The Moral Imperative of Compassion (A personal statement)

“There is no research more valuable than our own integrity and ethical coherence, and our treatment of animals is a direct reflection of our values toward life and one another”

– John P Gluck, PhD, Emeritus Professor of Psychology, University of New Mexico

Over the past four and a half years, since Lisa and I purchased lot 112, I have spent much time (more time than I would like to admit!) in reading and thinking about the legal, scientific, and moral issues relating to the eradication of deer on Sidney Island.

Although I profoundly disagree with the decision of the CRT relating to the voting threshold issue under Section 71 of the Strata Property Act, to continue further litigation through a judicial review is not in the interests of the Sidney Island community.

Regarding ethical matters, I am even more convinced now that the key criterion for making the eradication decision is not the law or science but rather the moral imperative of compassion owed to sentient animals. Great philosophers and scientists such as Martin Luther King, Charles Darwin, Jane Goodall, David Attenborough, Albert Einstein, John P Gluck, Bertrand Russell, Arthur Schopenhauer, Peter Singer, the Dalai Lama, and The Cambridge Declaration of Consciousness to name a few have described this imperative in many ways and more eloquently than I ever could.
Here are some examples:

Albert Einstein:
“The indifference, callousness and contempt that so many people exhibit toward animals is evil, first because it results in great suffering in animals, and second because it results in an incalculably great impoverishment of the human spirit”
“If a man aspires toward a righteous life, his first act of abstinence is from injury to animals”

Martin Luther King:
“Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Societies punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our own soul when we look the other way.”

Charles Darwin:
“Besides love and sympathy, animals exhibit other qualities connected to the social instincts which in us would be called moral”
“Anger, happiness, sadness, disgust, fear and surprise are core emotions unique among all animals.”

David Attenborough:
“Step back and remember we have no greater right to be here than any other animal”

Jane Goodall:
“To me cruelty is the worst of human sins. Once we accept that a living creature has feelings and suffer pain, then by knowingly and deliberately inflicting suffering on that creature, we are guilty, whether it be human or animal”

“We are beginning to learn that each animal has a life and a place and a role in this world. If we place compassion and care in the middle of our dealings with the animal world and honor and respect their lives, our attitudes will change”

“An Animals eyes have the power to speak a great language”

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860, German Philosopher):
“The assumption that animals are without rights and the illusion that our treatment of them has no moral significance, is a positively outrageous example of Western crudity and barbarity. Universal compassion is the only guarantee of morality”

Dalai Lama:
“Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures”

Bertrand Russell:
“There is no impersonal reason for regarding interests of human beings as more important than those of animals. We can destroy animals more easily than they can destroy us; that is the only solid basis of our claim to superiority.”

The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness:
“The weight of evidence indicates that humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness. Non-human animals, including all mammals and birds, and many other creatures including octopuses, also possess these neurological substrates.”

The Position of Parks Canada and the Ecological Stewardship Committee. (ESC)
Parks Canada and the ESC argue that eradication meets their ethical tests because the animals will be killed “humanely” and because fallow deer are “invasive”. This is not compassion. “Humane Killing” of healthy animals for purposes other than sustenance is a horrendous oxymoron. It is a rationale devised by people who cannot face the truth. Let’s remember what “humane” means in Parks Canada’s world. It means hunting with dogs and helicopters. “Invasiveness” is both a pejorative and discriminatory term. It is a red herring devised to hide the lack of compassion. Furthermore, it is not an appropriate term to use for animals that have been on the Island for 120 years and are only there because humans transposed them.

No, I’m not going with Parks Canada or the ESC amongst others.

I will take my advice from the Dalai Lama, from Albert Einstein, and from Jane Goodall. The inconvenient truth is that ending the gene pool of deer on Sidney Island meets the definition of animal genocide. Not in my name!

“There is but one thing of real value—to cultivate truth and justice, and to live without anger in the midst of lying and unjust men” – Marcus Aurelius.

“Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it.” – Leo Tolstoy

— Robin Bassett