Netflix’s explosive new documentary My Octopus Teacher chronicles a complex relationship between a man and the world’s most bizarre animal – an octopus. It further testifies to our highly conflicted relationship with non-human animals and the natural world.
Most of us treasure our “pets” – dogs, cats, horses. Our allegiance to them transcends that to our own species. If our dog and a Congolese child were competing for scarce funds for life-saving surgery, we know who would live.
Yet, we torment, kill, and consume other animals that are similar in appearance, intelligence, and ability to suffer. Then, we bristle at East Asians who do the same to animals we consider pets.
We pride ourselves on being intelligent, rational beings. We have gone to the Moon, unravelled and modified genetic codes, and found cures for deadly diseases. Yet we still have not figured out our relationship with non-human animals and the natural world.
Some of us have. Vegans profess compassion and respect for all sentient beings. Veganism requires no special courses or certifications. Every one of us can become one on our next trip to our supermarket.