Looking at language: livestock

A young pig about to be slaughtered. Image by Aitor Garmendia / Tras los Muros

Defined by the dictionary as ‘farm animals regarded as an asset’, the word ‘livestock’ is an obscene truth hidden in plain sight. While we may allow ourselves to be soothed by the ‘caring’ rhetoric of the victim sellers, the word used and accepted for our victims’ status is screaming the truth in our faces. The very word ’livestock’ is telling us that these individuals whose lives are being ‘farmed’ are regarded, not as sentient individuals worthy of respect and autonomy over their own lives and bodies, but as assets. As in any business, the function of assets is to make profit.

The status of those whose lives are ‘farmed’ as commercial ‘stock’ is a complete denial of their selfhood as living, feeling young individuals. In a demand-driven system where the right to live unharmed is not even a consideration, every single one of them is automatically denied the most fundamental desire of every species; namely that every one of us wants to live.

However the victim-selling industries and their public relations machine know very well that consumers don’t want to recognise their victims for the low-cost / maximum profit financial transactions they truly represent, so adverts and the media are sprinkled liberally with talk of ‘welfare’ (which doesn’t mean what consumers think it means), skilful adverts that suggest victim consent and feigned concern to reassure consumer conscience. We see increasingly elaborate media charades enacted to present victim ‘farmers’ and traders as kindly and caring, selflessly producing sumbstances mendaciously portrayed as ‘necessary’;  glossing over the fact that their trade, in reality, can be summarised as reproductive violation, using to death and ultimately slaughtering defenceless creatures for money.

Those who make money from the use of other creatures will never mention that none of our use of others is necessary. Neither will they tell us that through the ceaseless brutality that they inflict on our victims on our behalf, we are damaging our own and our loved ones’ health in addition to being directly responsible for the ongoing demise of our planet, its climate and ecosystems.

Meanwhile, the word ‘livestock’ stresses bleakly just how friendless and alone each one of our innocent victims is, from the violation that conceives them, to the slaughterhouse that is their only escape from our tyranny. Each treasured life that belongs only to the one who is desperately clinging to it, matters to our species only as a resource for which we will pay money.  Whatever elaborate fantasies we may weave in our attempts to soothe our conscience, our victims are live stock; business assets that exist – as all such resources do – to make money for someone in response to our demands as consumers.

When we stop demanding that defenceless creatures be turned into victims to indulge our frivolous habits, there will be no money to be made from the sickening practices involved and the nightmare will eventually stop. When we withdraw our demands for victims to be created, when we say, ‘not in my name’, we become vegan. Why would anyone want to wait another day?

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3 Responses to Looking at language: livestock

  1. Pingback: To kill vast numbers, we must ‘farm’ vast numbers | There's an Elephant in the Room blog

  2. Bill Ziegler says:

    The word “livestock” already appears by the 24th verse of the 1st book of the Bible:
    “And God said, ‘Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.’ And it was so.” (NIV)
    As if domestication and dominion are somehow fully developed to serve man, ready-made for exploitation by homo sapiens. What a loaded word — livestock.

    Liked by 1 person

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