Planet Earth is experiencing an escalation of extreme weather events. This escalation will continue for as long as we fail so utterly to grasp that one of the main causes – if not the main cause – is our own brutality; our needless use and slaughter of trillions of sentient individuals every single year to indulge dietary preferences that are entirely unnecessary. Unless we embrace this truth and act, both as individuals becoming vegan, and collectively as societies demanding the end of the institution we know as ‘animal agriculture’, our species will suffer greatly, probably to the point of extinction.
We are no longer vaguely contemplating some distant eventuality that need not concern us as the short-lived organisms that we humans are; the consequences of our failure to act are sweeping down upon us with the velocity and force of an avalanche. You and I may well suffer devastating impacts upon food availability, our homes and our lifestyles, and with the passage of time, our children will suffer even more than we do. When we are dead and gone, will they ask why we didn’t do anything while we could still have made a difference? They’ll have every right to do that, and I can’t think of anything that could excuse our negligence.
Everybody hurts, everybody loses
As tempests rage across the globe, we have witnessed, and will continue to see, nightmarish images of our captive victims in the hellholes where they have drowned, or have been incinerated by climate-wrought floods and fires. We will be shown the pits where their often still-living selves are being covered with lime and buried in efforts to contain the rampant diseases unleashed by our greed for greater profit in a world already terminally overburdened by the weight of the trillions of lives brought into being by our interference in their reproduction; their numbers raised to impossible levels by human hands as they ‘breed’ and artificially inseminate the innocent for use as the resources of our single, brutal, predatory, species.
Images such as I describe are hard to look at. The blackened ashes no longer indentifiable as ever having lived or breathed, the bloated corpses bobbing alone or in groups on the surface of putrid floodwater, images that echo with the screams of fear and panic that we can imagine only too well. Suddenly, in these pathetic corpses, we can’t avoid awareness of their ordeal and the veil of our own delusion of superiority slips, however briefly. We suddenly recognise just how much we have in common with the tragic, bobbing dead, with their mottled, gas-filled bellies, mouths gaping in grimaces of their dying agony. We would need to be fools indeed not to see ourselves in their plight, not to empathise with their horror and despair as death approached and there was no escape. What would we have done? How could we have endured to see our loved ones share our death throes, each powerless to do a single thing to help the other?
And here, in this brief glimpse that acknowledges our kinship with the dead, our shared sentience, we must try to find and grasp the key that unlocks the myths of our presumed but mistaken need to inflict the inevitable consequences of our violence and brutality upon all other species on the planet.
With the horror, comes anger and disgust
So often the images I’ve mentioned provoke strong reactions in those who see them. Outraged viewers insist furiously that such barbarity should not be permitted; should be legislated against; that it should not go unpunished. The vitriol pours on a tide of righteous indignation. However to free ourselves of our delusions, we must first face a few harsh truths and we must do so unflinchingly.
All of the individuals whom we see portrayed in the nightmarish images were on death row. They were born and they were hatched on death row. They were there because we, as consumers, continue to demand their young and broken bodies for our use and consumption. We do this despite the fact that it is completely unnecessary. By being individuals who use our cash to buy substances and services derived from the unconsenting bodies of others, we make it absolutely clear that we consider them to be nothing other than commodities for our use, at the expense of their own lives and interests. Regardless of the myths of entitlement and justification with which we seek to justify our atrocities, this is the stripped-down truth of the matter.
We cannot logically profess to care about them as living, breathing, sentient individuals with feelings exactly like our own, (or indeed expect anyone else to care in that way) when the only reason they have been caused to exist, is to deprive them of the lives that they so desperately want to live after keeping them alive as economically as possible until the most financially profitable time for them to be slaughtered in cold blood.
Abandonment to disease, to fire, flood and tempest is horrific. No sensible person can deny this.
Who are the real monsters?
However the ordeal that they endure in the legally sanctioned regime of oppression that is nonveganism, in order to be used for their breast milk, their eggs, their flayed skin, their body parts, dead flesh, forced labour or as test subjects tortured in the name of ‘science’ is not in any sense a better option. Yet that is the legally-sanctioned and inevitable reality. From violent conception to slaughter via an existence that minimises costs to maximise profit, our standard practice is a gory and brutal process. They plead and they whimper in terror and agony but are ignored in the name of industry profit and consumer convenience.
So when we see those horrific images of fire, flood and disease, we need to be outraged; we need to be disgusted. But we also need to be honest about exactly where the responsibility lies. That means that we must stop being the reason that they were in those hell-holes to begin with.
Make no mistake. We are now in the midst of the fight of our lives; the fight for THEIR lives, and the fight for the very existence of our living world. The planet we are destroying is theirs as much as ours. As we saw off the branch our species is sitting on, we must remember that our victims are sitting alongside us, helpless passengers on our journey to ruin.
We need to become vegan and there’s not a moment to lose.