Jeremy Rifkin’s article “A Change of Heart about Animals” argues for treating animals the same way we treat humans, stating that animals are more similar to us than we previously thought. While Rifkin exhibits expertise in economic trends in Washington DC, there is limited evidence supporting his knowledge in animal emotions and cognitive abilities.
I find Rifkin’s argument lacking in compelling evidence and relying too heavily on unrelated research and personal stories. I fail to see how the story of “Betty” and “Abel”, the tool-making crows, is relevant to my view on animals. Although I do support treating animals with kindness and considering their well-being, we must also acknowledge that animals play a vital role as a food source for people worldwide. Additionally, using animals in scientific research has led to important progress in treating various illnesses.
Rifkin strives to evoke emotional responses by giving names to the animals and making them more personal. Additionally, he employs powerful visuals, like the elephant example, which paints a vivid image in our minds and elicits feelings of sadness or empathy.
Rifkin argues that the essence of human experience lies in expanding empathy to encompass a wider range of individuals. However, I believe that while Rifkin may have had noble intentions in urging us to consider the emotional well-being of animals used for food and scientific research, I think our efforts would be better directed towards improving the lives and welfare of humans. Personally, Rifkin’s argument did not persuade me to have a different outlook on animals.