Modern society has come a long way in terms of equality and improvements in the way that we treat one another. Sure we still have various improvements that we need to make. But we still continue to use and abuse some of the most vulnerable members of our societies: animals. Now, we may not be able to communicate and connect with animals in the same way that we can our fellow humans. But they are still sentient beings who should command the same level of respect that we’d have for any other living creature. Fortunately, we don’t have to rely solely on people to make the conscious moral and ethical decision to alter their lifestyles to help to prevent animal cruelty. While this would be a good start, advancements in technology are helping to change systems and modes of production that mean in the future animals no longer need to be used as commodities for our consumption. Here’s a quick run through of the ways we currently use animals in the consumer market and how technology could provide effective alternatives.
How We Currently Use Animals
Animals are used in so many aspects of our day to day lives that you may be surprised to realise just how much many of us rely on their power and bodies to get by. Let’s take the food industry as an example. Sure, we’re all well aware of where our meat comes from. We also know that products such as eggs, dairy, and honey are derived from animal byproducts. But did you realise that items such as pesto, Fanta, red candies, and various types of yoghurts also contain animal products? We also use parts of animal products in various items of clothing that we wear (for example, leather, wool, and feathers) and cosmetic products that we use (such as lanolin in shampoo). We use them in scientific experiments to develop medicines and vaccines, we use them in sport, and even in roles within the police and military.
How Developments in Technology Could Improve Animals’ Current Lifestyle
What it’s important to remember when we use animals for all of the above purposes is that animals cannot consent. They have an urge to survive, just as we do, and to kill them in order to use their bodies for our benefit (often for frivolous or unnecessary luxury goods) is morally questionable. We should be focusing on improving animals’ lifestyles. Animal augmentation is a technique currently being developed that looks into prolonging animal’s nature lifespans and increasing their natural abilities: these can be used with farm animals, other working animals, and maybe even with your dog.
More Immediate Solutions
People have started to develop technology where non-sentient machines can be used as a direct alternative for animals, or to produce alternatives to the products and materials that they provide us with. Using these or supporting the use of these can improve issues regarding animal rights and welfare. For historical examples, look into areas such as machinery being developed to replace horse-drawn carts or horseback riding, or machines created to produce meat alternatives.
Remember that as compassionate beings, capable of understanding the pain of others, it is absolutely essential that we attempt to follow a moral guideline that prevents the suffering of other sentient creatures. Support the development of technology to improve animal welfare!