‘Elephant in the room’ is a metaphorical idiom for something obvious that is either being ignored or is not being addressed. It is based on the idea that an elephant in the room would be impossible to avoid noticing; with the consequence that any people in the room who pretend the elephant is not there, are clearly making a deliberate effort or choice to avoid dealing with the looming issue that it represents.
The name of this blog and the Facebook page where it began, ‘There’s an Elephant in the Room’, reflects the fact that although our entire society and culture is founded on the needless use and torment of other beings, the vast majority of humans are either unaware of their role in the atrocity, know about but choose to ignore it, or else in some way seek to rationalise it to themselves. The name ‘There’s an Elephant in the Room’ was originally chosen as a declaration that I will always refuse to stay silent about that elephant.
Despite our fond delusions about being ‘animal lovers’, it is no exaggeration to say that we have created a hell for other beings. We confine, torture, mutilate, violate, and enslave them. We kill and eat their babies. We consume their flesh, their eggs and the lactation they produce for the infants we have taken from them and killed. We wear, furnish our homes with and otherwise use their body parts, body fibres and skins in a myriad ways. With implements, technology and brute force we imprison and restrain them, exerting our dominance over them so they will act in unnatural ways for our ‘entertainment’. We ‘experiment’ on and test drugs, chemicals, toiletries and procedures on their trembling, agonised bodies in laboratories straight out of our most violent and sickening horror stories.
The beings whom we use are sentient, a quality that we, as humans, share. Sentient individuals have an interest in remaining alive and in avoiding pain. Whatever our species, we are each unique individuals, each of us with needs and preferences, each capable of experiencing satisfaction or pleasure and indeed each excruciatingly able to experience suffering, misery and fear.
In order to effect real change in the way those who do not share our species are viewed, we must strike at the root of the problem, exposing the speciesism and violence that underpins every part of our brutal society as the unchallenged and culturally accepted norm. We must invite and encourage all humans to think critically about the way consumer demand and the choice of the individual are one and the same thing.
When our demand for the products of needless harm ends, only then will harm cease to be profitable for those who hurt, torment and kill innocent and defenceless victims on our behalf. We cannot dissociate ourselves from the slaughterhouse taint that is the inevitable consequence of the many atrocities that we pay them to carry out.
Only by taking individual responsibility for the violence that takes place in our name and refusing to pay for it to continue, can we create the peaceful world that every one of us claims to wish for. That peaceful world is a vegan world and it’s within our reach.