True human goodness can manifest itself, in all its purity and liberty, only in regard to those who have no power. The true moral test of humanity (the most radical, situated on a level so profound it escapes our notice) lies in its relation to those who are at its mercy: the animals. And it is in that that exists the fundamental failing of man, so fundamental that all others follow from it. (Translation from Kundera 1983)
Contrary to popular belief, ANIMALS DO NOT BELONG TO US! They are not property, they are not commodities, and they are not inanimate, stupid objects that do not think or feel.
Humans have victimised animals to such a degree that they aren’t even considered victims. We’ve actually turned animals into inanimate objects – sandwiches and shoes!
If we all understand that animals can use their eyes to see, ears to hear, noses to smell, mouths to eat, legs to walk, wings to fly, fins to swim, genitalia to procreate, bowels to defecate, it always amazes me that most people don’t believe that they can also use their brains to think, feel, be rational and be aware. Am I supposed to believe every body part on an animal works exactly how it’s supposed to… except the brain?
Is slavery exclusive to the human race? Have sheep, pigs, cows and chickens not fallen victim to slavery?
Discrimination is everywhere, through racism, sexism, heterosexism and religious beliefs; however the most common and MOST ACCEPTED form of discrimination in this day and age is specism.
Specism – "The unethical, unprincipled point of view that the human species has every right to exploit, enslave and murder another species, all because we believe that our species is so much more special, and much better than all others. We are the only ones that count and we are the only ones that matter. That line of thinking is the basis of all forms of discrimination." Gary Yourofsky, Animal Activist.
Being human is a biological property, and biological properties are generally not morally relevant ones. For example, the idea that being male; or being white gives you extra moral entitlements is not very popular these days.
It is never ok to be picking and choosing which forms of discrimination to be opposed to: which ones to call evil; and which ones to say are acceptable. Discrimination is either evil on its foundation or it’s not.
Animals will suffer and die from the very fact that we share this planet with them. We build homes through their habitat and pollute our common environment. Is there a reason why we have to maximise the suffering, cruelty and death that they already endure by eating them on top of it all? 98% of animals, who are abused and killed on this planet, are abused and killed by the meat, dairy and egg industries.
Whenever we sacrifice the vital interests of animals to promote our own non-vital counterparts, we are doing something morally wrong. We are treating a living creature without morals. The case against eating animals shows that the most vital interests of animals are routinely violated in the process of raising and killing them for food, and also shows that there are no similarly vital interests for humans that might be promoted by eating meat.
Quote from a pig farmer – “When it’s born, I’ll give it a battery of injections, clip its teeth (i.e. cut them down to gum level), notch its ears for identification, and cut its testicles and tail off (without anaesthetic – that would cost me money). Then I shall move it for ‘finishing’ to a large building, divided into pens. It will share this building with several thousand other pigs until it is slaughtered. To prevent the build-up of a mountain of excrement, a raised, slatted floor – somewhat like a cattle grid – has been installed. This is uncomfortable (the point of cattle grids is that animals don’t want to walk on them), and would eventually lead to deformity if the pig lives long enough. But, don’t worry, it won’t.”
The most common response I hear to this is – “well that’s why I only eat free-range, family farmed animals.” I agree that the lives of these animals may be happier and healthier, and morally speaking, better. However, there is still a small issue - DEATH! Yes, all slaughter houses are different; some undoubtedly worse than others, but there is no such thing as a humane, free-range, family slaughterhouse, where animals happily walk to their own murder. To worry about the way of their death makes us overlook something far more important – they die! Remaining alive is a vital interest of animals, just as it is for humans. It is absurd to consider, (just because of the quality of an animal’s life), that by raising and killing them for food, that we are not sacrificing their most vital interests, and therefore doing something morally wrong.
Every second on American highways, there are no less that 5,000 overfilled trucks inside of which are living, terrified, innocent beings being driven to slaughter houses. When the trucks arrive, the animals are so frightened that they won’t even get off the trucks. They are not stupid, they know what’s next. So people go in with electric prods and force them to walk down the steps to their own death. Inside, these innocent living beings are hanged upside down, fully conscious. They go in alive against their will and come out chopped into pieces.
How would you feel if the day that you were born, somebody else had already planned your execution?
This behaviour is inexcusable of a species that claims to understand right from wrong. These animals have not done one single thing to us to deserve the cruelty we cause to them.
Root cause of world hunger = meat eating societies.
65% of the world’s grains are set aside every year to feed 53 billion land animals that are killed every year on this planet, and 10s of billions of marine animals, instead of using those crops for 6.5 billion people. The grain-meat conversion ratio is roughly 16:1, that is, it takes up to 16kg of grain to produce 1kg of meat. In America, from birth until death, each meat-eater consumes around 3,000 land animals and thousands of other marine animals.
Air pollution, water pollution, deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions - the number one cause is animal agriculture.
A study by the Pew Commission demonstrated conclusively that, globally, farmed animals contribute more to climate change emissions than ALL forms of transport combined. According to a University of Chicago study, the difference between a vegetarian and a meat-based diet is equivalent, in climate emission terms, to that between owning a mid-sized sedan and a large sport utility vehicle.
Most commonly I hear the argument – ‘but we were meant to eat meat’. It is likely that the eating of meat once played an important role in human development, providing us with sufficient protein for our brains to undergo the sort of enormous growth that culminated in anatomically modern humans. However, just because something was once useful does not mean that it will always be so. To say that eating meat was once a good thing does not mean that it continues to be. Given the ready availability of high-quality vegetable products that can be produced at a fraction of the environmental cost, eating meat is now a very bad thing, both morally and prudentially.
There are four reasons for why humans eat meat – habit, tradition, convenience and taste. The latter being the most popular one I hear – “it tastes so good.” Pleasures of the palate hardly correspond to vital interests. Some might say that eating meat can help our vital interests, for example - to get the protein we require. This would only be true if eating meat was our only source of protein. “Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for all individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes” American Dietetic Association 2009
“Vegetarian diets are often associated with a number of health advantages, including lower blood cholesterol levels, lower risk of heart-disease, lower blood pressure levels, and lower risk of hypertension and type-2 diabetes. Vegetarians tend to have a lower body mass index and lower overall cancer rates.” American Dietetic Association
When you consider that heart disease and cancer together account for almost 50% of annual deaths in the US, it seems unquestionable: good health is not a reason for eating meat. In fact, the most commonly cited reason for a vegetarian conversion is health.
When you go vegan, you eliminate cholesterol entirely from your diet as you only get cholesterol from meat, cheese, milk and eggs. Your body produces cholesterol on its own and this is the only form of good cholesterol. You remove around 95% of saturated fat when you go vegan and all of the naturally occurring trans-fatty acids too. Between 2-9% of all meat and dairy naturally comprises trans-fatty acids. Obviously you can cut out all animal protein…
Animal protein is way too acidic for the human body; we don’t process it properly. It has been suggested as the main reason for why 1 in 3 meat eaters get cancer. And it’s one of the main causes of osteoporosis. When animal protein enters the human body, it makes our blood acidic instantaneously, but our blood can’t stay acidic for long or else we’ll die, so our bodies have to figure out a way to neutralise the acidity. There’s only one way to make this happen - with phosphate - and the one source of phosphate in the human body is in our bones. Our bones are made up of calcium phosphate, binded together, our body leaches calcium phosphate out of the bones, takes the phosphate to neutralise the acidity, and we urinate the calcium. That is why every single epidemical study shows that societies who consume the most amount of animal protein have the worst rates of osteoporosis, bone fractions and cancers, while societies that consume the least amount of animal protein, have little to no rates of osteoporosis, bone fractures or cancers.
So eating animals does not promote vital human interests, and it in fact does quite the opposite. Eating meat is actually incompatible with many vital human interests, making it morally wrong. Rather than promoting, it actually jeopardizes some of the most vital human interests imaginable – interests in having a healthy body and a healthy environment. Eating meat is both a moral and a prudential disaster. We will eventually outgrow eating meat, not because we suddenly become more moral, or more intelligent, but because we have to.
How come vegan food tends to be considered as gross to a lot of people? Many people seem to find it absurd that a meal can only consist of vegetable and grains? But meat - blood, flesh, veins, muscles and tendons - the cut up corpse of a dismembered body, how does meat not qualify as being gross and disgusting.
Somebody else’s rib cage, severed legs, sliced up thighs and mutilated breasts sitting on your plate doesn’t make you think twice?
How is a beverage - a liquid that oozes out of the udders of cows, a secretion that drips from the mammary glands of another being, that’s loaded with pus, acceptable to most. (When you hook machines up to the udders of cows 3 times a day to suck them dry, those machines cause mass amounts of infections on the inside and outside of the udder. Add all the bovine growth hormones that they put in cows to make sure they produce huge quantities of milk which always leads to another infection; the machine doesn’t know what not to suck out: you are left with puss, mucus and infections right in with your milk. And yes milk is pasteurised, but pasteurisation is not a removal process, you are only sanitising puss. The scientific term – somatic cell count. USDA allows the dairy industry to have one eye dropper amount of puss in every glass of milk.)
In order for a female mammal to produce milk, she has to be pregnant. Every year, every cow in every dairy farm is raped, with a long steel device, or sometimes with a bare hand, to inject bull semen. And after birth, the babies are stolen… well the dairy industry can’t have the babies drinking up all that milk that was meant for them, when they would rather sell it to you instead. Every time you have a glass of cow’s milk, some calf is not!
Cows make milk for their babies and for their babies alone, they don’t make milk for baby elephants, baby orangatans, baby hedgehogs, baby humans, adolescent humans or adult humans. This body of ours has absolutely no need for cow milk like it has absolutely no need for giraffe milk. The only milk we ever need is our own mother’s breast milk when we are born. No mammal on this planet needs milk once it is done weaning!
“The assumption that animals are without rights, and the illusion that our treatment of them has no moral significance, is a positively outrageous example of Western crudity and barbarity. Universal compassion is the only guarantee of morality.” Arthur Schopenhauer, German Philosopher.
You have a choice. You could be radically cruel, ensuring that animals have no freedom, ensuring that they never experience one drop of human kindness, allowing their babies to be stolen from them, allowing their beaks to be sliced off, their horns cut off, their testicles ripped out, ensuing that there’s a knife in their throat every second of every day for the rest of eternity. Or you could choose to be radically kind, to never intentionally harm another animal for breakfast, lunch or dinner ever again. After all these creatures have never harmed you, violated or taken advantage of you in any way, shape or form. The least you could do is return the favour!
Still not convinced? Please watch this incredibly moving video on animal rights - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_K36Zu0pA4U