Corpse eaters - a phrase I casually came across the other day.
It's blunt. But ultimately true. I am not too sure why meat isn't viewed like this normally. Because that is what it is... right?
When people pop into their supermarket to get their shopping and head to the meat and fish aisle I just despair. I can barely look down that aisle without feeling sick to the stomach and seeing a parade of death and cruelty. Yet people will just pick up the cellophane wrapped carcasses, barely resembling the life they once represented, and think nothing of it. The connection is lost. People don't equate that chicken thigh as once being a life - a life who had its fate decided by us humans and was denied a full, free, natural existance. Instead it had been sentenced to a life as a human commodity, born and reared to die for NO good reason. The idea that this is necessary, that this trade is valid is completely unfounded. I can survive on food from the ground, from plants and what they offer. So why does this cruelty still endure?
My view is simple. Animals have rights. They have the right to exist in their natural environment. They should be entitled to roam free, to engage in their natural behaviour, to breed and look after their young. They should be equal and not be looked down upon. With this ethos, there is no argument for using them, for exploiting them for human gain.
I find the hypocrisy within the human race just shocking. Why is that society views eating chickens and pigs as acceptable but cry outrage when they imagine cats and dogs being bred for the meat trade? Why have we adopted this attitude to separate these animals? To grade them? I see so many people expressing their anger at cruelty to animals, then in the same breath will take a bite out of a beefburger. *words fail me* WTF!!!???
I get SO angry at this. I really do. It's just all so empty and unnecessary. I found some simply shocking statistics on the UK alone and I did just want to curl up and cry. Each year, 900 MILLION animals are murdered for human gain. I cannot even fathom this. 9.35 million pigs, 15 million sheep, 28 million turkeys, 20 million ducks, 2.25 million cattle and a staggering 850 million chickens.
*head in hands*
That equates to 2.4 million animal lives being snuffed out each day.
100,000 an hour.
1600 per minute.
26 EVERY SECOND.
In the time it takes me to write this post I cannot even bear to think about the amount of animals that have been slaughtered. There are those that advocate "humane" slaughter but I argue that no such thing exists. To put the word humane next to slaughter is a total contradiction. It is described as compassion, sympathy for animals. I cannot imagine anyone who displays such qualities who would be able to end the life of an animal - to look into its eyes, its soul, and end its existance. To see that light go out. Who can possibly agree that is right? Animals feel pain. Animals experience emotions. The distress and anguish of a cow calling out to its calf who has been taken away to be killed. The fear in a pig's eyes as it sees the slaughter and torture bestowed upon those killed before and in front of it. There is no humanity in any of this at all. They are born into a shadow world - one that in no way represents what mother nature had intended for them. Instead, humans intervened and sentenced billions of pigs, cows, sheep, turkeys, chickens, ducks and other gorgeous creatures to a hellish, short and tortured life. They are not allowed to live out their natural years, for when they are fat enough or spent they are packed into cramped crates and taken to a slaughterhouse where they are murdered, one after one after one. For me, who loves animals, ALL animals, I can't really deal with this reality. I just can't get inside the mindset of those at the hands of the stun machines, the throat slitting equipment, or in charge of the scalding tanks. I can't imagine the death that eminates from abbatoirs and slaughterhouses. Concentration camps for non-humans. Their lives are seen as meaningless. They are money makers. Factory farming, behaving in a way to maximise profit. They will cram as many animals into pens as possible, so much so they cannot even turn around. They are forced to live in their own faeces. They are pumped with antibiotics and so much food that they become unnaturally big, so much so some cannot even stand. They just exist. Then they meet a horrific death full of fear and cruelty. No one wants to die alone. We all hope to die in our sleep, or surrounded by loved ones. Not to be strung up by one leg, upside down, electrically stunned, to then have our throats or major arteries slit, or then dumped into a scalding tank. Not to mention the electric stunning is a precarious method that isn't always successful, so often some of these animals are alive when they're put into the tank, or when their throats are slit. No one wants to die like that. You can bet your last pound that these animals experience fear and dred. They are no different from our pet cats and dogs. The fear in my cat's eyes when I take her to the vet breaks my heart. I love and reassure her and want her to be ok. No one offers this sort of affection to the factory farmed commodities - instead they are nothing. It simply isn't fair. For those who have pets and love them like they are part of the family, what difference is there in the life of that animal to the life of a factory farmed animal? There isn't any. Just how society has decided to group these creatures and somehow it has become ok to end the lives of some species for food, and to protect and love pets. Yet saying that, there will still be some people who own pet rabbits and will eat rabbit stew!
I know people say that eating meat is natural and we are carnivores (omnivores, duh), etc etc. Firstly, if you look back, our ancestors probably ate seeds, nuts, fruit, small insects etc. Our digestive system is just not designed to digest meat. The intestines are long - meat stays in there rotting and becoming pungent. That's just rank. Secondly, even if we were supposed to eat meat, and we had the canines and the intestines to deal with it all, we are sentient beings with a conscience. Natural carnivores and predators do not have a conscience. They don't know what is right and what is wrong, so they haven't the ability to choose what they are doing. We have this. And I choose to not eat animals. I choose to make the most animal friendly choices in my day to day life. I choose to not involve myself in the exploitation of animals - be it for food, fur or animal testing etc. I choose to do all of this to the best of my ability. It really is that simple.
It upsets me when I see children eating meat as well. Children are fed meat in fun nugget shapes and fish fingers, yet they'll get so excited about going to a farm and feeding the chickens. The connection isn't made until it is too late and the association has been fogged out by society's norm. Even when the link is made between farm and fork, ignorance takes over. A finger in the ear, la la la way of dealing with things as they disassociate and ignore the truth of what really goes on. I read somewhere that there is a lot that can be said about what we put into our bodies. That food can be positive or negative, and how can anything that lived such a short horrible life be full of anything but negativity? I liked the sentiment of this thinking. I always feel more at peace when I eat local fruit, or fairtrade cocoa for example. I don't want to feel guilty about what I eat, I want to enjoy my food. And I have to say since turning vegan my moral fibres feel more peaceful and comfortable with what I am doing. It is a liberating, wonderful feeling, knowing you aren't involving yourself in such a cruel system. There are those that argue that vegans don't make a difference. That animals will still continue to be slaughtered, that meat will still end up on the shelves. And sadly, I do think that might be true. When I see how much demand there is for meat, dairy and eggs on a daily level it can feel like trying to empty an ocean with a teaspoon whilst there is torrential rain falling on you. But why would I want to involve myself in something so purely evil and sadistic. In my eyes, it is sadistic. To rear animals in horrible conditions to be killed and plopped on your plate. The idea makes me wince.
I heard a saying the other day and it is rather pertinent to the choice I have made to be a vegan. "Be the change you want to see". And that is exactly what I will continue to do. Driven purely by what I believe to be right - I do it for the animals. Every single one of them.