THE Almighty created man in His own image, which means that we humans are aware of His existence and, if we feel so disposed, can communicate with Him.
As far as we know, a weasel or a horse cannot do this. We were also given dominion over all other species – which over half of humanity interprets as a licence to abuse, confine, torture or kill anything from a blue whale to a maggot.
What is clear is that animals are far more sensitive, perceptive and intelligent than we believed at the time when Jack the Ripper was prowling the streets of London.
We now know that dogs can learn to drive a car, but it is unlikely that, in my lifetime, they will be piloting Airbuses into Malaga airport. Monkeys can’t write a poem in French on a blackboard, but they are capable of double-bluffing onlookers when hiding food. They have probably had that capability for millennia.
Elephants over a large area are able, from a distance, to communicate to each other a plan to meet at a specific watering hole that some of them have never visited before.
Weeks later those that survive poachers all arrive there at approximately the same time. Dolphins can remember incidents that occurred months ago and friends they have not seen for 20 years. Pigs can sense that they are on the way to be slaughtered. Crows and ravens plan for the future, invent their own tools and recognise human faces.
Not long ago, it was generally thought that most animals and all fish felt no real pain, so we could treat them as we wished. It is now known that they experience pain, fear, distress and bereavement. A bird, incarcerated in a cage for life, is aware that he should be free to fly with complete freedom, to socialise and to mate.
A factory cow stares helplessly from her tethered position in her own droppings at the freedom of a nearby meadow. She sees her baby calf freely frisking around (for the time being) and senses they will never be reunited.
The human was the last creature to arrive on our planet. Before us there were living beings such as plants, organisms, microbes, insects, marine life, reptiles, birds and mammals.
Humankind has always taken advantage of the vastly superior powers conferred on them by the Almighty, using them to the detriment of those less well endowed. But animals are far more sensitive.
Humans are the only species with the ability to save our planet and, at the same time, the only species to precipitate its demise. Neglect of the environment includes air pollution and the wilful destruction of trees, vegetation and marine life upon which other beings depend for their survival.
It also means the slaughter of whales, rhinos and tigers and the chemical-poisoning of cattle, chickens and fish for our consumption.
The Almighty cannot be impressed!
David Worboys’s opinions are his own and are not necessarily representative of those of the publishers, advertisers or sponsors.