‘Hardly ever’ and ‘only a drop’: why animal suffering is not scalable

calf-1335472_960_720How often do we hear it said, ‘I hardly eat any meat’, or ‘I only take a drop of milk in tea’? It is as if we consider that the level of misery that we demand as consumers can be scaled down by such reductions.

This view occurs because we refuse to see our victims as individuals. Yet for the individual whose pitiful life was cut short in the gore and terror of our slaughterhouse so that we could have have that morsel of their desecrated flesh, the world ended a few days earlier. The only life they had has been taken from them, however we seek to downplay our role with smiles and shrugs. Their horror and their fear, their desperate struggles against the hard hands with their knives and saws, were no less for our trivialising. Their despair was not in any way lessened as the electric prods forced their faltering steps onto the kill floor.

For that ‘drop of milk’ that we smilingly seek to excuse as a trivial indulgence, a mother was pinioned and violated. For nine months, her womb nurtured her growing child while almost every day her swelling, mothering body was hooked up to our mechanical suction pumps. And when her time of labour came, as with any other mother, she knew the wrenching, draining, convulsions of her child’s birth; she cried out, bearing down as nature’s tides gripped her body in her toil, and her pain was no less than it would have been had she known she was doing it for the sake of all humans who ‘only take a drop in tea’.

Her body still trembling from the exhaustion of giving birth, her anguish and her frantic fear as her infant was taken from her, were in no way lessened by how often or how much of her milk we, as individuals, take. Her loss and her anguish were devastating; her broken calls to her new-born child were heartrending. Her infant’s sobs of fear and bewilderment, his futile whimpers for his mother’s milk and comforting warmth were not in any way consoled by our trivialising. His imminent death will be agonising and he will be more afraid than we can even imagine.

For it is not how much or how little we use our victims’ bodies that is the issue.
It is not how often or how seldom we use our victims that is the issue.
It is not how ‘nicely’ we treat our victims that is the issue.

The issue is that we have victims at all.
The issue is that having victims is unnecessary.
The issue is that until we accept that these victims are not ours to use, this outrage will continue. Whilst we may seek to excuse ourselves with a smile and a shrug, we truly cannot detach ourselves from the very real and inevitable consequences of our consumer choices.

When we refuse to participate in this nightmare for another moment, is the point at which we stop being nonvegan. Please make that moment today.

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14 Responses to ‘Hardly ever’ and ‘only a drop’: why animal suffering is not scalable

  1. Pingback: Petitions and single issues – where’s the harm? – FAQ | There's an Elephant in the Room blog

  2. Pingback: The sadness of being vegan | There's an Elephant in the Room blog

  3. Sandy Stone says:

    I’ve been a life long vegetarian since I was fifteen, I’m eighty i tooo thought that a drop of milk or honey wasn’t a bad thing . My daughter educated herself & took this old woman the truth about how web continue to hurt animals.
    I’m still not perfect, It’s not easy to change at any age , but I’m working on it!
    It just wrong to continue to cause that kind of suffering ! Thanks for letting me share.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for sharing your story, Sandy! So often I read comments from those who take refuge in their age to excuse their unwillingness to change. It’s wonderful and encouraging to hear from someone like you, someone who has refused to let age be a barrier to doing the right thing. You’re absolutely correct – It’s never too late!


  4. Csvegan says:

    I love your articles Is it possible you can add a pintrest button so I can share on there?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. William says:

    A really good, persuasive article…let’s hope it does the trick. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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  7. Cindy Koczy says:

    Good article. Thank You! I just want to mention that honey is NOT VEGAN.It’s irritating when people think they are vegan, or call themselves so…BUT eat honey!
    Honey is for the bees who work hard at gathering a stash to over winter with, to make sure their Queen Bee can produce baby bees to pollinate most of the food we eat!
    Let’s not steal.It belongs to them!


  8. ironpetia says:

    Such a poignant and well written article. Thank you!


  9. cushpigsmum says:

    Reblogged this on iliketowritewhatithink and commented:
    The pain and terror inflicted on badgers because of the dairy industry is not lessened by those who ‘only want a little milk’ on their cereal. All who buy dairy products pay for suffering and slaughter and are saying that they don’t care – their taste ‘entitlements’ are of paramount importance – way more important that any animal’s life.

    Liked by 1 person

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