I just picked up the new issue of Animal Welfare Institute Quarterly (Winter 2008, Vol. 58, No. 1) and opened the cover to look through when an incredible story caught my eye. I began to wonder why no one ever thought of this before. The story is entitled “Animals are Beings, Too.” There is no byline to tell who wrote the article but I spoke with Lauren at AWI and got permission to reprint the story in my blog. I have a link on the right side of my page that will take you to AWI’s blog. For further information on such a wonderful organisation and their on-going fight to save the lives of all types of animals, you can either call them at 703-836-4300 or visit their website at www.awionline.org .
Below is the story “Animals are Being,Too” in its entirety:
“Children are naturally drawn toward animals, and non-human species frequently steal the show in books, television programs and films targeted at young audiences. From Wilbur the pig to the family dog, kids learn early on that animals have feelings and emotions just like them. Sadly, traditional classroom lessons often conflict with this natural discovery.
Recently, during a grammar lesson in his second grade class in West Hartford, Ct., budding political activist Noah S.B. Williams spoke up to correct the categorization of animals as “things.” Noah felt that the classification system of “Persons, Places and Things” should be replaced by the designations of “Beings, Places and Things.” To illustrate his point, he wrote the following essay.
Why Animals Should Not Be Called Things
Animals should not be called things because they are beings, not things. Shame on the people who call animals things. If I could I would give the person who first called animals things a talking-to. I would not call animals things. Thing about this. If you loved someone, would you call them a thing? I wish on one had ever called animals things. Why would you call your pet a thing? A rug or something is a thing, but not an animal. He or she is not a thing! This is not funny, it’s all true. I would not lie to you about this. It’s not a joke. Do not lie to me, either.”
I am so proud of this young man for standing up for what he believes in. I am grateful for his message and will forever refer to it whenever I am speaking to anyone regarding animals. At least I am not alone in my thinking about animals. I am a dog lover, but all animals have a place in my heart. I’ve never considered my dog to be a thing because to me he is so much more than. Just because he walks on all fours doesn’t make him any less. Who’s to say we aren’t the ones who are doing it wrong? Maybe, just maybe, humans are ‘things’ and animals are ‘people’?