- Humans have been using other animals since the beginning of time.’
- ‘It’s always been this way.’
- ‘If we stop farming them they’ll become extinct.’
The idea that ‘nothing can change from the way it’s always been done’, is commonly used as an attempt to justify the horrors that our species currently inflicts upon more than 74,000,000,000 (seventy-four billion) members of land based species and uncounted trillions of aquatic individuals each year.
Let’s check the facts, however. Having been around in approximately their current form for 200,0000 (two hundred thousand) years , humans first domesticated the species that we use for ‘agriculture’ only about 12,000 (twelve thousand) years ago, having begun the process of adapting others to serve our interests some 3,000 (three thousand) years earlier by domesticating wolves.
During these 12,000 years, almost every breed of animal that we use for any and every purpose worldwide, has been ‘adapted’ by selective breeding and/or genetic modification to optimise commercial production of whichever aspect of their lives and bodies we seek to use and financially profit from.
Where our meddling leads
Humans have created and are continuing to develop, breeds of the species that we use without any regard or concern for the well being of the individuals who are affected by our tampering. Nowhere is this illustrated more poignantly that in the hens whom we currently use for their eggs, a subject that I have previously examined in depth.
Suffice to say that selective breeding combined with genetic modification has escalated egg laying by each individual bird to 250 – 300+ a year from an original annual total of 12 – 15 by her wild ancestors. By doing this we have created a situation where the body into which each innocent little creature is hatched, has become a prison and a time bomb, so prone to diseases of her wildly overworked reproductive processes that a painful and early death is almost guaranteed. Not that we actually care. Egg laying hens used commercially are slaughtered before they are 18 months old; let’s face it, we don’t need them to live long; it’s easy come, easy go for their human exploiters.
And meanwhile we see online the tired old debates and arguments about the environment in which they are used, with words like ‘factory’, ‘battery’, ‘free-range’, cage free’, ‘enriched cages’ and ‘backyard’ being bandied about. Yes, sure, some environments in which hens are used for their eggs are ‘better’ than other environments. Sadly, however, the vast majority of even those who profess to care about other animals seem unaware of the fact that our true crime against this species has nothing to do with the environment in which we use them. Our crime is bred into their very bones, into their flesh, into reproductive systems genetically programmed to hyperactivity until their bodies self-destruct.
Those who rescue hens from the burden that egg laying imposes on their tiny bodies, who provide sanctuary from a world that sees them only in terms of what can be taken from them, struggle to source hormonal implants and veterinary staff to conduct the necessary surgery, doing all they can to delay the inevitable but even so, an elderly and healthy egg-laying hen is an oxymoron.
As for other species, breeds have been manipulated in ways that would inevitably shorten their lives were it not for the fact that the sole reason for their existence is to maximise what we can take from them in their youth before subsequently slaughtering them. Our meddling has left many, if not most, with no environmental niche for them to occupy outside of the hells, torture chambers and prisons of our agricultural nightmare.
As for all our victims whatever their species, we confine them in unnatural environments, feed them substances that they would never consume without our intervention, accelerate and boost their growth / lactation / egg production far beyond what their bodies are designed to bear, and are even working to develop further grotesque mutations by genetic modification for a variety of ‘reasons’ that all boil down to maximising profit. Like ourselves, our defenceless victims are a long way from the natural animals they once were.
Extinction – is it always bad?
A common assertion is that many breeds will become extinct in a vegan world and this is said as if that were a bad thing. Make no mistake, the almost inevitable extinction of the pitiable, Frankensteinian creations of our unspeakably self-obsessed species is a totally different issue from the extinction of those wild creatures who were quietly minding their own business in the aeons before we came along, and whose habitat we have destroyed by our industrialisation and urbanisation, not to mention the usurping of their land on the industrial scale that has been necessary for us to cultivate our ‘farmed’ victims in unimaginably vast and increasing numbers.
So when we talk of extinction for the grotesquely mutated victims of our deluded species, how can this possibly be a bad thing? In a way, such extinction, allowing these defenceless innocents to escape the obscene torment of bodies we have created to serve our interests at the expense of their own, would be the only really humane thing we have ever done for them.