Obscene term of the day: ‘Treated like animals’

piglet-677049_960_720pbIn recent days I have read and heard the term ‘treated like animals’ used frequently to describe an experience or circumstance, and it is a term that strikes a raw nerve for me. When we hear this phrase, few of us are in any doubt about what is being described; it paints a concise word picture that we all understand.

When we are told that individuals were ‘treated like animals’, this instantly conveys a situation where they were treated without dignity and without respect. They were treated without consideration for their basic rights. Depending on the context, being ‘treated like animals’ may additionally imply that they were subjected to degradation, to violence or threatening behaviour, or that they were expected to perform demeaning acts.

And there we have yet another example of how truth and awareness of the desperate plight of our victims hides in plain sight in the language that so many of us use. Deep down, we all know what is happening but we have become carefully disconnected from the implications of the very language that we use. Whilst we tell ourselves and others how we ‘love animals’, whilst we pretend that there are humane ways that we can use our consumer power to demand the use of their bodies and lives that make their only, precious lives a living hell, our very words themselves betray a deeper knowledge.

It’s time to stop and think about what we’re doing and what we’re saying. It’s time to start treating every individual – whatever their species – with the respect that is their due. It’s time to be vegan.

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7 Responses to Obscene term of the day: ‘Treated like animals’

  1. Parisa says:

    Thank you for a thorough response.

    Like

  2. Sonnette says:

    nothing else needs to be said.Namaste.

    Like

  3. Parisa says:

    I absolutely love your articles and your writing skills, and while I was struggling to commit to a vegan diet and made a few failed attempts transitioning from vegetarian to vegan, one of your articles (the first one I laid eyes on) came to my rescue 4 months ago, and turned me vegan overnight. While you may have referenced this question in previous topics, I would like to ask and it’s something I often wondered, how should one react to such insensitive statements made by apparently sane and intellectual individuals without sounding obnoxious and judgemental. Why is it so hard to convey the message and why doesn’t it get easier by the passage of the time?

    Liked by 2 people

    • I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to hear that my writing helped you to become vegan. I’m sure you will never regret your decision.

      After becoming vegan, I think we all become aware just how insensitive are many of the phrases in common use and there’s no hard and fast way to react. How – or indeed IF – we react depends on the prevailing circumstances. Certainly in the case of those who know me well, as time has gone on, they have become very aware that I am vegan – partly because of the way I live and partly because I work the word into my every conversation! In one-to-one conversation, it thus becomes easy to convey with a raised eyebrow when a phrase is used that I consider to be offensive and this may lead to my being asked to explain what is wrong. It is often my hope that by simply asking what exactly they mean by what they have said, I can encourage others to begin to question their use of inappropriate language.

      In other types of conversation, this approach will not work and sometimes all we can do is withdraw from a situation where we are made uncomfortable by rude or provocative remarks. We have to choose our battles.

      I think that in some ways, it does become easier over time and as I approach my 4 year anniversary of becoming vegan, I have come to terms with the fact that I can be critical of nonvegan actions and behaviour (which many will choose to call judgemental), whilst still caring about the person carrying them out. I believe we all must try very hard to remember that we were once in their (leather) shoes; I was a nonvegan ‘animal lover’ who genuinely didn’t see how completely inconsistent I was being. I hope to find the words to reach them, in the same way that someone once reached me. And I try not to vent the frustration I feel about the length of time it took me, on those who genuinely need to hear the message I’m trying to convey.

      I don’t know if this is any help at all, but thanks for the question and the idea for a future blog. Vegan best wishes!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I react the same way. Being vegan is the only way to go.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. This is excellent!

    Liked by 1 person

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