Why would we eat a pig but not a dog? Why would we eat a cow but be distressed by the death of an elephant that was poached in the wild? Why would we eat lamb but find it upsetting to read about animals on the news being killed upon escaping from a zoo? Why would we be upset by the killing of a shark that attacked a surfer but not be upset by the billions of deaths attributable to us in factory farms globally?
This makes me so curious. Chatting to a friend the other day make me think more on it as they were astounded when I commented that I saw no difference between eating a chicken, a dog, an elephant, a lion, a pig, a horse or any other animal for that matter. Each life matters and none more or less than any others.
Something that always intrigues me is the strange paradigm that exists in society today about meat and animals. We are conditioned to view some animals as edible and designed to meet our needs and others as companions and friends and some others as exotic and intriguing and to be protected (and certainly not eaten).
How do rational caring people find the death of one animal distressing however they don’t find the deaths and containment of the billions of animals that die for meat consumption globally distressing?
Its such an interesting juxtaposition.
Consider it this way, each week 1.2 billion factory farmed animals are killed for consumption. Each week. This is more, on a weekly basis, that the total number of human lives lost in all battles throughout history. In just one week.
And yet – these lives are invisible. Where are they? Where are the factory farms? Why don’t we see them?
This is part of the reason why there is moral outrage when an elephant dies for ivory in the wild and yet no-one bats an eye lid as they chow down on their steak whilst watching the news piece about it. Because we don’t see it, we don’t hear it and, in the main, we don’t want to know about it. To know about it forces an ethical decision that ignites a passionate discussion and means we can no longer choose or remain in ignorance.
I really don’t see the difference between eating a pig and a dog. If either had been a pet I imagine I would have had the same emotional attachment to either. And in different societies different animals are revered or not…e.g dogs in china are regularly eaten, as are horses in France…and cows are sacred in India. This alone should indicate the vast differences culturally between what we do and don’t eat and that what we think of as ‘acceptable’ meat to eat is nothing more than societal and familial conditioning (combined with a little marketing and exposure).
Consider that a pig is called pork…a cow is called beef…a baby newborn calf is called veal…and so on. We become more and more disconnected with what we eat with every day that passes. Whats more, its so clever and so invisible that we don’t question it or even realise its happening.
Its easy to eat meat when you have no connection to the meat you are eating and no relationship with it, especially when the way it is farmed, processed and killed is out of sight and out of mind. I just wonder why more people aren’t curious and don’t question it? I find it eery and unsettling that an entire industry can remain virtually out of sight.
Then theres the role of marketing and lifestyle. Get some pork on your fork? Every time I see that advert I cringe. Especially in Australia, meat eating is connected with good health, with social occasions, with family, with celebrations, with muscle tone, with masculinity and more…what a huge huge barrier to breakdown and what a huge glass ceiling.
I watched this fantastic you tube video which basically sums up exactly how I feel about being a vegan and why I became one. I only wish I could be as pragmatic, rational and well-spoken as this lady but I wholeheartedly recommend a watch and a share:
I became a vegan 6 months ago and I have loved every step of this journey I have been on. Its still challenges me and it still tests me – but it also moves me, gratifies me and comforts me.
I hope that, as time passes, the clock of invisibility around what we eat and where it comes from continues to be lifted.
Until then, let’s keep sharing the truth and remaining true to ourselves.