This means acknowledging our kinship with the rest of the biosphere. If
we do not feel perfectly at home here, that may after all have something to
do with the way in which we have treated the place. Any home can be made uninhabitable.
Our culture has too often talked in terms of conquering nature. This is about
as sensible as for a caddis worm to think of conquering the pond that supports
it, or a drunk to start fighting the bed he is lying on. Our dignity arises
within nature, not against it.
- Beast and Man
People in general have perhaps thought of animal welfare as they have thought
of drains - as a worthy but not particularly interesting subject. In the last
few decades, however, their imagination has been struck, somewhat suddenly,
by a flood of new and fascinating information about animals. Some dim conception
of splendours and miseries hitherto undreamt of, of the vast range of sentient
life, of the richness and complexity found in even the simplest creatures, has
started to penetrate even to the least imaginative. For the first time in civilized
history, people who were interested in animals because they wanted to understand
them, rather than just to eat or yoke or shoot or stuff them, have been able
to advance that understanding by scientific means, and to convey some of it
to the inquisitive public. Animals have to some extent come off the page. With
the bizarre assistance of TV, Darwin is at last getting through. Town-dwellers
are beginning to notice the biosphere.
- Animals and Why They Matter
... the colossal confidence which many eighteenth and nineteenth century intellectuals used to feel in the absoluteness of human dominion. To their minds, human dignity justified and depended on a total separation of man from all the rest of creation. That's why they got such a shock when the Origin of Species came out. Someone who has buttressed his sense of his own dignity by allowing no dignity at all to anybody else, naturally feels any suggestion of a relationship with those others as intolerably degrading. The separatist Position.
- Third Opinion, Radio Three 26 June 1981