Another article in today’s news that might be worth commenting on — the Yulin “dog-meat festival” in China, and the “global outcry” against it.
The cynic might be inclined to protest “What’s the big deal? Eating dog or cat is no different than eating cow or chicken or fish”. It’s all protein, after all. Why the especial concern for dogs or cats or horses?
But whether it’s all just protein or not is not the issue that arouses the sense of outrage, or that is the tragedy of it. Man has very few friends left in the natural world. At one time, humans had more friends among the species. The dog and the cat, and perhaps the horse, represent the last remnant of those friendships — the only remaining real bond between man and Nature. And if contemporary Man feels completely alone and isolated in the universe, and as a “stranger in a strange land”, he has only himself to blame for that.
The betrayal or destruction of that bond of friendship and what it means for mankind’s remaining thread of a connection to Nature is what arouses outrage. The appearance of a mere sentimentalism (instead of a crude and boorish utilitarianism that masquerades as “realistic”) towards the plight of dogs and cats is only appearance. It disguises something much more profound.
And you know this, I think. You know that Man feels less alone, less isolated in the cosmos wherever a man or woman shares a bond of friendship with an animal like the dog or cat. They are used in therapy for that very reason — to draw human beings out of themselves — so that it even makes sense to say (and is perhaps the only proper way to think of it) that the domesticated dog and cat have volunteered to remain by mankind’s side, as mankind’s last remaining link to, and bond with, the natural world.
And if mankind doesn’t respect that bond of friendship that preserves its origins in the natural world, mankind can’t respect any kind of friendship. Even friendship becomes only a mere cynical utilitarianism — a case of “what’s in it for me?” Betrayal becomes a way of life.