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You can't really "help people" to have empathy toward animals, since none of us has an idea how it feels like to be one in the first place. We do feel empathy for them for what is the same between us, like physical pain. This is why you only see animals getting butchered in shock documentaries, as it is used to exploit your empathy. The main reason people are disgusted is because they imagine the pain that the animal is going through, however it is very hard for them to imagine what is actually going on in the animal's head. It's hard to make people follow you if you can't tell them "The proud and patriotic mother pig had her children stolen by the evil corporation. 'Oh my God! Help me mommy! They will kill me and then they will eat me!'" when the same phrases are used by influential groups to make you hate another group of people, because you can easily feel what the stolen children and the mother feel like in those moments. We can only promote respect on the assumption that animals may also feel like us, but we can't intrinsically feel empathy as much as we can for fellow humans.
This is a good question, since humans are, in essence, no different from animals themselves. Narcissism aside, the human being has a higher degree of intelligence perhaps, but it does not give them the moral right to treat animals as they do. Domestication, for example, is literally treated as livestock and property, even when it is quite apparent that humans have no right to these animals. But human ego is certain of its own superiority, which is sad but true. As for your question, my answer is the obvious one: Reason. If we are to persuade anyone into understanding, naturally logic and reason lies at the heart of the solution. Though admittedly, not all people will "get it." But consider this analogy, when reasoning with people about animal rights, if hyper intelligent martians were to invade Earth and enslave humanity, what moral defense will humans have, given the way they treat animals? It is because that nature is amoral, that humans have the moral responsibility to limit its law of "survival of the fittest."
I like your question and I applaud your concern. I have long pondered this need for action and have come to this conclusion. Empathy is experienced by the vast majority of not only humans but some mammals as well. It has been scientifically determined that chimpanzee feel empathy through mirror neurons research. Mirror neurons are in the brain and essentially recognize the problems of others and mirror their plight. We then experience the frustrations of others as if they were our own and perhaps indeed they are. So there is scientific and psychological research that substantiates this long known trait that exists in most of us excepting sociopath and psychopathic individuals. If you concur and I hope you do, we can determine that feeling empathy is not the problem. Having made this not so difficult determination subsequently one may move on to the next logical step and realize that we are animals that can care. Having made this distinction from the so called lower species that can’t feel empathy we can love them. In mammals love resides in the limbic system and has evolved to help us experience empathy. I respectfully submit that the problem with empathy, compassion and even love is that although they have evolved to be present in the brain and in a romantic way the heart they are just feelings. Unless we act on them using the other processes of our most brilliant brain and take some form of physical action, empathy, compassion, and love, are but worthless emotional traits. To feel these highly evolved emotions and not act is to negate their value, they then become worthless. For only when we reach out to another, lest it be human, animal or earthly concerns will empathy be of use. By not responding to these feelings of concern we are essentially reigning down death upon the world. For we have the stench and power of destruction and are at this moment utilizing it. And while we have the solution and although we feel empathy and love they are the most magnificent tools left idle by negligent workmen.
by Thai sean