Man and animal: awareness of interdependence

The interdependence between species: a recent price of conscience

On December 1, 2021, the film “Animal” was released in theaters, which raises many questions about animal ethics. The new documentary by Cyril Dion, director of the very noticed “Tomorrow” (in 2015), makes it possible to realize the complexity of certain situations. Thus, we see in an industrial rabbit farm, a farmer who seems to be more the slave of a system than one of its defenders. Likewise, the film goes beyond the opposition between farmers and environmentalists about the wolf, because it shows why wolves come to attack and kill beyond what they can consume.

Above all, there is “something very successful in this film”, according to Father Éric Charmetant, it is the way in which he shows the interdependence of the living, “and that our life depends on these great balances”. In recent years, we have been witnessing an awareness of this interdependence. We talk a lot about bees, but also about ants, termites… And a large number of publications are coming out on the intertwining of life forms. “It’s still a new conviction in relation to this power of the human being who has the impression that he can live without other humans, on the one hand, and without other living beings.”

Are humans equal to animals?

This awareness of interdependence Should it make us believe that the human species is at the same level as the animal species or is there a singularity to the human species? “We can not deny, replies Éric Charmetant, that there is a form of asymmetry in human responsibility towards animals. We can’t ask an animal to be responsible for us…”

On the other hand, we can recognize the importance of other forms of life. And our closeness to other species – if only from a genetic point of view, we have 98.6% of genes in common with chimpanzees! But there is another way to become aware of this proximity: “We are all creatures of God. There is a relationship of God to all living beings, which is different depending on the species.” As Pope Francis says in Laudato Si’, other lives have intrinsic value.

It is not so much a question of whether man is superior or equal to the animal but to realize that man has a responsibility that other species do not have. “I think we have a lot to do because if we were really aware that animals are creatures of God, we questioned more about our modes of production…”

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