My philosophy of why animals exist most closely resembles the phrase "fish are friends, not food" from Finding Nemo. I think animals should be more regarded as friends and less as food. In times of starvation or lack of food, animals are a good source of nutrients for us. However, in the modern day and age, it is not necessary for us to eat animals to get the proper nutrients we need. We have vegetables and fruits readily available for us year round. It is no longer a necessity for us to consume animals because we can get all the protein, iron, etc. we need from vegetables and other food sources.
Animals are a good back-up food source for when things go wrong, but instead of focusing on them as food, we should focus on what we can learn from them. I believe that God put animals on the earth not just for food, but primarily for friends and learning opportunities. Let's examine what we can learn from a couple of animals.
The dog is always loyal and overwhelmingly loving. Every time you come home, your dog will treat you likehe/she hasn't seen you in a thousand years. Some dogs will guard your home because they don't want anything bad to happen to you. A dog will sit by your side just because it likes to be with you. A dog is endlessly forgiving. If you do something to hurt your dog, like forget to feed it or accidentally step on its paw, the dog will forget about it within half an hour and go back to adoring you. Don't you think that if we were as loyal, loving, and forgiving as dogs, the world would be a better place?
The dolphin is always playful. Dolphins leap out of the water, do flips, play chase with each other, and makenecklaces out of seaweed. Dolphins always make time to play. In our crazy world, many people forget to play and have fun. If we all allowed ourselves to have playtime like dolphins do, we would achieve more balance in our lives.
The bird makes beautiful music and is always happy to be alive. Can you imagine a life without hearing a birdsing? The outdoors would seem very empty without the melody of birds. A bird will always sing and doesn't care who hears it. Birds wake up each morning and the first thing they do is sing. There are many days when we, as humans, wake up and throw our alarm clock across the room. Then, we snap at anybody who tries to say something to us. What if we woke up each morning happy to be alive, just like the birds?
Cats have unique personalities and are independent. Cats like to take care of themselves and do what theywant, but they always make time for affection. Many humans do not find the balance between independence and affection. We need to figure out how to make our own decisions and take care of ourselves, but also show and receive love.
Every animals deserves to live as much as we do. You know how I know that? Because we are all alive. Thenotion that we should be able to kill animals because they are less intelligent that us is a shame. That would be like saying that we should be able to kill humans who are less intelligent. Many animals are actually more intelligent than we might think. For example, elephants can recognize their own reflection in a mirror. Dolphins have a complex way of communicating with each other. They even have names that they call each other. And in Star Trek: The Voyage Home, extraterrestrials communicate with whales. Maybe that thought isn't as weird as we'd like to think? :P
I know that not everybody believes in the story of Adam and Eve, but I think we can all agree that there is alot that we can learn from it. In the Garden of Eden, animals and humans lived in perfect harmony. The reason this was possible was because the animals didn't have to fear being killed or harmed by humans. We will never be able to achieve the harmony and beauty of the Garden of Eden as long as animals fear us.