Our future as a species is on the brink of disaster with climate and planetary collapse looking increasingly likely in the foreseeable future. The science that confirms this is rapidly shifting from a widely ignored trickle to a torrent sounding alarm bells in every quarter; alarms that are impossible for all but the most wilfully determined to ignore.
Against this backdrop I find myself wondering whether those who ‘farm’ lives and sell animals in response to consumer demands for dead flesh, eggs and breast milk are actually aware of the disaster that they’re being paid to cause?
In response to the demands of consumers, The animal agriculture industries are slaughtering over 80 billion land animals and 2.7 trillion aquatic creatures – none of whom want to die – every single year.
In addition, animal agriculture industries are literally killing the consumers of the substances they are selling, with products derived from the bodies of other animals being implicated in every one of the major causes of premature death and disease in our species. This science-backed fact is seldom even mentioned, and when it is, we are all encouraged to ignore it, particularly by those who make money from our ignorance.
Animal agriculture is killing the creatures whose environment is being increasingly turned over to consumer driven animal farming, both directly and to grow feed for the 80 billion who are destined for our slaughterhouses. Indigenous species are being reduced to the category of ‘pests’ and are becoming extinct, ancient ecosystems are being laid waste to produce more animals to kill, effluent from the unspeakable numbers of victims confined to meet demand is polluting the land and waterways, wiping out marine environments across the globe.
Our unnatural obsession with using the reproductive systems and the dead body parts of members of other species, a practice that demands bringing over 2,556 land-based individuals into the world each second to replace the 2,556 who are being slaughtered this second – is literally killing the planet. Now there can surely be no doubt left, as major health authorities, academic seats of learning and environmental organisations alike add their voices daily to the imperative call for a major change in the consumption habits of our species.
Myths and wishful thinking
Yet the animal agriculture industries are continuing to deny and ridicule the science and their spokespeople take advantage of every media opportunity to deliberately misinform, talking down and talking over any other individuals who seek to express the truth. I saw an example of this just today, a spokesman openly deriding what I know to be scientific fact, repeatedly reinforcing the myths that keep him in business.
I even heard a recent comment by a farmer about how they ‘need to eat animals to be strong enough to do my job’. Now I don’t doubt that ‘carry on as usual’ is undoubtedly a message many people may very much want to hear, after all most of us – including those of us who rejected the inherent brutality of the system and became vegan – were raised not to question animal use; to believe that it was ‘necessary’. However, to even suggest that as an option in today’s environmentally fragile world, to imply that the use of other animals is somehow necessary for our wellbeing, constitutes dangerous and deadly misinformation; and seems highly unethical when the whole world is in peril because this fantasy has been too long accepted as fact.
As Upton Sinclair is quoted as saying, ‘It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.’ Unless of course they really don’t know…?
We have to think for ourselves
Whether they do know or whether they don’t, we can no longer rely on anyone but ourselves to take action; the time has long since come for each of us to take personal responsibility for what we do and how we live. The increasingly gruesome cultural habit of a species that deludes itself that only humans are worthy of moral consideration, has hacked and sawn and slaughtered its way into our current mortal peril. We each have no choice but to make a desperate attempt to secure even the hope of a future for our children. As a parent, this is hugely important to me, and I can’t believe that any parent could feel any different.
To live vegan is to recognise that every individual, whatever their species, has the right to own their body and their life. The vast majority of our nonhuman victims are sentient and their lives matter to them. Veganism remains as it has always been; a recognition of their rights and a refusal to create victims because it is unnecessary. However, we are now running out of time and a new level of urgency is adding an edge to the call to end the violence and destruction inherent in our use of members of other species.
Despite their political influence and the public funding that goes with it, even industries as massive as the animal-use giants are demand-driven. By becoming vegan, we remove our own consumer demands from the cycle of destruction that non vegan consumers and those who supply their shopping requirements are wreaking on a world that is becoming increasingly hostile to all who currently call it ‘home’.
We have so little time left to halt the catastrophe that’s unfolding in front of our eyes and we will soon be past the point that stopping it is even a remote possibility. Be vegan. Do it today.