When you look at this image, be honest. Is ‘humane’ the first word that pops into your head? I doubt it.
And then, if you’re like I used to be, you’ll find another internal dialogue begins.
‘But it must be humane, because there are laws; but it must be humane because the label says ‘free range’ or ‘organic’ or ‘XYPCA approved’, and we sigh with relief, switch off our concern and carry on demanding the flesh and the eggs and the milk.
Few of us think about this in any depth. It’s uncomfortable to see the images – the real ones, not the staged, cartoonish fantasy that we are sold as consumers. That’s why marketing doesn’t show the real stuff. Even so, if it wasn’t for the constant reassurance that it’s all ok, it’s all ‘humane’, we wouldn’t know what to think, would we?
And there’s the problem. Our understanding of the word ‘humane’ has been subtly hijacked. The meaning of ‘humane’ that is sold to us on the dismembered corpses of young creatures, on eggs and on the milk taken from the seeking mouths of babes, no longer means what we think that it means. How could it? How could the obtaining of ANY of the substances that we use and consume ever be truly ‘humane’? How could it be ‘humane’ when every single thing we do is unnecessary and so fraught with suffering and misery that we refuse to acknowledge the truth. We all find it much easier to hide behind the word ‘humane’, that redefined word that is now used as a marketing tool, as a conscience salve, as a legitimisation of a brutality that none of us wants to be part of.
We all know what ‘humane really means. It means ‘tenderness, compassion, and sympathy, especially for the suffering or distressed’. ‘Well here’s another word to throw into the mix; ‘humanity; the quality of being humane; kindness; benevolence’.
Not one single process that we inflict on the sentient individuals who are our wretched victims could ever be called ‘humane’ except through the hijacked and corrupted interpretation of the word that we have been sold as consumers.
Let’s take back the meaning of humane and in doing so, take back our humanity. The only way to do this is by being vegan.