Working towards a more compassionate world through education and advocacy

Increasing our Compassionate Footprint

September 2015

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By Louise van der Merwe

Shipping animals to slaughter is a roaring trade across the world...

We are deluded if we think this trade is anything but SLAVERY on a scale the world has never seen before. 

In June 2015, the Sunday Times reported the discovery of a wreck of a slave ship in the sea below Lion’s Head,

Cape Town. On behlaf of Animal Voice, we wrote this letter-to-the-editor in response to the article.

It was not published. 



Dear Editor -

In your story mention is made that the shame that we feel about the slave trade is so abhorrent to our sense of who we are as humans, that there is “global selective amnesia about slavery.” (Sunday Times, June 7 2015, Page 7: How Clifton’s grave of slaves was finally found). 


But slavery is not the ghost of something past.  Slavery flourishes today as never before, feeding our insatiable appetite for dominance of us over them, feeding our toxic arrogance and enabling the scourge of a mentality of superiority to flourish as  much today as in 1794 when the Sao Jose-Paquete de Africa sank along with its cargo of shackled humans to the sea bed below Lion’s Head. 


The only difference today is that we have transferred our concept of  ‘less than’, from the indigenous inhabitants of Africa,

to beings who share with us the breath of life and so much more besides, but who manifest in a different shape or form to us. Just as once we got away with unmercifully shackling ‘slaves’ to do our bidding, we now  shackle non-humans with our unforgiveable arrogance, ignorance and ability to blind ourselves to the hideous truth about the enormity of the suffering we inflict on them. Animals by their billions are the enslaved ‘them’ of today. 


And still we continue to wonder, in our blind stupidity, why our society is so violent! We continue to ignore the fundamental truth that how we treat those who are absolutely at our mercy, is exactly who and what we are. 

Losing our prejudice against those who are shaped differently to us and replacing it with a profound sense of respect and reverence is a threshold we still have to cross. For the sake of our children and all non-humans, it cannot come too soon. 

Evolution of the human mind  - Peter Singer, philosopher and professor of bioethics 


"In an earlier stage of our development most human groups held to a tribal ethic. Members of the tribe were protected, but people of other tribes could be robbed or killed as one pleased. Gradually the circle of protection expanded, but as recently as 150 years ago we did not include blacks. So African human beings could be captured, shipped to America, and sold. In Australia white settlers regarded Aborigines as a pest and hunted them down, much as kangaroos are hunted down today. Just as we have progressed beyond the blatantly racist ethic of the era of slavery and colonialism, so we must now progress beyond the speciesist ethic of the era of factory farming, of the use of animals as mere research tools, of whaling, seal hunting, kangaroo slaughter, and the destruction of wilderness. We must take the final step in expanding the circle of ethics."



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