Humans, non-humans, and respect

Nothing beats a horse kiss!

Check out my guest post at Humane Connection, the blog of the Institute of Humane Education:

It is so difficult to manage the messages our children receive when it comes to attitudes about non-human animals.  There are animals who are eaten and those whom we would never eat.  There are those who live in our homes, and those we go to great lengths to keep out.  There are those who are companions, and those who have jobs, and those we prefer not to interact with at all.  There are those who live in zoos, and those who live on farms, and those who live in the wild.  There are those who are hunted, and those who are protected.  It’s all so arbitrary, really.  I want my daughter to respect non-human life, but is that end best served by indulging her love of horses despite my misgivings?  Is it served by visiting zoos so that she can experience the magnificent creatures who live there and having frank conversation about the value of freedom and happiness to those animals?  Is it served by taking a hard line?  Or is it best served by sharing these questions with my daughter and examining the shades of grey?

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