In the past few days, I’ve seen several excellent posts condemning a well-known designer brand for their use of crocodile skins for leather goods while exposing the conditions in which these innocent creatures are ‘farmed’, with images and descriptions that made the bile rise in my throat. Such barbarity is utterly appalling. It should be noted that this isn’t the first time this particular atrocity has been exposed, nor is this the first designer to be associated with it. And don’t misunderstand me. It’s good that these horrors are being exposed. Light should be shone into ALL the dark hells where our fellow earthlings endure the atrocities that our speciesism is demanding and paying for.
Angry and sad emotes abound on every post that I’ve seen. So why haven’t I shared them? After all we should be angry, we should be disgusted, we should be outraged. But anger, outrage and disgust are by no means the whole story.
Outrage and righteous indignation
It’s my experience that any focus on what is undoubtedly an ‘exclusive’ and expensive substance derived from the unconsenting bodies of other animal species attracts ready condemnation from all sorts of people whose lives and choices will never be affected by the items in question. It’s the same reaction as the one we see on articles about fur. It’s the same reaction we see about eating dogs and cats in countries where it’s not part of the culture. And much of the most heated outrage comes from nonvegan ‘animal lovers’.
On posts and articles about the subjects I’ve mentioned, there’s always a surge of vitriol, there’s very often racism, and there’s always hate speech about ‘ugly people’ with ‘no souls’ and ‘I would rather die than do that’ hyperbole. I’ve written before about how easy it is to be outraged about things that will never affect us personally, how quick we can be to point a finger of blame at things that ‘other people’ do.
And in relation to animal rights, this can be so tragically counterproductive. On a tide of righteous indignation, what ‘others’ do can serve to make us feel better about our own actions whatever they are. We reassure ourselves that whatever we may be doing, it’s not as bad as that is. Despite having barely any knowledge of the brutal and blood-spattered consequences of their own nonvegan choices, posts about crocodiles, dogs, cats, fur, foie gras and a host of other niche topics attract universal outrage and righteous indignation. How do I know? It’s no secret that I spent over half a century as a nonvegan ‘animal lover’ and I’ve been observing and blogging for several years.
Making connections and learning lessons
So, what’s my point? Well as I noted at the start, shining a spotlight is not the whole story. Yes, it attracts attention and that’s a good start. However, what I try so hard to do is to help those who are just like I once was, to join the dots and see the links between the shocking exposés on social media and the socially acceptable parallels in which they are personally participating.
Not one of us would change places with a single one of our victims whatever their species. And for as long as we refuse to be vegan, then by definition we are pouring money into the industries that service our demands for the broken bodies and destroyed lives of almost 3 trillion innocent individuals every year. If you are outraged by the crocodile posts and are not vegan, then really there are some hard questions begging to be asked.
As an animal rights blogger and advocate, I see it as my task to invite readers to feel every bit as outraged and disgusted about a pair of *slink leather gloves for £5 out of Asda, and the strip of skin from an unknown corpse selling as a belt for £3 on the bargain counter at Tesco, as they do about a £60,000 handbag from a designer.
Because frankly, from the perspective of the victims, there’s no difference between them.
So please, be outraged. Be very outraged. Be outraged enough to stop refusing to be vegan.
*Slink leather is the leather made from the hide of unborn calves, it can also be applied to the skin of an unborn lamb as well.
1 trillion is 1,000,000,000,000