life which wills to live, and I exist in the midst of life which wills to live’ ”

“Just as in my own will-to-live there is a yearning for more life, and for that mysterious exaltation of the will-to-live which is called pleasure, and terror in face of annihilation and that injury to the will-to-live which is called pain; so the same obtains in all the will-to-live around me, equally whether it can express itself to my comprehension or whether it remains unvoiced.

Ethics thus consists in this, that I experience the necessity of practising the same reverence for life toward all will-to-live, as toward my own. Therein I have already the needed fundamental principle of morality. It is good to maintain and cherish life; it is evil to destroy and to check life.

A man is really ethical only when he obeys the constraint laid on him to help all life which he is able to succour, and when he goes out of his way to avoid injuring anything living.”

The Ethic of Reverence for Life
by Albert Schweitzer

Albert Schweitzer developed a philosophy which he called a “Reverence for Life”, for which he received the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize. Basically Schweitzer considered that all creatures possess what he called “a will to live ” for which we should empathize, and that this will to live should be respected in all animals without exception, and a person wishing to live in accordance with such an ethic should avoid whenever possible harming another creature. To take the life of any being human or non human whether in the literal sense or by enslavement is a grave injustice which should now no longer be a part of any modern society.

Actions to take

SPANA For the working animals of the world

https://spana.org/about-us/our-work/ourcorecountries/myanmar

Related Links

Slavery has been abolished … or has it? In a powerful new public service announcement (PSA), comedian, actor, advice columnist, and animal defender Robbyne Kaamil—whose great-great-grandmother was a slave—points out that for animals who are held captive in circuses, zoos, and marine parks, the slave trade is very much alive today. And if you buy a ticket to these places, you’re supporting it.
https://www.peta.org/blog/new-tv-ad-are-you-supporting-the-modern-day-slave-trade/

Animal Slavery and Other Comparisons: Who Should Be Offended?

https://freefromharm.org/animal-products-and-culture/animal-slavery-and-other-comparisons/

“Animal suffering similar to human slaves'” by UPC President Karen Davis is today’s featured letter in the 
Chicago Sun-Times
 :
https://www.upc-online.org/thinking/90605suntimes.htm

You can read more about Albert Schweitzer and his philosophy
http://think-differently-about-sheep.com/Animal_Rights_Albert_Schweitzer.htm

 

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Modern Day Slavery: Wage Slaves

This is part two of three posts about modern day slavery. Here is the first, End Modern Slavery: https://rantingsfromavirtualsoapbox.wordpress.com/2018/02/08/end-modern-slavery/

Unrecognised modern Slavery – “wage slaves.”

“whoever gives his labor for money sells himself and puts himself in the rank of slaves.”
Cicero

The capitalists owned everything in the world, and everyone else was their slave. They owned all the land, all the houses, all the factories, and all the money. If anyone disobeyed them they could throw them into prison, or they could take his job away and starve him to death.
Nineteen Eighty-four, by George Orwell

“In the same way that we today think that the slave trade and colonial exploitation were inhuman and inconceivably bestial ways of acquiring riches, there is no doubt that coming generations will think that our form of world trade and distribution of the world’s benefits were just as inconceivable and inhuman.” 
Erik Dammann

Is working for a wage a modern form of slavery

Though not quite in the same league as the examples of slavery in the first article there are many similarities, most people are in fact enslaved to some degree. The need for shelter, food and clothing, basic needs for every human being comes at a price – your freedom and autonomy. The reality is all employees are faced with the starkest choice and that is to work for an employer or face poverty or starvation. 

For low wages the vast majority of us slave away our precious existence for the sole purpose of making huge profits for big corporations, often having two or more jobs just to pay our rent or mortgage, to put food on the table and to provide warmth and clothing, all vital for our existence. In the modern world most of us hate our jobs, we have few rights at work, long hours with constant pressure to produce or achieve more, low wages and so on, all of which we have to accept in order to try and keep a roof over our heads and food in our stomachs.  We accept this exploitation, which is in my opinion a form of slavery not much different from that of a medieval surf, with the exception that while the serf/slave would literally be dragged back if he escaped and may even pay with his life. In many ways, more subtle maybe but almost as binding, similar slavery of the majority continues in modern times. Okay we may have more luxuries compared with the serfs of times past but don’t let this fool you, in reality most of us own very little even after working our entire life. You may be considered an home owner, but your home is not yours until you have paid your mortgage, that car you may have on credit likewise is not yours, nor any of the gizmos and gadgets, the latest furniture, your fitted kitchen or bathroom and the endless embellishments we deem vital to our quality of life, if these have been paid for by credit. In reality most people are but one pay cheque away from homelessness, poverty and destitution.  Even when you home is your own,  if you are lucky enough to keep a job with a decent wage throughout  the twenty to thirty years you make repayments, when you are too old or too ill to work you may not be able to maintain your property on the puny pension or benefits doled out by the state – if you are of course fortunate to receive such as governments both here and in the US do their utmost to destroy social security  – and you end your life sinking deeper and deeper into poverty or debt and your home can be taken from you if you do not pay.

Did you know that many people do not have savings over £100 even after working all their lives, 17 million UK citizens to be exact. Faced with an unexpected bill these people are likely to be forced into debt and further deprivation if they are not able to pay their debt, such as the loss of their home which they may have struggled to pay for their entire working lives or an inability to pay rent. We are all nowadays just one pay check from homelessness.

One in three families are a month’s pay from losing homes, says study

https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/aug/09/england-one-in-three-families-one-months-pay-losing-homes-shelter-study

We therefore cannot walk off from our jobs even if our lives are made a misery, and we are overworked and underpaid and barely subsisting for we would lose what little we have. Those of us with families would not wish to abandon our children to homelessness and abject poverty would we. So we continue to slave away for big corporations who profit from our labour giving the minimum required in return.

It may be argued that people who work for a wage are not slaves because they have the legal right to leave a particular employer, though in reality this is often not an option in these times of job scarcity as the fear of  quitting your job and not finding another is prohibitive. So many workers would be extremely reluctant to exercise this right even when they are paid low wages and working long hours with few if any rights in the workplace.

The only right that a wage worker has is that he or she is not the slave of any particular employer, but he or she is still a slave of the capitalist system. You have the right to leave one employer but you have to soon find another and no matter how  awful your job is – long hours and low wages, pressure, even harassment in the workplace – with so few jobs and the likelihood of not getting employment benefits because you have made yourself unemployed few hesitate to change jobs. As you lack any means of sustaining your life you are bound to an employer and these days you have little freedom to pick and choose. In the past when jobs were plentiful employers did not have the power they have now and it was easier to change jobs and secure better wages and conditions, for example in the sixties or seventies you could walk out of a job one morning and find another by the afternoon, though of course this is still wage slavery people back than had more say about where they worked and the conditions they worked under.

Furthermore employers often conspire together to keep wages low, and in recent decades with the decline of trade union influence employers have the upper hand in conflicts between workers and themselves.

“…the elite maintain wage slavery by dividing the working class through their influence over the media and entertainment industry,]educational institutions, unjust laws, nationalist and corporate propaganda, pressures and incentives to internalize values serviceable to the power structure, state violence, fear of unemployment and a historical legacy of exploitation and profit accumulation/transfer under prior systems, which shaped the development of economic theory”:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wage_slavery

Yes in the rest of your life you have a certain amount of freedom but your time is very limited these days, work demands most of your waking life and the time you do have off you are probably too weary and tired both physically and emotionally to appreciate it. Moreover if on a low wage you may not have the freedom to participate fully in society, to enjoy entertainment, hobbies and other pass times, you may not even earn enough to eat or pay your rent or mortgage. Most people who use food banks are wage earners.

We are therefore slaves exploited for our labour.

I am profoundly shocked concerning the exploitations of vulnerable people, such grave social injustice has no place in any ethical progressive society. I fail to understand the mindset of those who exploit others in the name of personal gain, or in other words rampant greed. Life is precious to all of us and should be lived as much as possible in the way we wish to live. While work of course has to be done it should be fairly distributed, necessary and compensated with a wage that allows not only the necessities of life, but to allow for a quality of life. It should be a basic human right to have the opportunities to fulfill our hopes and dreams, not forced into wasting our precious existence slaving away for some greedy corporation, our lives taken to make another person rich.

Look at what you do. For Many of us our lives and the world’s resources are wasted producing useless luxuries or we produce goods that are deliberately wasted to keep prices high – Have you ever considered what becomes of unsold clothing in stores at the end of the season. Most of it ends up in landfill,11.9 million tons of unwanted clothing a year     This is the labour of so many people, mostly in sweatshops in so called developing countries, wasted for profit. Even if some of it is recycled as required by the EU it is nonetheless wasteful to destroy perfectly good clothing which so many people need and all for the sake of profit for the few. Sadly for many your job has one purpose and that is to make your boss rich. The waste of resources to continue to produce huge accumulations of pointless items wastes our lives. Such is produced to make a small minority rich – ask yourself do we need an entire supermarket shelf just so we can have a huge choice of shampoo such as for greasy hair, dry hair, normal hair, dandruff, for bleached hair, colored hair, for thickening hair, for babies, shampoos with hints of tints. And there will be several brands of the same.  A shop in my town is filled with ridiculous plastic trinkets, hair ornaments, junk jewelry, endless handbags, shopping bags all shapes and sizes, each year the young and fashion conscious persuaded they need the latest bag, shoes, jewelry and endless junk produced at the expense of the worlds dwindling resources simply to increase profits.

“Capitalism is slavery in so many ways. Consumers become enslaved by so many choices, and by becoming the victims of corporate America, who have ingrained people to believe they need things they don’t need. Capitalism is a sad commentary on human nature, and only serves to entrench the have-nots for their entire lives.”

“Any educated person would agree…Yes, it is.
Understanding the difference between capitalism, socialism, and communism is a wise place to start. Capitalism operates as a guise under freedom by promising those that are less fortunate too have the possibility of becoming a capitalist themselves, however they will spend their entire lives toiling to never reach that promised ending.”

Comments included in an online debate
http://www.debate.org/opinions/is-capitalism-slavery

The second comment addresses the reason that despite all the misery that capitalism has caused since forever – but most particularly in recent times –  is the implied promise that one day workers may also be capitalists themselves, the fact that this is just a pipe dream and logically could never happen seems to elude most people.

Action to end modern day slavery

“We know all too well that many workers in Asia endure forced labor to bring us the garments, foods, electronics and other goods we enjoy.

The good news is Australia is taking steps towards creating new modern slavery laws that could improve protections for vulnerable workers worldwide and we need your help to make it happen.”

Read More and sign the petition:
https://www.freedomunited.org/advocate/urge-australia-help-end-slavery/

This petition concerns more conventional modern slavery and not slavery in the context discussed in the above article. The petition is worth signing as bringing about such changes globally will improve the lives of millions of exploited people worldwide.

Please also add your name to a letter to urge UK fashion brands to protect women who make our clothes.

ABUSE ISN’T IN ANY WOMAN’S JOB DESCRIPTION
https://act.careinternational.org.uk/node/238?utm_source=twshare&utm_campaign=GBVletter

Many people the world over suffer abuse at work in silence afraid that they will loose their livelihood, become homeless, destitute and poverty stricken. This is surely a form of slavery.

Related Links

Working: No More Than A Wage Slave
https://www.iww.org/history/library/AJMiller/Working_Wage_Slave

America’s Favorite Anarchist Thinks Most US Workers Are Wage Slaves
http://www.businessinsider.com/most-american-workers-are-slaves-2014-4?IR=T

Wage slavery
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wage_slavery