3.31.2010

Animal cruelty.

It is always strange to me when I hear non-vegetarians get worked up about animal cruelty. Usually this takes the form of being upset about someone abusing a pet.

It is almost like if you heard Hitler being outraged about someone punching a Jew. ( if this analogy seems over the top, if anything I think it is too retrained, because at least Hitler killed Jews with what he saw as serving a higher cause, rather than just for food. Food he did not need.) (I know what you are thinking, anytime you use make a comparison to Hitler it automatically invalidates the argument, but what is different here is that I'm not saying eating animals is the moral equivalent of committing a holocaust or being Hitler, I am simply making an analogy. Being outraged at animal abuse while you financially support an ongoing animal holocaust is a similar sort of moral inconsistency as my above analogy)

If someone were to treat their pet cat or dog the way our meat industry treats the animals it raises for food, they could be put in jail.

It is also curious when people cite animals eating other animals as validation for their meat eating. Not only do other animals not raise their prey under deplorable conditions from birth, but do we really want to look to the behavior of wild animals as a source for moral guidance?

One time my grandfather, in response to my telling him I was a vegetarian, asked me how I felt about wild animals eating other wild animals. What I did not think of at that moment, but that I wish I had, is that I feel the same way about it as i feel about rabbits who eat every 3rd or 4th poo (or however it works. Did you know that rabbits occasionally poo out a certain sort of poo that they then eat?)
The point being, it may be necessary for those animals, but not for me.

I'm not sure why I suddenly felt urged to write about this. I have been a vegetarian off and on since I was about 14, and been one consistently since I was about 21. I don't talk about it often because I hardly think about it. I guess sort of like how not eating cats might be to a normal meat eater. They don't think of themselves as someone who doesn't eat cats because to not eat cats feels like the default.
Anyway, I'm not sure why I thought to write this. Oh that is right, I heard someone who eats meat be upset about animal cruelty. I also had a conversation about the holocaust. Guess those two separate things melded in my mind. Ie. mind meld.

To summarize my point: If you think it is wrong to treat pets poorly yet you eat meat, you will have a very hard time convincing me you are not a hypocrite.

12 comments:

max everything said...

Gary Francione has written about this same idea. You might find it interesting.

L'homme pressé said...

reducto ad hitlerum - but, I happen to agree with your points.

Kyle said...

or how about the comparison of a mormon who claims to observe the word of wisdom while they sit behind a 20oz porterhouse? I recently listened to a talk on the Sunstone Magazine website regarding the lds church's ranch in Utah on which they sell guided hunts (which I found shocking) and the speaker shared a quote along the lines of "take not the life you cannot give for everything has the right to live" not exact, but close and it really hit me how hypocritical many (including myself) are when it comes to "respecting" animal life....I liked this post as it was something on my mind as of late...cheers.

Mz.Many Names said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mz.Many Names said...

From an animal lover and calling myself an "Animal Welfare Extremist," I am also a long time meat eater struggling daily with the habit, though I find the more factory farm cruelty videos I watch the less I am desiring it)So I guess maybe wising up and quiting meat is a gradual (learning) process, sort of like an evolution and that all takes time. Meanwhile, we can still advocate for humane treatment of the animals (ALL animals) even our "food-chain" animals. We should take a lesson from the Native Americans who revered the animals so much (like a brother) that they thanked the animal for sacrificing its life for him, and said a prayer to the Great Spirit for it also. I AM NOT saying it is ok or a need this day and age to eat animals, ...but I am saying, until the day that ALL HUMAN KIND or at least the majority of us,...can break away from our meat eating habits, the least we can do in the meantime is work to IMPROVE the lives of those animals that are still being raised for food.
Personally, I would NEVER eat meat if I had to kill an animal myself. I am SURE that if they quit producing it,...I would quit eating it and "move on" in my evolution. I would LOVE to see that day. Meanwhile, I struggle with my addiction and AM making progress on that.
Never forget that we are creatures of habit and old habits are hard to break,...regardless of what they are. More on my philosophy can be found in the link below;
http://www.freewebs.com/ourphilosophy.htm

Chris Almond said...

L'homme, I get what you are saying, any argument is invalidated when you compare it to hitler, but I think what made my point different is that I wasn't saying it was ethically comparible to hitler, just using hitler as an analogy.

Chris Almond said...

Kyle. Aren't those church ranches crazy? I was very surprised and disturbed when I found out about it. The deseret news ran a surprisingly good article about them in 2000. Anyway, thank you for your comment, that is an excellent quote I had not heard before. If you like sunstone magazine stuff, I think you would like this podcast (unless you have already heard it, then disregard this suggestion) http://mormonstories.org/

Chris Almond said...

Hi max. Thank you for sharing the link. I haven't clicked on it yet, but I will soon, and I am expecting to enjoy it.

Chris Almond said...

Hello mz many names. Thank you for your comment. I find the thought you expressed interesting about how you wouldn't eat meat if you had to kill the animal personally. I remember my brother once said the same thing and I was surprised. I feel like I WOULD be willing to eat meat if I were the one killing the animal. I feel that were I to be the one doing the killing i would know the animal was being treated in a way I am okay with. And feeling that personal connection to the death I feel would make me take it more seriously and be more respectful of the life I am taking along the lines of the native american principals you mentioned.

liz canaan roberts said...

Hitler was a lover of animals. and (mostly) a vegetarian.

Chris Almond said...

Liz, it is true, I even wrote about it. http://chrisalmond.blogspot.com/2008/06/spring-time-for-hitler.html

And just to be totally clear to everyone, I was only using Hitler as an analogy. Not a moral comparison.

Fish Nat!on said...

I don't think there will ever be a day when I will completely abandon meat. I am, however, severely cutting down on my consumption. I have been trying to incorporate mostly non meat items, and mostly vegetables into my diet. I am avoiding animals mostly for health reasons, but I would like to see big changes in the industry. I am pretty certain there will never come a time when I wont grill a steak in the summer time, but I'd like the meat that I do consume to come from more responsible sources, rather than antibiotic animal farms. I think once I have a family of my own, I will probably purchase 1/2 cows from local farmers, which I think is much more ethical than the way meat is produced in massive quantities.