Anne Manne, in Motherhood, How should we care for our children? points out that children are small, weak and powerless. Just like animals. What is justice as it applies to any living thing that is smaller and weaker than ourselves?
…it is worth reflecting on [the Victorian] era’s pervasive attitudes to life. Children were thought of as resilient, shallow creatures only a little above animals in the great chain of being, incapable of deep feeling, which meant they could settle happily with anyone as long as they were kind. Such myths served the interests of an adult centred world. (Pg 132 Motherhood)
She describes the ‘good old days’ when kids were farmed out to wet nurses, raised by nannies and sent off to boarding school. She reminds us that authors like Roald Dahl, or Charles Dickens or George Orwell have no trouble slipping inside the skin of a child because their own childhood experiences were so horrific.
Society’s attitude to children has changed.
There’s exciting news that the ACT will ban factory farming: battery hens, debeaking and sow stalls. Woolworths will phase out eggs from battery hens. Animals Australia helped rescue 150 dogs from a puppy factory.
Perhaps we don’t just see animals as products any more?