Humans are beginning to grasp the truth
“It is not only their fellow human beings that the beloved of God must treat with mercy and compassion, rather must they show forth the utmost loving-kindness to every living creature. For in all physical respects, and where the animal spirit is concerned, the selfsame feelings are shared by animal and man.
Jonathan Balcombe, author of many books on animal behavior and emotion, including the forthcoming What a Fish Knows: The Inner Lives of Our Underwater Cousins, had this to say:
“This touching video shows virtuous behavior in two distantly related vertebrates. A porcupinefish bravely keeps vigil for his entrapped comrade, while a kindhearted snorkeler gingerly negotiates the situation with an improvised cutting implement — the bottom of a broken bottle.
“A skeptic might think the bystander fish is just curious, but if that were the case, the fish would have fled the scene when the large ape approached. Like many fishes, pufferfishes (of which the porcupinefish is a member) can live a decade or more and can form lasting bonds with others of their kind or with human caregivers.”
“Man hath not grasped this truth, however, and he believeth that physical sensations are confined to human beings, wherefore is he unjust to the animals, and cruel. And yet in truth, what difference is there when it cometh to physical sensations? The feelings are one and the same, whether ye inflict pain on man or on beast. There is no difference here whatever. And indeed ye do worse to harm an animal, for man hath a language, he can lodge a complaint, he can cry out and moan; if injured he can have recourse to the authorities and these will protect him from his aggressor. But the hapless beast is mute, able neither to express its hurt nor take its case to the authorities … Therefore it is essential that ye show forth the utmost consideration to the animal, and that ye be even kinder to him than to your fellow man. Train your children from their earliest days to be infinitely tender and loving to animals. If an animal be sick, let them try to heal it, if it be hungry, let them feed it, if thirsty, let them quench its thirst, if weary, let them see that it rests.”
Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, The Baha’i World Faith