Can compassion be taught or does it have to come naturally? Can compassion be taught or is the essence of compassion an inherent quality of the individual? Why are some people compassionate towards others while other people seem to be devoid of any compassion? Is compassion selective — why do some people show compassion for select people, but not for others, or for humans, but not for animals; are people who negate non-human animals as not worthy of compassion guilty of speciesism — prejudice against non-human species?
Specifically, and as the focus of this book, how can some people view animals as nothing more than food products or possessions while other people see animals as our fellow earthlings, our friends, our family? Is the exploitation of animals so ingrained within human society that most people never consciously ponder the experienced pain and suffering of countless animals as well as the killing of so many innocent beings in slaughterhouses, research laboratories, pounds, and other institutions that deny rights to the other-than-human? Is our lack of compassion for animals systemic in nature or are we humans merely narcissistic regarding our own species’ rights, needs and desires? Are animals experiencing a holocaust not recognised as such by our species?
The assertions put forth in this book stem from environmental, eco-feminist, animal liberationist, and vegan philosophies, ethics, and ideologies. My intent is to show that compassion for our fellow earthlings can be taught through both cognitive and emotional transitions.
It is my goal and my hope that you, the reader, will give deep and critical consideration of your contributions to the pain and suffering of countless innocent, defenceless and loving fellow beings, but even more so, that you will evolve to realise that you have the power to contribute your own sense of compassion, empathy, kindness, respect, and love to the world in which you exist by surfacing these humane values to the forefront of your consciousness, a journey towards and celebration of compassionate living.
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