I got to thinking about this after reading a news story about a park ranger who got suspended without pay for refusing to kill two bear cubs. The reporter used the word "destroyed" when mentioning the mother bear. Such language diminishes the gravity of what happened to this bear. She had gotten in the habit of raiding a freezer full of salmon, so she was murdered. Plain and simple. Afterward, the media reduced her to an it that was "destroyed". You destroy buildings, you destroy works of art. These are things. Destroy is a word better suited to inanimate objects. The bear was not inanimate at the time of her murder. So, I bit the bullet and took the plunge into Change.org. Here's what I wrote, along with the video I added. Click the bear pic to go sign my petition, if you feel the call to do so.
Language matters. Language is how we exchange information and share common experiences. It helps to form our worldview and even how we see ourselves. It is also used as a tool of propaganda to sway the opinions of millions, a perfect example of which is its use by the Nazis, which resulted in the agony and death of countless millions more, either in the Holocaust or many battles of World War II. The language our officials and media outlets use when referring to non-human animal deaths at human hands is done so to keep us ignorant of, or complacent regarding the methods used to increase profits for industries dependent on such practice. Words like "destroy", "put to sleep", and "process" are examples of this. We are more comfortable with these words, because it paints over human complacency and disregard of other life on Earth. As long as we remain comfortable, however, the more lives will be lost. The media and government need to stop propagating such language when talking about our fellow Earthlings. The three aforementioned terms should be replaced with more accurate expressions of human/non-human lethal interaction, such as "murder" or "mass murder" instead of "destroy" or "population control", "euthanized" or "executed" instead of "put to sleep," (dependent on if the animal were ill and near death, or an inmate in a pound that engages in supposedly unwanted animal executions), and "slaughter" instead of "process." In just one generation, such changes would produce more empathy in humanity, not just for non-humans, but toward one another and toward the planet we all call home, as well. The sanitization of our language has blinded us to how brutal nature is and, indeed, how much more vicious we ourselves can be to everyone around us. Because of the shift of opinion based upon the language we use, we would take a longer time to decide to wage war or not be so complicit in the Prison Industry. By simply replacing a few little words with more accurate and honest ones, we could put ourselves on the road to a better and more sustainable way of life for all Earthlings.
So there you have it. If enough people sign the petition, hopefully it will bring the suffering we inflict on others to fore, and eventually make life on Earth better for everyone.