I hate the word anthropomorphize. Hate. In case you aren't familiar, to anthropomorphize means to ascribe human characteristics to those who are not human. It is mainly used to describe how we supposedly project our feelings or emotions onto animals and thereby get the wrong impression of what's really going on in their heads -- which some would want us to believe is absolutely nothing.
That's right, there are loads of people out there, mostly those using animals for their own benefit, who would argue, for example, that the fear, pain, and suffering we recognize in animals -- even in dogs and cats -- is not real. It's just us, projecting. These people claim that animals don't have emotions and that they experience pain to a much a lesser degree than we do, if at all.
We largely have Rene Descartes, one of the most prominent thinkers of his day, to thank for this trash. Back in the 1600s, Descartes argued that animals were mere automatons reacting to stimuli when they screamed and struggled. Dismissing the concern of his students and to prove his point, he routinely nailed dogs to operating tables and dissected them while they were still fully conscious. By today's standards, I believe we'd call him a sick piece of shit.
True, we'll never know exactly what's going on inside an animal's mind. But we'll never know exactly what's going on inside another human's mind either. Just look at that whack-job Casey Anthony.
So, instead of presuming that animals feel nothing, and that experiences such as fear and pain are innately human, why don't we err on the side of caution and assume that animals do feel something. Because if animals feel even 10% of the fear and pain we do, then it certainly raises some pressing ethical questions with how we currently treat them.
Whether it be in factory farms, laboratories, or circuses, animals are routinely separated from their families, abused, and slaughtered without a second thought. And I don't know about you, but I think it's beyond ridiculous to hear modern day thinkers, not much different than that old douche bag Descartes, tell us that it's OK because animals don't feel. Bullshit.
Most of us have lived with animals at one point or another in our lives (dogs and cats mostly). Think about how you treated them. Think about when you noticed them afraid, or lonely, or in pain. Think about how that animal would behave if someone were torturing them. How would you react if some asshole tried to tell you that your animal's suffering in that moment wasn't real, but just a projection? Bitch, please.
I believe that animals are much more like us than they are not like us. They have a brain, a central nervous system, heart, lungs, skin, eyes, etc. We evolved together for shit sake. It's always fascinated me that scientists will say that animals are so much like us that we should use them in laboratory tests, but so much not like us that we needn't concern ourselves with their suffering. How's that for convenient hypocrisy?
So, the next time someone accuses of you of anthropomorphizing, tell them to eat shit. I'm kidding! Instead, kindly explain to them that, even if you are anthropomorphizing, no one will ever know for sure. It's better to be safe than sadistic. And it takes a much stronger person to trust their instincts and act out of compassion than it does to lie to oneself as a means to excuse away abuse or simply profit from it.