Monday, August 27, 2012

Respect and Justification

I don't apologize for my views and I don't apologize for how my veganism makes other people feel or how it may make them look at their own values and beliefs. It has nothing to do with me. 

However, sometimes I am subjected to comments regarding respect and justification from meat eaters and I feel that I need to address these two things on my blog. It's a little bit of tough love.




Respect

At some point in every plant eaters life they will hear this sentence:

"I respect your choice to not eat animals so you should respect my choice to eat them"

Ok.. so here is my stance on 'respect'. I can and do respect the personal choices people make regardless of whether I understand them - like whether to believe in god or not, what color to paint their house, how they cut their hair, what clothes they wear, if they have tattoos and piercings, what kind of car to buy, who to vote for, what stores they shop at and who they choose to love or have sex with. I respect your right to eat an Oreo over a banana .. even tho I'd rather you had the banana, it's none of my business. I respect the right of a woman to make decisions for her own body like birth control, abortion and plastic surgery. I respect a man's right to watch porn or hire a hooker.

I do not, however, respect the choices people make when there is a victim of some sort. I don't respect serial killers that kill for the thrill or people who abuse, torture and neglect cats and dogs. I don't respect men who beat their wives and children and I don't respect pedophiles who exercise their personal right to molest a child. I don't respect the personal choice of someone that decides to burn down a building or start a wildfire. I don't respect the personal choice of my neighbors to crank their music up at 2am.

I don't smoke, drink or do drugs but I do think that it's s personal choice to participate in those behaviors.. however, if you want to smoke in my house, get into a car while drunk or give drugs to a kid, then those are no longer personal choices. They affect other people and I have a problem with it.

Those choices affect others .. be it on an individual level or a community level. I want people to be considerate of the whole when it comes to making 'personal choices' because many choices aren't actually 'personal' at all.

Do you see the difference?

I do not respect people that make the choice to eat other beings when there are other choices, which there are 99% of the time. Plus, choosing to eat animal products affects more than just that animal - it affects the environment and the only planet we have to live on, people are starving because land that can grow food for people is used to grow grain for land animals and to keep them, people get diseases from eating animal products, working in the slaughterhouses and factory farming industries. As a taxpayer you pay for the costs of their healthcare - medication, surgeries, and disability payments.

You may be thinking, 'well, I'm sure you have friends and family members that eat animals' and yes, I sure do and while I may enjoy their friendship and love them ... and even respect them in other areas of their lives, I do not and cannot respect their choice to eat animals and they know it. I can agree to disagree with people but I cannot respect certain behaviors.


Justification

One thing that I have a very big problem with are when people try and justify their animal eating behavior by drawing strange lines. One example are people who eat everything animal based except veal. They some how draw a line at eating baby cows. They very often say 'well, it's cruel to lock up baby cows in a small crate and deny them sunlight and grass and, plus.. they are babies!' .. and it sure is horrible but that happens to ALL ANIMALS RAISED FOR FOOD.

Almost all animals are still babies when they are slaughtered for the dinner table. They are 5 weeks to 6 months of age. We still call a dog a puppy if it's under a year old. Your freezer is full of baby corpses.

Another example is the 'free range', 'cruelty free', 'farm raised', 'cage free', 'grass fed' and any other wording used to make it seem like these animals are living the high life in a big pasture under blue skies. It isn't happening, folks .... there may be a few farms here and there that raise their animals that way but I can assure you that you probably can't afford to eat them.

The meat and dairy industries are interested in making money, they are not interested in treating the animals kindly. In the US, 10 BILLION land animals are killed for food each YEAR. 10 billion. It's 45 billion worldwide and those numbers do not include sea animals.

This is why there are dirt feed lots, where thousands of animals are packed into small spaces, fed grain to fatten them up, pumped full of drugs to deal with the fact that grain is not their natural diet and then slaughtered in what is not and never can be called a humane practice.  'Humane' to the industry is stunning the animals and hopefully knocking them unconscious while they are slaughtered alive. Their hearts are beating.. they must in order to bleed them out .. while they are cut into pieces.

The reality is that even if small 'humane' farms exist the animals are still all butchered in the same USDA approved slaughterhouses that the 'common' animals are slaughtered in. It's a law. If you buy meat for consumption then it has to be butchered at a USDA approved facility. There are only a few companies that provide the beef, pork and chickens to the public.. they just have multiple brands they package and sell under. Pretty much all of the meat in your grocery store comes from the same few places.

By using this odd justification, people try and make themselves feel better about eating animals. Perhaps they know on a moral level that they shouldn't be eating them so they think if they make certain concessions like paying more for what they think are 'better' products then they are somehow not as responsible for the horror.

In truth, anyone that eats any animal products of any kind holds the same responsibility. You cannot sugar coat murder, neglect, abuse, torture and exploitation. You cannot make it better.

I realize that people who eat animals maybe can't see this as I do so I want to give examples in non-animal terms that might make sense to people still choosing to eat animal products.

Saying 'it's ok to eat a pig if they were allowed to live their whole 6 months in a sunny barnyard with a watering hole and straw to sleep on and had a nightly belly rub by the farmer' is like saying 'it's ok for a pedophile to molest children if they take them to Disneyland first' or 'it's ok to beat my wife if I buy her a diamond ring first' or 'it's ok if i murder this hooker. She's a drug addict on welfare so no one will miss her.'

Obviously, you should find those statements appalling and wrong.

You cannot justify behavior that is inherently wrong. Even if you somehow make it 'less' wrong or justify why it's ok in some circumstances.. it's still wrong. If you don't think eating animals is wrong then own that.. don't tell me that it's too hard to be vegan or that you don't have time to eat plant foods or that the bible says you should eat animals or that your doctor says you 'need' meat to survive or that you simply can't take another breath without eating cheese.. don't tell me you 'love' animals right before you bite into a burger ... just tell me 'I like meat, it tastes good, I'm going to eat it and I don't give a shit about the animals that die for my hunger' ... just admit that truth about yourself and own the choices you make. Don't try and lessen your guilt by making excuses or trying to justify why you think you have to eat other sentient beings.




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