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Narian Chengiah Naidoo
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Don’t Monkey Around with Animals

13 April 2014, 19:04

Why is a roadside Romeo a wolf, a high spirited child a monkey or a clingy person a leech? Why do we need to use animal names to vilify or describe our fellow human beings?

I know of no species in this universe other than the homo sapiens who would stoop so low as to use the names of animals to vilify one another. Animals are such wonderful beings and to misunderstand, misinterpret and misuse their names to abuse one another is perhaps characteristic only of human beings, This is one trait that separates men from the noble beasts.

To people schooled in humanistic traditions, the manipulation of animal names by some sort of conscious technique seems incorrigibly wicked.

I cannot understand why people say, “don’t act like a monkey,” when a boy or girl is misbehaving and I am yet to comprehend the meaning of the statement. “You are a donkey”. As far as I can see, a monkey behaves like any of it’s own species and it has every right to behave so and it in no way obnoxious. If a boy or a girl is referred to as a monkey. It is a violation of the self respect of the animal. It does not mean that someone is demeaning the boy or the girl, but is rather teaching the children to demean one of god’s creatures.

The word “bitch” is thoughtlessly used to malign a women’s character without realizing how loyal, faithful and grateful a bitch can be. I can be enraged when I hear the poor dog being slandered by humans. It seems to me that society is punitive. We carry a burden of Calvinistic negativeness regarding the poor creatures and much of our judgment seems to stem from the way we are conditioned by the older members of our society. 

I am still to come across a “pig” which is insensitive to the needs of it’s “sow”. I wonder whether any pig has ever oppressed or ill-treated its mate. Why slander its name linking it with the egoistic male homo sapiens? I would rather call a pig “man headed” than call a man “pig headed” for being stubborn.

The “bull”  or “bear” of the share market, the “wolf” who whistles, the “parrot” that repeats, the slow “snail” and the “tortoise”, the sly “fox”, the “leech” that sucks the thick “buffalo” hide, the list is endless.

What I personally object to such classifications is the implication that everything in society is run by conditioned thinking. Do we need such negative similes to teach our children?

It may take a generation or two or even three to get over this bias towards animals. And hopefully, positive thinking towards the animal world will soon prove to be infectious.

The first thing we have to do is unlearn what we have already learnt. We move to adulthood with a large quantity of accumulated learning and attitudes that have been offered or forced on us throughout our childhood. For the most part of our adult life, we retain these within our subconscious mind. Almost without exceptions, children are dominated by the attitudes and values that are passed on to them by parents, adults and teachers.

In reality, children love animals and on their own, would never think of slandering them. Unfortunately they are not free to be their own individual selves. So it is the duty of us adults to still respect for animals in our children.

Let’s start right away. Let’s teach our children to respect animals and to accept them for what they are,

Animals are animals and their names should not be misused in any way, especially for abusing human beings. And who knows there may come a day when we will be telling our children, “did you know, once upon a time human beings used names of animals to abuse each other?”

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