There is absolutely no morally relevant difference between human beings and those nonhuman beings upon whom we prey. We are all self aware. We form family and social bonds and share relationships with others. The mother and child bond is particularly strong and evident across all species. We communicate; we are capable of experiencing pleasure, we are capable of experiencing suffering and we are all capable of feeling fear. Every single one of us will seek to avoid pain. We value our lives; they matter to us. In short, we all share the quality of sentience.
There is absolutely no way for humans to obtain the body parts and secretions of others without causing unspeakable suffering, exploiting their reproductive systems, mutilating and confining them, killing their children and taking from them every single thing that we would define as the things that make our own human lives worth living.
Not content with these atrocities, we use the skins (in some cases the tender, fragile skins of their unborn children – yes, really), we use fibres and feathers torn often from their living, pain wracked flesh, we test chemicals upon and within the trembling agony of their anguished bodies, and we perversely choose to call ‘entertainment’ the results of our having broken and bent their innocence and vulnerability to our will. And yet, despite this, there is absolutely no nutritional or other need for humans to consume or to use in any way, the bodies of other sentient beings.
So why do we keep on doing it?
Although this is scientifically proven truth, for most of us, the reason that we have never confronted or examined our behaviour is because it has always been more comfortable to accept without challenge the myths we were taught as babes. These are reinforced by the prevailing customs of a highly speciesist society where independent thought that goes ‘against the current’ is not particularly encouraged. Whilst we are in no doubt whatsoever that the actions and processes detailed above would constitute extreme and violent torture if carried out on ourselves or our children, we somehow find it easy to overlook the harm and unspeakable cruelty when it is being done to victims of a different species, while continuing to tell ourselves what good people we are. We are, nevertheless, the perpetrators of the worst horrors imaginable, unavoidably responsible despite being removed to a sufficient distance where we do not need to listen to their screams and their futile pleas for mercy; to a distance where the gore and dismembered corpses have been neatly sanitised into almost unidentifiable packages on supermarket shelves.
We all say we care
And the ultimate irony is that almost every single one of us claims to care for animals; claims to abhor ‘cruelty’, and is quick to declare our unequivocal condemnation of those whom we consider to harm animals. And the exploitation industries have been extremely quick to spot a commercial opportunity in this, cynically adopting the language and terminology of care and concern. The word ‘compassion’ is bandied about freely, as are the words ‘humane’ and ‘welfare’.
Our inbuilt resistance to change has been easily soothed by this terminology and so many of us have fallen into the trap of considering that our use of others must surely be acceptable because of the comforting reassurance being poured in our ears from so many quarters. These ‘quarters’ are invariably those that – if we would only take time to consider – have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo where living, breathing, helpless and vulnerable beings exist in a hell of our making and are looked on as commodities, as ‘products’ to generate revenue.
No right way to do the wrong thing
However, as I mentioned earlier, there is absolutely no way for humans to obtain the body parts and secretions of others without causing suffering so sickening that we shy away from even considering it. Yet no matter how long we look, we will never find a way to make this fundamental injustice anything other than what it is; an outrage of epic proportions on a global scale, an annual massacre of trillions (including marine beings) to support nothing other than the self indulgence of a blinkered species.
Once we understand this, the only logical action is for us to follow our moral compass towards veganism, after all, it’s what we already believe in. Veganism is true justice and nonviolence in action. Become vegan and your only regret will be that it took you so long!