When we talk to others about ‘less’ animal use, we are encouraging them to think of nonhuman animals as a quantity that can be reduced, in the same we that we think of using less oil or less sugar. It’s not surprising that this can seem praiseworthy.
Only, they’re NOT a ‘quantity’ that we can cut down on. They are nameless, it’s true, but even their numbered ear tags should always remind us that our victims are a number, a group. Their numbers may be breathtakingly large, but they are nevertheless individuals, sentient, each one unique, each one with an equal right to their own life, each one desperate to live that life unharmed. When we think of them as individuals, see them in our mind’s eye, gazing on us with the fear and desperation that they endure as the inevitable consequence of our treatment of them as resources, it becomes unthinkable that we could ever condone the inflicting of needless harm on any one of them.
Rather than encouraging the continuation of unnecessary harm that is ‘less’ use, let’s remember always the individual faces of those who are depending on us to end the system that regards them as things for our use. When we fail to represent them as individuals, we are utterly betraying those unique children of other species who will continue to endure the existence that our needless use inflicts on them.
‘Less’ use does not cut down harm for all our victims. At best ‘less’ use may save a small number of individuals but for the rest, the torment of their existence as commodities and commercial assets will be unchanged.
What’s even worse, those who continue to pay for it by not being vegan will feel encouraged that they are doing something positive and that’s not true. We owe them better than that. We owe them the truth.
Which one do you think deserves to die for human indulgence? Whose desperate pleas deserve to be ignored? Who deserves to stand quaking and trembling in the gore of the slaughterhouse? Could any of us make that choice? I know I couldn’t. They all deserve the very best that we can do for them, and that means asking others to stop deliberately hurting them. All of them. That means asking others to be vegan.