Compassion for Animals: Why It Matters

If we view animals as fellow creatures capable of suffering, we can better and more credibly participate in the care of animals. In this article, you will learn what empathy for animals can look like in concrete terms and how we can promote it.

Personal development through compassion for animals

“No one cruel to animals can be a good person.” This is what the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer once said.

Compassion for animals is a sign of spiritual and mental health. On the other hand, people who intentionally harm animals have an increased likelihood of developing mental disorders. The environmental influences of socialization also play a role.

Taking care of animals as other creatures is very important for the development of emotional and social intelligence. It is about awareness and appreciation of life. Working with animals enhances many social skills, such as the ability to work in a team and express personal feelings.

Emotional intelligence plays a role

We humans can develop empathy for animals.
(Photo: CC0/Pixabay/miktima)

Dealing with animals more consciously can lead to lifestyle thinking. Factory farming is also part of the current economic system because many people are on their way to being displaced. Animal suffering vanished. The excesses of the capitalist consumerist system are also due to a lack of awareness.

Being conscious on a deeper level also means subconsciously understanding that other living beings have a natural right to life and safety. Anyone who has grown up with animals learns to appreciate other living things. Can establish a social relationship with the animal. This trains our ability to pay attention and take responsibility.

For animal rights activists like American philosopher Tom Reagan, the value of a life is not measured by intelligence, but rather by the ability to experience. According to this, animals have basic moral rights just like humans. The ethic of sanctification by Albert Schweitzer points in the same direction: “I am a life that wants to live, in the midst of a life that wants to live.”

We can feel the feelings of others within ourselves if we deal with them. The ability to empathize with other living things is one of the most important human capabilities. We can see ourselves from the outside and assess our impact on others.

But the depth of empathy also depends on education. This includes not only theoretical knowledge of the classical subjects, but also the development of mental maturity that depends not on school grades but on empathy. Nevertheless, it may be useful to include empathy for animals in the curriculum, as the following points show.

Learn to empathize with animals at school?

Empathy for animals can be taught in school to build emotional intelligence into the curriculum.
Empathy for animals can be taught in school to build emotional intelligence into the curriculum.
(Photo: CC0/Pixabay/玺)

“There are two classes of animals. One believes that there are two classes of animals, and the other that they must suffer,” says philosopher Richard David Brecht in his book “Tiere Denken” (available for example at Buch7**). Precht wants to express something that many of us know more or less consciously: in fact, there is no justification for treating animals poorly.

This can be the general feeling in school for training emotional smartness Uses:

  • For example, empathy for an animal can be presented as a subject. In the Spanish region of Aragon, this school subject was already present in primary and secondary schools. The intent was to “promote a better coexistence of living things”.
  • Empathy for animals can be instilled through trips to animal shelters. Each child can have a sponsored animal that is visited once a week. Children can pet the animals, feed them and give them water.
  • Trips into the wild are also possible, for example to observe butterflies or birds. Butterfly death is an underestimated part of insect death. Mercy can also be transmitted by the circulatory method.
  • A visit to a farm may open your eyes to the life and suffering of farm animals. However, something like this should be done in high school so that children do not get mentally drained. We humans depend on a healthy ecosystem. The consequences of our economic system can be experienced in addition to theoretical knowledge transfer. Experience is more than just knowledge.

It remains to be seen if these ideas will find their way into the German educational scene. At least there is already potential for committed teachers to participate in additional training to include animal care in their lessons.

Read more about the utopia:

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