Letter: Animals deserve as much respect as humans

Editor: I enjoyed reading David Clements column on how to live with wildlife.

Each species has as much right to live on planet Earth as humans do. It all comes down to respect for other species. Their lives matter to them, and we should do our best to at least co-exist with, if not embrace, wildlife.

In response to Clements’ column, Larri Woodrow brought up a very good point regarding the devastating destruction domestic cats impart on song birds. Cats kill 200 million birds per year in Canada. A 2013 study by Environment Canada lists cats as the number one killer of birds.

Apparently, B.C. in particular, has a high proportion of species at risk. As a result of this study, some municipalities in Canada have enacted bylaws that require owners to keep their pets indoors. Perhaps TOL and City of Langley would consider such a bylaw and require the licensing of cat ownership. After all, why must we license dogs, require poop pick-up and leash dogs when outdoors, yet allow cats to roam free, destroying wildlife and leaving poop around neighbourhoods? True, there may be feral populations that cannot be retrained, but many domestic cats who live indoors now or to be adopted in the future should be required to stay indoors or leashed when outside.

It is encouraging to see perspectives that encourage us to respect animals other than humans. Perhaps we could extend this sentiment to revolutionize our thoughts on hunting, fishing, and eating animals who have been arbitrarily labelled as “food” for humans. After all, we are in the 21st century, and we need to change our relationship with the rest of the animals on this planet they also call home. All animals, including humans, have a right to live their own lives.

As Alice Walker, author of the novel The Color Purple wrote, “The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than blacks were made for whites, or women for men.”

Dr. Patricia Tallman,

Willoughby

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