Celebrating predation II: disregarding the agony of animals

In a previous post, I presented an example of the ways in which many humans lack any concern for nonhuman animals suffering and dying for natural reasons. In this post I’m going to present some more examples of such speciesist attitudes. I won’t describe them, but post some videos showing this attitude displayed. To be honest, I find them just horrible, but my intention in showing them here is, of course, not just to claim they are terrible to watch. Rather, I’d like to promote some reflection on the question of whether we should be indifferent to the suffering of wild animals, even when it’s due to natural causes.

There are many other similar videos on the internet. If we find them repugnant, I think we have to reject the celebration of predation and the disturbing disregard for the plight of wild animals they imply.

In this video, we can see how another person is thrilled about how a centipede he has as a pet kills a mouse he puts in his or her cage.

And in this other one, we can see the same attitude with a mouse that is killed to feed a carnivorous plant (that is not even a sentient being).

In this other video, a couple of guys send a wasp to death by throwing it to a spider net just to see how the spider captures and kills this insect. This animal moves and twists as the spider is eating her body alive, while the guys comment how great that situation is.

I hope these gruesome images will encourage us to question the attitude of celebration of predation that is so common nowadays.

To those interested in this, some texts that question this attitude and reflect on the ethics of our position towards many natural processes can be seen  in this list that was published before in this blog. One of the papers that deals with this question is this one. Luckily, there is a growing number of people now concerned with this issue, as one can see in this recently created fb page.


12 thoughts on “Celebrating predation II: disregarding the agony of animals

  1. Some of the problems related with this subject is the use term “natural”. It is completely vacuum. I don’t understand why we should use “natural” when we talk about lion chasing giraffes an we should talk about “not natural” when some human kill a cow for cooking her corpse. It is a completely arbitrary definition. So, when we talk about “natural proccess” this should include the life of humans in New York city. I think the term natural should be eliminated because makes and arbitrary distinction and if we delete the distinction the term means simply ALL that exists, so we have NO new information. Te worst of all is that this term is use for arguing pro or against some idea ant in that cases the argument really doesn’t exist.

  2. Thanks for your comment. I agree with what you say, and I just keep on using the term “natural” so readers will understand easily what I mean because I’m addressings concerns that others (who, unlike us, do find the distinction between “natural” and “unnatural” relevant) present.

  3. Ok, maybe we should use other words that are also understandable. I think that the use of that term promote the differentiation between human and non-human. It is like the use of “animal” vs “human¨.

  4. I see your point. Do you have any suggestions? I find it hard to name in a way that is not cumbersome and doesn’t include the term “natural” the harms that animals suffer due to causes not related to human activity, but due to the way ecosystems work.
    OTOH, there’s something positive in the use of the term, which is that many people assume nature is just awesome. Virtually anyone undestands by “nature” biocenoses, ecosystems or the biosphere. By using these terms while we describe what happens in biocenoses, ecosystems or the biosphere we question that idyllic view.

  5. Although it is not perfect we could say, in spanish, “animales silvestres” or “animales en libertad”. Although similar to “natural”, the term “silvestre” have not all the connotations of the first. For example people says “alimentación natural” but not “alimentación silvestre”. However we can say “animales silvestres” in replace of “animales en la naturaleza” and the information is the same.

  6. Errata: “has not all …..”

    Also I think that other phrases as “sufrimiento debido a procesos naturales” could be stated as “sufrimiento no causado por humanos”. This option is clear and not very extense.

  7. But the problem is that in that way you don’t challenge the positive meaning that is usually (and wrongly) attached to the terms “natural” and “nature”.

  8. Ok, precisely I think that the positive meaning is not beneficial. Is because of this positive meaning of nature that many people (even some vegans) see suffering by predation as if it were something different, they see that the event is sacred because is “natural”. Also because of the positive connotation people use it as an argument for defending or rejecting ideas: “meat is natural”, “homosexuality is not natural”, “supplements are not natural”, etc and they believe that his point is a good one but actually, in essence, they are saying nothing .

    Indeed we think that apart from eliminating the term natural (or maybe using it only as opposed to supernatural, in other contexts) we should criticize the positive connotation of the term in its other meaning. Precisely, it is what you are doing when writing about this subjects.

  9. I have reread your answer and see that my answer is wrong, I thought that you were saying the opposite. Well I see your point, I think that we should simply do the same:

    – Don’t use “natural” as opposed to “human made”

    – Criticize that meaning of natural in an independent way, texts specifically devoted to it.

  10. And the criticism should state that “natural” or “not made by humans” don’t say nothing about moral, convenience or anything else,that that meaning of natural is equivalent to create a term as “bupural” for designing all things in which gorillas intervenes and so is not useful for arguing.

  11. I tend to think that unless we say what *this* term is used to mean is not positive people may not get it. But I’m open to change my mind. I see your point and will think more about it. I’ll ask other people who are also concerned with this issue and see what they think.

  12. The suffering is always suffering, maybe we must castrate predators. Less pain, more overall happiness. It´s my view


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