‘Cruelty’ is behaviour which causes physical or mental harm to another.
The word ‘cruelty’ is one of the most overused words amongst those who claim to have concern for animals. How often we hear the words, ‘I don’t believe in cruelty to animals’? It is mentioned in thousands of posts and articles, with no clear definition and a myriad meanings and interpretations. There are uncounted times when it is sickeningly appropriate, but many more times when it is just an empty, meaningless sound.
How can it be meaningless, you may ask?
Well, consider why we so often see it used to apply to beings that are destined to be eaten and enslaved by humans? When a being has been brought into the world expressly to be used as a resource, a commodity, and is destined to be eaten or enslaved there is no ‘cruelty free’ alternative. Every single miserable existence spent as humanity’s slave, every individual standing in line in the stench and gore of the slaughterhouse is suffering completely unnecessarily as humans have no need to eat or to use in any way, the bodies of other sentient beings.
We see the word ‘cruel’ used about beings imprisoned in the death industries, their treatment, conditions, transport, slaughter, child abduction, mutilation. The word is most commonly used, and wildly overused, by those who focus on the treatment of our victims, rather than addressing the fact that we have victims at all. The very use of the word suggests that if a circumstance can be described as ‘cruel’, there must necessarily be an alternative that is ‘not cruel’.
And there’s the problem.
Given that the entire circumstance of their existence from birth to violent death is unnatural and is a violation of their most fundamental rights as sentient beings, and given that there is absolutely no way that this could ever be anything other than inherently ‘cruel’ and that we have no morally justifiable reason for any of it, the word ‘cruelty’ is redundant, it’s meaningless. It’s part of a charade in which we have all participated as nonvegans; a word by which we seek to affirm our status to ourselves and others as the good kind people we like to think we are, whilst fixedly ignoring the innocent blood on our hands due to our everyday choices to cause harm and violence to those who are unable to defend themselves.
There are far too many humans looking for the right way to do something inherently wrong. There are far too many humans looking for a ‘cruelty free’ option when it does not exist. There is only one cruelty free option for anyone who really wants to live cruelty free, and that is to become vegan. Absolutely everything else causes unspeakable harm, suffering and death.