On Humans and Other Species

In reference to Barry A. Palevitz's excellent commentary on animal slaughter,1 I completely agree that it is about time that we, humans, reconsider our attitude toward other animals or even other humans. The problem is perhaps much more fundamental than the market value of meat as a commodity. I think the present society does little to educate a child on the moral and humane aspects of life and society. Our major goal today is to make sure that our children grow up to be rich and famous. Throu

Apr 30, 2001
Sailen Barik
In reference to Barry A. Palevitz's excellent commentary on animal slaughter,1 I completely agree that it is about time that we, humans, reconsider our attitude toward other animals or even other humans. The problem is perhaps much more fundamental than the market value of meat as a commodity. I think the present society does little to educate a child on the moral and humane aspects of life and society. Our major goal today is to make sure that our children grow up to be rich and famous.

Throughout history, people have been given gruesome accounts of slaughter in our art, music and literature. Just consider the recent movies: Schindler's List, Babe, Chicken Run, and those that attempted to promote tolerance and compassion to other species, including extraterrestrials: ET, Free Willy. It appears that they only served as entertainment, since the carnage of human atrocity keeps raging in every continent on one scale or another, on every terrestrial species, often in the name of religion, national interest, supremacy, or sports.

Humans are indeed master killers. I am not a so-called "animal lover," but I do practice moderation in eating meat. As a biochemist, I know--and I try to educate people on this--that meat is not as essential to human diet as some people might want us to believe. The need for protein can be largely, if not completely, met by non-animal sources. There is certainly no conceivable dietary reason why, in the very least, we would not treat the soon-to-be-slaughtered animals humanely.

Sailen Barik, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
University of South Alabama
College of Medicine
307 University Blvd.
Mobile, AL 36688-0002
sbarik@jaguar1.usouthal.edu
1. B.A. Palevitz, "Mary's Little Lambs," The Scientist, 15[8]:6, Apr. 16, 2001.