<Edit by Moonbear: WARNING: The following post graphically describes abuse to animals; if you are sensitive to such content, you may not want to read further. It is being left in the post as it is too relevant to the discussion topic to remove.> I took some time to write this post because I really am not sure how to approach this. First of all, a caveat, because I see what I'm stepping into: I don't want to be accused of racism. My criticisms herein are directed strictly at specific cultures, not races. I've been accused of racism before in my life for criticizing cultures, so let's get one thing straight: when you agree to identify yourself with a culture, you are making a conscious decision to act a certain way; you tacitly approve of specific actions and views— and so, your decision should be open to scrutiny. Playing the race card is cheap and counterproductive. Ok, the reason I am posting this is as a result of a video someone posted a link to yesterday (the post has since been erased). I will NOT post a link to the video. The video was taken from an anti-fur documentary, and, as is the nature of such videos, depicted the horrors of the practice it denounced: without going into too much detail: The video was of a fur-merchant in China. It starts with this man taking a raccoon and hitting it repeatedly with a bat, he then hangs it by its paws and skins it, forcefully pulling its fur from its body. Then he throws the raccoon away, and moves on to a fox. He cuts the tendons of the fox's paws and skins it as well, and finishes by standing on the fox's head and slamming it repeatedly with his foot. Both the fox and the raccoon are alive throughout the entirety of this, until the very end of the video. At no point are either killed (yes, they are left kicking and yelping). I want to stress the fact that I'm being as least descriptive as I possibly can in order to give the gist of what was happening, and that I will not go into detail on the barbarities that were committed to these animals. I'm not an easily impressionable person, but when this video was over, I was beyond physically ill. I realized I had been pretty much paralyzed and in a state of shock, I had tunnel vision, erratic breathing... for the rest of the day I felt numb, and a few hour later I'll admit I cried... something I don't remember doing since I was a kid. I've seen gore, violence, blood, etc. etc. before. Both in video and in person. What shocked me was not the gore factor... I don't cry every time I watch a nature special on the Discovery Channel .— What shocked me was the sadism. I don't remember ever having been filled with a feeling of such pure sadness as after seeing that video. Sadness for those and other such poor creatures and knowing that there is absolutely nothing I can do to stop it at that moment — I can't reach into the screen and stop it or at least kill it —, and also sadness for the implications of this video on human nature. It was this realization that was the source of the sadness, not the video itself. 1) OK. So, first of all (and here is where it's gonna get uncomfortable). Why is it that EVERY TIME I see such videos of sadism towards animals (this is not just slaughtering or mistreating; it is taking pleasure in inflicting as much pain as possible upon a weaker being, just for... what, the sake of watching it squirm?), why is it that they always come from oriental sources?— I have seen many such videos: restaurants where they serve live fried fish and other sea animals (these are popular family restaurants where the "fun" consists of frying the lower body of a fish and serving it while the poor thing is still breathing), dogs bred for meat being tortured before they are slaughtered, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. What is it about oriental culture? I know what you'll say: animals suffer in western slaughter houses too. Yes. True (I've even made a thread about that too), but the difference here is that slaughterers don't actively seek to inflict as much pain as possible on the animals (in fact, there is a movement towards the opposite); nobody is skinning cows and leaving them to squirm on the ground for hours for the fun of it (and if they do, as in the case of the kids who put a cat in a microwave here in Canada a few weeks ago, they are considered mentally unstable). I hope there is someone here who can answer me this from personal experience. 2) Second: is this just part of human nature? Is this just something we all have in us, and it just happens that their culture hasn't repressed it as well as we have. This is what saddens me the most, that I fear it is. I fear the we all, deep inside, know the real answer to the old question "are people basically bad, or basically good." I've always made the effort to be a good person: be kind to others, help those in need, etc. — the key word being effort. Why does it have to be an effort? Shouldn't this come naturally? Shouldn't doing the wrong thing feel like the effort? What I meant: doing the right thing, in most cases, consists of rejecting the urge to do the wrong thing. But what is an urge, if not an expression of one's true self? Are we so rotten? It took us hundreds of thousands of years on this earth for a small percentage of us (as politically incorrect as it is: yes, the CIVILIZED world) to come up with a proper set of ethics and moral laws; is that how long it will take us to learn how to actually exercise them? Will we ever? I'm sorry for my rambling; I don't expect most (or any) of you to read it. It's just that seeing that video has filled me with these strong emotions and I don't know what else to do with them. Why is it that it was seeing an animal being treated this way, and not the images of human-to-human cruelty with which we are bombarded on a daily basis, that brought out these feelings? Why is it that I feel so strongly for animal cruelty?— I think that you measure a man's worth by how he treats those who are weaker than him, not those of equal or greater strength. This type of thing just make me wonder: is this what we're worth?